The desire to be loved, protected, and comforted by friendship is one of the driving forces behind many relationships. As hard as it is to accept sometimes, the truth is that this subtle desperation is harmful. It often makes us turn a blind eye to the insincerity that taints human relationships. Whether it be that snarky side-eye that your “bestie” gave you at your last get-together or the snide comment that your cousin made at the dinner table, these are some ways to identify the undercover haters in your inner circle.

They Never Congratulate You

Watch out for that friend who watches your Instagram or Facebook story announcement about a big deal in your life but never says anything. Although this might seem trivial, it is not. While it’s understandable that life happens and that other people have things going on in their lives, it is important in any healthy friendship that wins are celebrated to the fullest. You may brush it off the first three times, but as time progresses and the pattern of dull reactions continues, you’ll be forced to face the reality that the individual is only ever speechless regarding your accomplishments.

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They Copy Everything You Do

There’s a thin line between admiration and obsession. It may start as little things that might even seem like cute quirks at first, and then it could graduate to trying to steal your friends, turning people in your circle against you, and slowly trying to dominate intimate areas of your life. At every point in your life, you must evaluate the people that surround you and carefully check for any suspicious behavior patterns.

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They Downplay Your Accomplishments

Friends, family, and significant others are meant to be your biggest supporters; however, jealousy exists even in these inner circles, and if you notice the little grimace that your best friend gives when you tell her good news, or you notice the way your partner never seems to have good things to say about your achievements; then it may be time to cut ties, and rightfully so.

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They Downplay Your Discomfort

If you’ve ever tried to confide in them only to have them trivialize your problem or make it seem like you are too sensitive about the issue, then that is a significant sign of a toxic and jealous person. These people see a loophole to get into your mind and build little nests of bitterness in hopes that you won’t rise above
whatever you’re going through. Surprise them.

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They Gaslight You

“I never said that,” “you’re being dramatic,” and “relax” are a toxic person’s favorite words. They never seem to understand that their actions warrant the reactions they deem too emotional and skillfully try to shift the blame to you. No matter how reactive you’re deemed, it is better to stand your ground and respect the
validity of your emotions.

They Embarrass You In Public

If your best friends and family only ever remember the morbidly embarrassing stories in front of your crush or a large group of friends, that is another red flag you must look out for. Valuable people understand that praising and uplifting you in front of others takes nothing from them, and they are confident that someone else’s light shining does nothing to diminish theirs. Jealous and toxic people, however, do not see things that way.

Your Gut Can Tell

If the room seems to fall silent when you walk in and they feel too comfortable making snide comments around a certain group, that’s another giant red flag. We often downplay how sensitive our bodies can be to situations, which often results in us ignoring the warning signs. Never ignore what your body and mind tell you about a person or a situation.

You Need Coping Mechanisms To Be Around Them

If you ever find yourself feeling the need to find coping mechanisms like turning off your emotions or bracing yourself for the worst, then that is a warning sign of a toxic environment.

They Try To One Up You

If someone you love continuously meets your good news or achievements with a story that seems to diminish your importance, make sure that you never fall into the trap of allowing them to get to you. It may be time to read between the lines and hear their cries for validation from themselves and others.

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They Are Manipulative

If you ever find that people are communicating their discomfort to you using tactics such as silent treatment and or excluding you from events, that is another sign that they want to see how you respond to their tantrums. In situations like that, it is imperative that you nip the situation in the bud by establishing boundaries. Do not beg or grovel, as you’ll be setting the tone for the rest of the relationship.

Remember that your people will never make you feel like you need to protect yourself from them. There are people out there with hearts of gold that will honor and cherish the gift of a relationship with you. Never settle until you find them.

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