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Nicole is an on-screen relationship and mental health expert as well as a psychological consultant for TV shows.

10 Signs Your Friendship is Toxic

February 17 2016

By Grace Toby

Breaking up is hard to do. When that special someone is a close friend, the split can be difficult—yet necessary. Toronto-based relationship expert and psychologist, Nicole McCance, identifies when it’s time to unfriend someone and how to remove them from your squad.

1. Drain game

Do they only talk about themselves, leaving you feeling drained and tired? Your emotional tank might be running on empty from their neediness. When you occasionally (read: like, never) bring up an issue that’s distressing you, do they always move the focus to them and their problems? You may need a better support system.

2. Gossip Girl

“If they’re constantly talking about others, then chances are she’s talking behind your back, too,” says McCance. Be careful of those who only focus on the business of others - specifically the negative.

3. Possessive

If a friend is controlling and possessive, and single white femaling you, this can be a red flag. “If you bump into them at an event, and they start grilling you about why you’re there and didn’t tell them, then you may need to worry,” says McCance.

4. Put you down

“Small judgments delivered in a passive manner may not seem as obvious as overt criticisms, but they are still negative,” says McCance. Dead giveaway: You feel awful after you leave them. Beware of mean-girl tendencies that only tear you down.

5. Success squasher

They have a hard time being happy for you and your successes. Whether it’s a personal or professional milestone, “their reaction to your achievements is anticlimactic,” says McCance. A BFF should be a cheerleader who is in your court, and not agreen-eyed opponent.

6. CEO of The Bad Girls’ Club

Peer pressure can spill over from adolescent to adulthood. If your friend is proving to be a bad influence or constantly pressuring you to do objectionable things, then it might be time to withdraw your membership.

7. Don't say sorry

They missed your inaugural art show and never apologized or mentioned why they were a no show. When they don’t take responsibility for their actions or acknowledge a mistake, this is suspect, warns McCance. They should take a cue from the Biebs arelearnhow to say “sorry.”

8. You do most of thework

Do you feel like you do the heavy lifting in therelationship, putting in a fullworkdaywhile they pick up a seasonal shift? If you’re constantly wondering, “what has she done for me lately?” and coming up empty handed, it may be time to stop working overtime.

9. Dramaqueen

“If you feel like they’re always upset with you - even for small indiscretions, this can hamper your overall wellbeing,” says McCance. Leave thedramato the RealHousewives.

10. They bring out the worst in you

Friendshipshould be uplifting. If someone is making you feel less than equal, do the math and subtract the negativity from your life.

How to break up with a friend

Relationshipexpert, Nicole McCance shares two ways to terminate afriendship. The first? Ghosting. Admittedly, this is not the most mature approach, “but by ignoring their texts and messages, they’ll eventually get the hint,” says McCance. The slow fade or the more obvious ghosting treatment is how Charlize Theron allegedly ended herrelationshipwith Sean Penn. "Eventually, thefriendshipwill fizzle because it wasn’t meaningful after all, or maybe they’re still focused on themselves," says McCance. Note: this route can blow up.

A good old-fashioned breakup

Or you can try a regular breakup. Approach the uncoupling the same way you’d end a romantic relationship. Share your feelings without blame, using “I feel” statements. For example, “I feel disappointed that we’ve grown apart.” Instead of “you drain me.” If you need to go one step further to execute your point, then use the words “we need to break up” or “we need some space,” says McCance. Good news: Down the road you may reconnect if it was a meaningful friendship, or you may find that your life is healthier without that person in it.

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