Some friendships enrich our lives, making us happier, better people. Other relationships can act as a poison, dragging us down, causing stress and anxiety. These tend to be known as toxic relationships, named due to the effect they have on our lives.

It may be an old friend from school days, a work colleague, neighbour, even a relative. These people tend to have similar personality traits, most of which revolve around them and their needs. Here’s how to identify them (and get them out of your life).

“They’ve been talking behind your back”

Toxic people will try to alienate you from your other friendships, often by telling lies about them to upset you. They want you all to themselves, so they do whatever they have to in order to isolate you, leaving you vulnerable. They will often go so far as to say that you have to choose between them and someone else. Real friends would never do this.

“It wasn’t my fault”

They have excuses for their behaviour, but none of them take responsibility for their actions. Everything is someone else’s fault, and often that person is you. They make you feel as though you owe them something, that you need to fix their problems or be at their beck and call.

“I wouldn’t get too excited if I were you”

They are not supportive of you and your goals, and will in fact undermine your success to make you question yourself. They try to make you think that when good things happen to you, they won’t last or that you didn’t deserve them.

“I didn’t say that”

The toxic person will often lie, and cover up their actions to protect themselves. You will find that they say one thing today and then deny it all the next day. They are hard to pin down and get commitment from, so even if you’ve done them a favour it is unlikely that they will agree to repay you in any way.

“I can’t make it anymore”

They will often let you down, yet will not apologise or feel bad about it. They promise the world, but often fail to deliver. Time and time again you will do things their way, but when you suggest a movie, restaurant or day trip they will end up convincing you that their idea is better.

If you can identify yourself as being in a toxic relationship, it may be time to think about whether you would be better off without them. It might be hard, but making the cut now could save you lots of future pain.

Have you ever been in or witnessed someone in a toxic relationship? How did it end up?

Article created in partnership with Over60.