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The 10 Types of Friends You Should Avoid

Want to spot the people who are toxic to your life? Here are a few types of friends you might want to...

Amy C Written by Amy C · 4 min read >

When I was in my early twenties, I had an army of friends. Our common ground consisted of shared interests like clubbing, gossip and being overly dramatic about our romantic problems. I surrounded myself with people who were good-looking, stylish and popular, because subconsciously, that validated me.

As I grew older and reached a different stage in my life, my interests started to change. I became a lot clearer of the type of human I wanted to be and the values that I stood for. Slowly, I grew apart from some of my old friends, got closer to others, and made room to welcome new, like-minded people into my life.

The quote “The five people you associate with the most, you become, “ strongly resonates with me. Today, when accessing my friendships, I ask myself how I feel after I spend time with them. If I feel constantly depleted, it’s an indication I need to reassess.

I’ve finally learned what really matters when choosing your tribe. In replacement of the superficial qualities I used to look for in friends, today I prize loyalty, consistency, reliability, honesty, consideration, and generosity above everything else. That being said, sometimes it’s hard to spot if a friend is toxic in your life. Here are a few types of friends you might want to avoid:

1. The Energy Vampire

After spending time with this person, you feel drained. The conversation usually revolves around their problems and complaints. They will provide an emotional “dump” on you in order to release and feel better. Problem is, that energy ends up making a withdrawal from your energy reserve, and you have nothing left to give after. If you are consistently exhausted after spending time with someone, know that the consequence is that you will have nothing left to give yourself and the people you love.

2. The Calculator

This friend is always keeping score and if your tally is not adding up, then they resent you for it. This is the one who deep down is afraid of getting shorted, so they have created coping mechanisms to make sure nobody gets more than what they give. The problem with this type of friend is that their acts of giving do not come from a genuine place. When dealing with calculative energy, you may end up adjusting your generosity too, as it creates a dynamic where you feel like you have to constantly keep score.

 3. The Disappearing Act

This person is your BFF when they are single and needs you to be the wing person in order to fill their social calendar. But as soon as they enter a relationship, you drop abruptly to zero priority. Then, the minute they go through a breakup, you’re the person they call to weep and vent to, only for the same cycle of MIA to repeat once they meet their next beau. While it’s normal for friends to have less time and availability when they have a new relationship and other priorities in their life come up, it’s not okay for them to completely disappear only to reappear when in need.

4. The Taker

According to author of Give and Take, by Adam Grant, there are three types of people: takers, givers and matchers. I think that your capacity to give is really determined at a young age, and it becomes a part of your DNA. There are some people, who just constantly take, and that is just their way of life. If you are someone who is always generous and giving, these people will know no bounds when taking from you. They likely don’t even recognize that they are taking as it’s their norm nor is reciprocity a part of their thought process.

5. The One Man Show

This person is the star of his or her own show. Therefor, everything from the conversations to the cast (this includes you) must revolve around them. This is the friend who will happily talk for hours about their problems, and when it comes to your turn to talk, they will interrupt and maneuver the conversation to go back to them. This person may be well intentioned, but they cannot help but center everything around “me, me, me”.

6. The Drama Queen

This person’s storyline never seems to move past the conflict stage. There is always something that is making them unhappy and there is typically someone to blame. This person chooses drama as an attitude and consequently attracts it and revels in it. They fret over the petty and trivial things and have a way of turning everything into a big deal.

7. The Child That Never Grows Up

This person has not learned how to handle his or her emotions and unfortunately, everyone else has to pay the price. This friend lashes out, resorts to passive aggression, or other detrimental coping mechanisms to deal with conflict and disappointment. Sure, nobody is perfect and getting a handle on the tricky range of human emotions is no easy task. But there comes a point where one needs to be responsible and accountable for their behavior, and constantly reverting to child-like reactions at the expense of others should not be tolerated.

8. The Flake

There are so many great people who value your time and who are excited to commit to making plans with you, why waste your energy on chasing people who don’t follow through? Sometimes people are going through life stuff that causes them to be unavailable – that is totally understandable. But those who constantly flake due to their own inability to manage their time? That gets old, fast. The friend who always says they have no time to see you? Not true. They just don’t want to prioritize their time on you.

9. The Guilt Tripper

This person has expectations of you and if they are not met, they will make sure you feel the wrath for it. These expectations revolve around them, their phase of life and their wants. Their demands come from a selfish place, and they are so blind sighted with “me” that your interests are put second. When we are kids, our friends and social circle is our number one priority in life. As we get older and have more responsibilities, things change, along with priorities. Life happens. Careers flourish. Families are created. People get sick… Friends need to be accommodating and supportive of the different changes that will take place and not use peer pressure or guilt in order to get their way.

10. The Friend Who Secretly Hates You

This friend cheers you on, exclamation points and happy face emoticons included. But in reality, they secretly just don’t like you nor want the best for. Be careful; because these people may want to appear like your friend due to strategic and calculative reasons and will likely mask their true feelings with eagerness and compliments. Your intuition always knows.

Have any to add to the list? Add to the list in the comments.

To learn more about how to change old relationship patterns, and how to create healthy ones, join my 2-hour Live Workshop on Sunday, April 25 where I’ll guide you step by step on how to become more secure in your attachment, manage emotions and our reactions to pain and create healthy relationships. Get your ticket here.

Written by Amy C
Amy Chan is the Founder of Renew Breakup Bootcamp, a retreat that takes a scientific and spiritual approach to healing the heart. Marie Claire calls her "A relationship expert whose work is like that of a scientific Carrie Bradshaw" and her company has been featured across national media including Good Morning America, Vogue, Glamour, Nightline along with the front page of The New York Times. Her book, Breakup Bootcamp - The Science of Rewiring Your Heart, published by Harper Collins, will be released Fall 2020. Profile
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25 Replies to “The 10 Types of Friends You Should Avoid”

  1. I think another friend that is a toxic friend is the overly competitive and jealous friend. They make everything seem like a competition, such as trying to copy you and then trying to make it their own thing and “rock” it better than you do. Or the one that tries to compete with you and see how many guys hit on them at the club, get their number, buy them drinks etc. in comparison to you, stupid things like that isn’t even worth competing over. Not to mention the back handed compliments that just shows their insecurities. But when they do compliment you, you can tell it’s insincere, and not genuine at all, like they were forced to say it because they are your friend. Don’t get my wrong, jealousy is a normal emotion to feel but to the point where they are trying to compete and make you feel smaller than they do isn’t a good friend in my opinion.

    1. Yes! The competitive friend is the worse, we’ve all had them in our lives before. And if they aren’t competing with you, it’s with someone else. It never ends.

  2. Maybe people who doesn’t have a sense of themselves are draining, because they need that much reassurance, etc from you. Also worriers are similar… Anyway, I think some people can “flow” together, and others can’t that’s probably the best thing to focus attention to.

  3. I know someone who is the energy vampire, drama queen, the one man show & child that never grows up…all wrapped into one. I tried for years to be a good friend to her, then felt guilty when I would ignore her calls or not want to be around her. But eventually, I had to stop talking to her for my own sanity. It’s part of life and growing up.

  4. I wonder if people that fall in these categories could be helped instead of ignored (and thus made to fall deeper into their behavioral bad habits). The one thing they all seem to have in common is that they don’t seem to realize what they’re doing. Maybe clearly letting them see their behavior and honestly and directly explaining to them why people end up ignoring them, they could at least have the chance to get some feedback and understand what they’re doing wrong, and hopefully grow as individuals and gain some social “EXP.” Stigmatizing them with no explanation is an easy way of making them feel worthless and misunderstood, adding more drama fodder, possibly leading them to depression, anxiety and even antisocial behavior (which is not a very friendly thing to wish on someone you supposedly care about). I understand that some people would get defensive and stubborn, possibly making them burn the bridge with you, but isn’t that “worst case scenario” what you had planned in doing to them without explanation anyway? So letting them know why they annoy you is basically a “Win-Win” situation: either the friend you care about becomes a better person and you can begin to enjoy their friendship without annoyances (also fortifying said friendship by being honest and being a great friend by helping them become a better person), or they’ll just keep being themselves without your friendship after being offended by your honesty; but at least they would know the reason why you decided to stop being their friend (plus maybe they’ll learn next time they scare away a friend and remember what you told them, instead of guessing why it happens and blaming others). Either way, you wouldn’t feel like you just abandoned them without explanation and you could be free from their behavior and hopefully they will be too!

    1. You’re right on the money! Not enough people are honest to one another, so what kind of friend are you to just disappear.. Totally agree.

    2. I would love to agree. Actually, I do agree. What you suggest is the ideal situation. But for me, learning to set boundaries has been my biggest task. I am a generally empathetic person. I am kind. I think this is the reason I attract users. I am therefore still learning how to keep myself safe and keep from being manipulated. I also hate confrontation. So I have to just step aside, for my own sake.
      The other thing is, with the friend I recently stepped away from (i.e. dumped), I was very honest about how her behaviour was affecting me. I pointed out many negative things she said (very critical person who also catastrophised my situations, leaving me sad and anxious), but she kept being negative.
      I also think if people are not similarly intelligent, it can be difficult to be friends. I am not sure she had any insight into herself, let alone anyone else…. and how could she empathise with someone she didn’t understand?

  5. A friend who tries to take what is supposed to be yours. The types that always get jelous. How much they spend their time complaining about the friend’s flaws jumping from one group to another

  6. we have-;
    Destiny killer friends
    Gossiping friends
    Self owned friends….e.t.c

    Run away from them.

  7. Photo zombie friend – Pics or it didn’t happen is her driving motive. She only puts her arm around you to take a selfie. She’s so busy posing and asking you to pose that she never lets the moment ‘land.’ She interrupts you in the middle of your heartfelt comment to ask you to move so she can get a picture of something interesting happening behind you. You are simply a prop in the photo-opp which is the stage of life to her.

    Oh and a variation of the disappearing act – the one who only calls you to hang out when the more popular girls she usually hangs with are out of town, sick, or busy. And then as soon as the others are available, she suddenly stops calling.

  8. The bipolar friend. They get upset and disappear and exspects an apology when you did nothing wrong in the first place. They like to make their bad mood or bad day your fault. Even when you have good news to tell them they somehow make your good news horrible news. They give you “reality checks” when there is nothing to give a “reality check”for.

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