Dealing with a Toxic Friendship


I have had a friend for 8 years and have recently realized that the friendship is toxic. We don’t have anything in common anymore, they are pessimistic and at times they are verbally abusive towards me. We are thinking about moving in together because I trust them and they are my only friend, but now I’m having second thoughts. I don’t know why (spiritually) we are still friends or how the friendship could possibly end if it had to. At times I feel stuck. How do I deal with a toxic friendship?

—Natalie, USA


Dear Natalie, The words “toxic” and “friendship” really should not go together especially if, as you describe this relationship, this person is pessimistic and verbally abusive toward you. Often in life, we are forced to let go of this sort of relationship, for our own good, and in a certain sense, for the other person’s good also.

People can change throughout life at different rates of emotional and spiritual growth and as you describe this person at this point anyway, this is not happening for them, at least not yet.

It’s sad to hear you say that this is your only friend and that you trust them, and yet you still put up with their behaving toward you in the toxic ways you’ve described. This is definitely not a healthy situation! Please consider working on your own self-esteem issues soon! See:

It will be very important now for you to pray deeply for help and guidance, asking for blessings for this friend and for yourself, but more specifically asking for help in finding a graceful way to end this relationship. It doesn’t have to be ended forever, but in its present condition, it definitely is not helpful to either of you. You can always continue to hold on to good thoughts for this person and pray that they will grow out of their old “toxic” behavior.

Realize also that people’s behavior does not define their essential natures. At the deepest level, we are all children of God and perfect in every way. But until his or her personality can come into harmony with that deeper reality, it would be best for you not to associate closely with such a person, and most especially not move in with them! That sounds like a recipe for a lot of unhappiness!

It is also important for you to start finding new, better, and kinder friends. They are out there waiting to be found. Pray for that to happen in your life and it will! Sending you prayers for this difficult situation in your life.