two people embracing. One person has a look of distrust on their face
Chantel Brink
Chantel Brink
April 17, 2024 ·  2 min read

If a Friend Uses These Toxic Phrases, It Might Be Time for a New Friend

Friendships serve as the cornerstone of a fulfilling and happy life. However, certain friendships can deviate into toxicity, leaving behind emotional wounds that tempt individuals to retreat completely. In their capacity as a psychologist and an authority on human connection, belonging, and friendship, they assist individuals in identifying the indicators of toxic relationships. Yet, as highlighted by their colleague and friendship expert, Danielle Bayard-Jackson, the most toxic companions often employ cunning and covert forms of aggression. Outlined below are eight phrases crucial for discerning even the subtlest hints of a toxic friendship:

“You’re too sensitive.”

toxic phrase "You're too sensitive."
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This phrase implies that your emotions lack validity and suggests a flaw within you for experiencing them. In healthy friendships, expressing emotions is embraced, while being labeled as “too sensitive” may indicate a lack of empathy from your friend.

Read More: 20 times women took down toxic men in truly majestic fashion

You’re lucky to have me as a friend.” – what a hurtful toxic phrase

"You're lucky to have me as a friend."
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Healthy friendships are founded on equality, with both parties invested and neither considering themselves superior. Persistent assertions of superiority or claims that you should be grateful for their friendship may signify an imbalanced relationship.

You owe me.”

toxic phrase "You owe me."
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While reciprocity is important, expecting repayment for every gesture can indicate a transactional view of the relationship. Genuine friends are generous and understand that what affects you affects them.

“I wonder why they gave you that promotion.”

"I wonder why they gave you that promotion."
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Friends who downplay your achievements or try to one-up you undermine your confidence and joy. Healthy friendships involve celebrating each other’s successes rather than competing.

“I miss the old you.” – One awfully toxic phrase

toxic phrase "I miss the old you."
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True friends accept and support your growth and changes. Expressions of discomfort or attempts to undermine your progress could indicate that the friendship is no longer serving you or that your friend doesn’t have your best interests at heart.

Read More: 5 Signs You Grew Up in a Toxic Family and Might Need Some Time Apart From Them

I’m sorry you feel that way.”

"I'm sorry you feel that way."
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True reconciliation requires acknowledgment of the harm caused. When apologies are framed as being sorry for your feelings rather than their behavior, it reflects a lack of accountability on their part, marking it a toxic phrase.

“I was just joking. Can’t you take a joke?

toxic phrase "I was just joking. Can't you take a joke?"
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Genuine friends exhibit responsiveness and endeavor to understand and adjust their behavior when you express hurt. However, in toxic friendships, such remarks are used defensively to mask hurtful comments and evade accountability.

They Say Nothing

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Being ghosted by a friend can cause hurt and sadness, affecting self-esteem. Even if a friendship is ending, friends should show respect by communicating explicitly. Assessing these phrases within the broader dynamics of the friendship is crucial. If they indicate a toxic pattern, it may be necessary to establish boundaries, have an honest conversation, or even move on from the relationship.


Read More: Your Relationships May Not Work or May Become Toxic if You Exhibit These 5 Behaviors