How to know when to cut toxic friends in college?

October 05, 2022


Hands holding a paper origami.

Image source: Unsplash

When we think about university, we think of the learning experience, the new skills that we will learn and of course, making memories with new friends. You will have the chance to meet people from many walks of life, each with their personality, but little did you know that things may take a different turn at times.

While this may not always be the case, there is a possibility that you will meet individuals who are not worth your time, and by the time you graduate, you will realise it is too late to end everything. But don't worry, we're here to let you know when is the time to say goodbye to that toxic college friend.

Red flags that indicate your friend is toxic

1. When everything revolves around them but never around you.

Being at university means being away from home, from your family, and most of the time you are relying on your friends for assistance. If someone needs a shoulder to cry on, you will lend yours and if someone wants to tell their stories, you will listen. However, if one takes without giving, things may go south. 

True friendship thrives on give and take. Sometimes you need help, and sometimes your friend does, but it all balances out in the end. Not with a toxic individual though, because they're frequently there to take whatever they can from you as long as you're prepared to give it to them. When this happens, you know it's time to step away. 

2. When they take you for granted.

You can never dodge quizzes and assignments as a student. Often, during these times, collaboration happens and you will find yourself in your circle of friends to finish the tasks. However, if you notice that one person is constantly requesting your assistance to complete a task, you should be aware that they may be taking advantage of you.

Arguably, if it's a one-time event, you can remind them and hope they don't do it again, but if it happens frequently, it's best to just leave them. It is not worth your time and effort because others are willing to partner with you and complete their task. Just a reminder that if such an attitude does not change, it is possible that it will manifest in more serious situations like thesis and exams. So, save yourself before it worsens!

Have trouble studying? Here are some studying hacks that actually work!

Friends talking in a group.

Image source: Unsplash

3. When they gossip about you behind your back. 

True friends never gossip behind each other's backs. A good friend will always tell you the truth, no matter how painful or bitter it is. There is absolutely no reason for them to speak negatively about you unless they are not honest about the friendship you shared with them from the beginning. 

If you encounter such an experience, you can either confront them or do yourself a favour and leave the friendship. At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide how you want to engage with the individual, how frequently you want to connect, or whether you want to detach entirely. You never know what people will say about you, so be kind to yourself and seek out people who can be open and honest about their feelings.

4. When they step beyond the line. 

Boundaries are obvious and intentional barriers that you create to protect your mental health and happiness. Sometimes, you may be hurt by how people bluntly articulate their feelings and you may brush it off, but every person has their limits.

If you discover that your friendship does not reflect your personal values or is damaging your self-esteem, it is time to reclaim your life. Surround yourself with individuals who are helpful and with whom you feel safe instead. If you need extra help, you can always seek expert assistance.

To sum it all, people are bound to make errors, and there are always second chances for them to redeem themselves. However, if this happens way too often, it will be no one else but you to decide what you want to do with the friendship. Take a step back and consider not only their actions but also your feelings about it. If anything, you should put yourself first, and they should understand that respect must be earned.


Written by: Benedict

More articles this way:

3 obvious signs that you're ready for your degree

How to be better at presentations?

How to cope with student stress and worries?

Kickstart your education in Malaysia

We'll help you find and apply for your dream university


This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. By using this site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy , Privacy Statement and Terms & Conditions .

Maximum 6 courses for comparison!

Chat on WhatsApp

Courses selected for comparison