Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Toxic friend?

(122 Posts)
Dgrann777 Fri 19-Jul-19 09:44:37

Good morning everyone.

I have a friend who is lovely in many ways (you know there’s a but).smile but,
She makes little digs and put downs constantly sometimes with false humour and sometimes with false advice eg. Don’t like the paint colour did you make a mistake?
Why don’t you ask for a refund on that sofa etc etc.
Your hair is a bit short, long, is that what you asked for etc etc.
You Irish are all alike, a bit daft, don’t like your accent etc etc.
Usually I just ignore it because I know she has personal problems and to be honest I don’t really care what she thinks of my taste but now she has started on my Achilles heel....
Is this what is called a toxic friend?
I think I have to walk away. What would you do?

Pantglas1 Fri 19-Jul-19 09:49:21

Think you need that new niggle in the bud. Can you ask her outright what her problem with your grandchildren is? Put her on the spot? Ask her if she’d like you saying things about her loved ones?
Hopefully it will make her stop and think. Some people are unaware of how tactless they are until told.

janeainsworth Fri 19-Jul-19 09:51:12

I wouldn’t have got friendly with her in the first place. I would have kept her in the people-I-know-but-don’t-like-very-much category.
Don’t waste any more emotional energy on her.

Pantglas1 Fri 19-Jul-19 09:52:08

insert ‘to nip’ after ‘need’ in first sentence ....

Gonegirl Fri 19-Jul-19 09:54:17

If she started on my grandsons I would have a blazing row tell her what I thought and walk away. Why are you even asking?

Davida1968 Fri 19-Jul-19 09:59:40

Surely a toxic friend isn't worth keeping? (The older I get, the less time I want to spend with people who's company is less than enjoyable.) I agree with Gonegirl - walk away from this "friendship".

Kerenhappuch Fri 19-Jul-19 10:05:09

She sounds very annoying, I'm curious to know in what ways she is lovely?

If someone's rudeness is getting you down, you have 3 choices - ignore, confront or avoid. Maybe people have been avoiding her for years because she's so critical, it might be helpful to give her a heads up!

I put up with several years of barbed comments about my weight from a family member, eventually I snapped back 'That's a pretty unkind thing to say, isn't it?' She back pedalled and said 'I was joking' and I said 'No you weren't, we both know that'. Amazingly, the comments about my weight stopped!

DanniRae Fri 19-Jul-19 10:09:02

She doesn't sound 'lovely in many ways' Dgrann if she is constantly have a 'dig' at you.
She has now started having a 'dig' at your grandchildren? She is jealous of you - I have experienced this. By the heading of your post you realise she is toxic - you don't need her. Make her your ex-friend as soon as possible.
Good Luck!

Dgrann777 Fri 19-Jul-19 11:39:22

Thank you everyone for your helpful are right ...why am I even asking ,,,,. I know she has problems but I don’t feel able to cope with her right now. I am widowed so don’t have a partner to offload to. I have found myself thinking of smart answers I could have made but that is not who I am and it’s not the way I want to be thinking..
Feels good to offload here I don’t want to discuss her with other friends...not a gossip
Thanks again,

Washerwoman Fri 19-Jul-19 14:30:51

Take my word for it this 'friend' will only drag you down the longer you allow her to,and as someone who put up with similar digs for several years you will start to resent it more and more.You say your friend has some personal problems and unfortunately some people who are not too happy with their own life try to sap the hapinness of others with put downs and snide comments.That's not friendship.I recently stopped meeting,or contacting someone very similar and I have felt very conflicted emotions.On the one hand hating to bluntly cut contact,on the other feeling a sense of relief and lightness not having to brace myself for the ncreasingly unpleasant undertones that I now know stemmed from jealousy and bitterness.And yes I got similar comments increasing once I became a grandma,which I deliberately downplayed in conversation.
Enjoy the company of true friends who don't zap your energy.Good luck !

Washerwoman Fri 19-Jul-19 15:16:11

Sorry meant that's not friendship !

Urmstongran Fri 19-Jul-19 16:21:17


tinaf1 Fri 19-Jul-19 16:32:27

Urmstongran love it 🤣

MawBroonsback Fri 19-Jul-19 16:43:57

Nobody, but nobody has a “dig”or otherwise at my grandchildren!

MissAdventure Fri 19-Jul-19 16:46:43

Yes, I think that's where the line must be drawn.

mumofmadboys Fri 19-Jul-19 17:26:38

I think some people get into a habit of making snide comments and it is very wearing. I think a comment such as Kerenhappuch suggests is a good idea. 'Gosh, that was rather unkind!" may make someone realise the error of their ways. It may need to be repeated a few times. I grew up in a family where critical comments were made and home wasn't the loving,accepting , embracing place it should have been.

SalsaQueen Fri 19-Jul-19 17:28:12

I wouldn't have someone like her as a friend. A true friend would accept you for who/what you are, and even if her opinions/tastes on things differed from yours, she wouldn't need to say so.

As for saying anything about your grandchildren - NO! I'd have to tell her to sod off!

Bridgeit Fri 19-Jul-19 21:13:04

Agree with others , Yes it is toxic, I think we all get to an age/ stage where we ask ourselves , why am I putting up with this? Life is too short & difficult to put up with negative situations . Best wishes .

paddyann Fri 19-Jul-19 21:45:43

my husbands best friend is a bit like this,always has an opinion on everything from the colour of my cushions to my parenting skills.I ignore him mostly...sometimes I tell him its just as well he doesn't have to live with my colour schemes etc.For all MY bad parenting his opinion kids are very close to us and to each other ..his brought up by his vastly superior skills dont see each other or their parents from one month to the next .I know which of us I'd rather be and its not him.I tend to keep away from him and his equally irritating wife ,my OH gets on fine with them and thats his choice .If this is getting to you tell her its none of her business and to keep her opinions to herself or stop seeing her .You're worth better

grandma60 Fri 19-Jul-19 22:13:00

When my children were young I had a friend who would be sweetly sympathetic about how my children weren't as perfect as hers were. She also said she felt sorry for my husband because I wouldn't dye my hair blonde like she did. (He would gave been horrified!).
Over the years I gradually distanced myself. A year or so ago. I heard that she has had a stroke and is now almost wheelchair bound and friends that know us both expect me to visit her, but I just can't do it.

DanniRae Sat 20-Jul-19 08:52:45

grandma60 - I too have a 'friend' who in all the years I have known her has frequently upset me with her comments. I distanced myself from her over the last few years - just spent time in her company if I couldn't avoid it. Then last year her husband died suddenly but when I spent time with her afterwards - as I felt I should - she was still being bitchy to me so I decided "Sorry I am not going to be the person who is there for you.You'll have to find someone else." If people find this difficult to understand then so be it.(I have to say that she is well known amongst our friends for being 'difficult' so I have had no negative comments.)

Grammaretto Sat 20-Jul-19 09:14:43

I don't know, and can't imagine, what cruel things this friend has said about your DGC but I could see a situation when there is a bit of banter - and that can escalate from funny to cruel in seconds - where perhaps you said something slightly derogatory about one - maybe referred to scruffiness or tardiness - which your friend mistook for playfulness without recognising the signals.
you can say things but she has absolutely no right towink
I am very suspicious of repartee and banter.
I know someone who thinks it's funny to poke fun at everyone he meets . Mostly he gets away with it but occasionally it gets taken the wrong way and it can be upsetting.

optimist Sat 20-Jul-19 09:23:40

Interesting how many posts there are about friendships in later years, friends we have known and loved since young. I remember my mother falling out with her best friend when she was in her seventies and I have had issues with two old friends over the last few years. Do we overstep the boundaries? become critical? Sad, when we would certainly benefit from these friendships, I would prefer to resolve them rather than walk away.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Sat 20-Jul-19 09:26:27

I think you should distance yourself.
I'm wondering though, does she have bad social skills and is she like this with everyone else, or just you? Does she have any other friends or have they backed away?
Have you ever told her that her remarks are uncalled for?
You have a choice - tell her that you don't care for her opinions or just let her fall off the radar, as it were.

harrysgran Sat 20-Jul-19 09:28:04

Walk away a friend is someone you feel comfortable with and enjoy their company you say she has problems she sounds like the problem is her attitude nobody who appreciates your friendship acts like this .As for making comments about your GC I would show her the door.

polnan Sat 20-Jul-19 09:28:06

I find it interesting how so many of us humans think of a "friend"

I often refer to the web dictionary of words

a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations.
"she's a friend of mine"
synonyms:companion, boon companion, bosom friend, best friend, close friend, intimate, confidante, confidant, familiar, soul mate, alter ego, second self, shadow, playmate, playfellow, classmate, schoolmate, workmate, ally, comrade, associate;

just look at F/B LOL we are a funny lot.
I so agree with most if not all of the comments above.. do you really need her?

Harris27 Sat 20-Jul-19 09:34:04

Sounds more lime an enemy than a friend! Ditch her!

TrendyNannie6 Sat 20-Jul-19 09:34:07

I would have ditched her long ago. I don’t mind someone being honest if they don’t like decorating colours etc that’s fair enough but to downright insult hair grandchildren nope she’d be gone out of my life. True friends are honest but not downright disrespectful this woman has issues. Sounds as though she could be jealous of you.

annsixty Sat 20-Jul-19 09:36:35

I am doing my best to let a friend fall off the radar, I haven’t seen her now for several months but we speak on the phone occasionally.
I have posted about her on here many times over the years and she only rings when she has something to boast about regarding her brilliant, high achieving family.
This happened two weeks ago when her GS finally qualified as a Professional with the highest honours.
She can’t wait to see a mutual friend and me to show us the wonderful photos of his graduation.
I think hell will freeze over first.

Ngaio1 Sat 20-Jul-19 09:39:10

I think it will be better for you to cut ties. Years ago I had someone I called a friend. She could be very caustic but no one challenged her - I think because she had severe facial scarring from an accident. I put up with a lot of remarks telling myself that she was a good person really. I remember once, when introducing a new friend, she said to the group - "of course, Ngaio buys most of her clothes from the Nearly New shop"! I ought to have called it a day then but didn't. After that she caused much havoc for me but repeating untrue gossip. I found out about many comments after she had taken her own life. A very unhappy woman but determined to take her own problems out on others (I realise now).

Purplepoppies Sat 20-Jul-19 09:40:22

I ended a toxic friendship last year for similar reasons. It was a relief tbh.
If you want to see the good in her and continue your friendship you could try saying 'did you mean to be so rude?' next time she's being vile..... Maybe she just doesn't know shes being nasty and needs someone to tell her??

sandelf Sat 20-Jul-19 09:42:46

Good Lord - this is not a friend! - Just a rather rude person you've been too nice to. Life is too short to waste on people who treat you like this. Move on.

Applegran Sat 20-Jul-19 09:43:13

It sounds a really though situation for you and I see why you might just want to walk away - which is a good idea if it is what you feel you really want to do. But you do say she is lovely, so I wonder if it would be possible for you to speak to her about your feelings about some of the things she says? Not to attack her, but to give examples, and say how you feel when she says these things, and saying you are asking her to stop. Then ask how she feels about what you've said. This way you remain the person you want to be and I think you are - a kind and caring person, but also able to speak up calmly when appropriate. You could be saving an otherwise good friendship - and helping her too in a big way. She may not realise the impact of what she says - may 'play it down' in her mind, and you could be opening her mind to something real which is actually damaging her as well as her friendships with others. If you do this and she continues to be unkind then, of course, you can walk away, but a truthful conversation might lead to a closer and more real relationship of value to you both.

Nanny123 Sat 20-Jul-19 09:43:31

Sounds like to be she is envious/jealous of what you have. You dont need someone negative like that in your life

Bunch Sat 20-Jul-19 09:44:53

Gosh, she sounds pretty ghastly to me, not sure I would be able to put up with so many negative comments. I have a friend who I have known for years and years and I am very fond of her. However, at times she can be critical/insensitive/outspoken or whatever you want to call it. I'm afriad to say she is also negative about people with disabilities and those of a different race, particularly those of colour. I do find this hard to fatham as she is a practicing christian, it doesn't add up somehow. When she says something which is potentially upsetting I try to ignore it. I just wish she wouldn't! I'm not sure this is of any help, just another example of what you are experiencing perhaps albeit not quite as bad. At the end of the day what you do is your decision, but it sounds as if you need to do something. Good luck.

Grannycool52 Sat 20-Jul-19 09:47:08

I have a similar issue and any advice would be welcome.I have a lifelong friend who is almost like a sister. We have, until recent years, got on very well. She returned to our home city after uni & I didn't & live in another city, but we meet a couple of times a year, go away for a few days together, text or call every week. However, since retiring a few years ago, she has become very difficult, self centred, rude, sarcastic, miserly ( she has as much money as me), rude to waiters, hurtful and again mocks my accent, which has changed over time. I know she is lonely, she is single + lives alone + has no real friends, whereas I have a loving family, grandchildren and lots of friends and activities, but all the conversation now has to be about her + she never asks about my husband, grandchildren or life. I am walking on eggshells all the time with her in case I evoke an outburst of vitriol. Yet I feel sorry for her and care about her because of our long shared history. Really, I know I should protect myself and end this now negative friendship but I don't know the best, least hurtful way to do it.

Apricity Sat 20-Jul-19 09:49:15

I don't think you need a label, toxic or any other term you may choose to use, this person just isn't nice to be around. The question I would be asking myself is not 'should I end this friendship' but why on earth would I want to spend time with this person? You could speculate forever about why she constantly needs to put you down but why bother?

Life is too short to waste time with people who make you feel bad/unhappy/disrespected/inferior. Take control and move on.

Lupin Sat 20-Jul-19 09:49:31

I have been in this situation and eventually walked away from the friendship after telling her I'd had enough of the put downs. We could not get past that. At the very least your friend needs challenging and to know where your boundaries are. If she isn't prepared to respect them and hear what you have to say then she is no friend.
Like you I let a lot of spiteful comments go over my head but realised she was treating me to them because I allowed her to.
Best wishes in an awkward situation.

Witzend Sat 20-Jul-19 09:51:14

She doesn't sound like a friend - in the true sense of the word - to me.
Just someone you happen to know.

Personally I'd avoid her in future, and if she asked why, I'd tell her.

GoldenAge Sat 20-Jul-19 09:51:39

Remove this person from your orbit immediately. You have tolerated her toxicity towards you and this has given her permission to extend this towards your grandchildren, at least in her eyes. She will not let up until you confront her on this but really, is she worth this emotional energy. I would ditch her forthwith and in doing so tell her that her hurtful comments towards you and her extension of these towards your grandchildren are the reason. She has to be clear on the reason for the dissolution of your 'friendship' otherwise she will return. With regard to her personal problems and these being the reason for your tolerance of her, these also are not off limits - if she asks you why it has been OK so far, tell her the truth. You can't have any friendship based on untruths.

Keeper1 Sat 20-Jul-19 09:53:25

Grannycool52 your friend sounds very lonely since retiring, no longer having her job role and colleagues it sounds as if she is adrift and becoming insular. Am I right that she hasn’t always been this way? I suppose not having family etc around there is no one to ask how she is and she has very little happening in her life and so is focused on herself. It is difficult but having known her for so long could you not discuss the change in her attitude with her?

guido342 Sat 20-Jul-19 09:56:42

The Four Tops have the answer: 'Walk Away Renee'
Teresa Brewer: 'Gonna Get Along Without You Now'

Make yourself happy, don't bend to others bad-mouthing you.

FC61 Sat 20-Jul-19 09:57:09

This kind of toxic behaviour seems to come out of jealousy, competitiveness, inadequacy, lack of sense of self , so aren’t easy to overcome! I had a best friend that went toxic and I had to cut off from. She was my BF for years , I was at the birth of her children! But I had several big breakthroughs in life and she turned so nasty she wrote me 18 pages about how horrible I was !! That was the end of that ! She actually thought we could carry on being friends after that. It was so hard to let go and took me several years to get my confidence back ! But boy I’m glad I ended it! I sometimes think it’s nice to explain to someone what they’re doing but only if they’re listening and you think they’re worth investing in.

angie95 Sat 20-Jul-19 10:00:14

Rude!! Is what I would call this so called friend, she is not a very nice person, and her attitude towards you stinks! You deserve so much better, walk away, leave her to her nasty comments. and as for all the Irish are thick, how dare she!! I can think of plenty of famous Irish people, Maeve Bunchy for one!! She's a sad toxic little person who doesn't deserve to have you in her life. Hugs xx

Kate63 Sat 20-Jul-19 10:00:23

Urmstongran love that card

Framilode Sat 20-Jul-19 10:04:31

Surely a true friend builds you up not puts you down.

Jayemwhite Sat 20-Jul-19 10:05:02

I had a friend like that. One day when she was being particularly patronising I told her to p* off.
I haven’t seen or heard from her in 5 years and I don’t miss her.
There is a sense of freedom in not being continually criticised

Davida1968 Sat 20-Jul-19 10:06:07

Like annsixty, I'm doing my best to "lose" a friend I've know for over 25 years. Quite literally she never stops talking about herself. It's as though a radio has been switched on, but without an "off" button being available, The other person simply can't get a word in - even to ask about the subject that toxic friend is droning on about. (Mutual friends have all confirmed that she is exactly the same with them, as well.) Toxic friend does this whether in a one-to-one chat, or in company. DH once asked another friend about her recent holiday to Oz: toxic friend immediately butted in and gave them a 30 minute account of her holiday to Oz, twenty years previously. In 2015 we had an unusual, significant (and happy) surprise event in our family - I have never yet been able to tell toxic friend about it, because I simply can't get a word in. So I've decided to stop contact with her. Not easy, because every now and again she pops up, wanting to meet: now I just make excuses and avoid seeing her. Does anyone else have a toxic friend like this?

marpau Sat 20-Jul-19 10:10:14

In a similar situation I once asked did you mean that to be funny or just unkind? The comments stopped after that. It depends if you still want the friendship.

Caro57 Sat 20-Jul-19 10:11:18

Ditch - you and your grandchildren are worth more than that

Mcbab Sat 20-Jul-19 10:11:44

I can identify with this! I have a friend who is a bit Jekyll and Hyde. She can be kind but I am getting very fed up with her put downs and nasty comments about many things, my family, where they live etc. She is like this with other people but I think I get the worst of it. Unfortunately sometimes her comments bring out the worst in me and I say things I wouldn’t say to anyone else although not to the same degree and I am not proud of this. Her husband can have a nasty dig too and I am now fed up with this so have distanced myself a bit for the sake of my own wellbeing. A true friend I think is someone who will share your joys with you and not just zoom in on what’s not so good in your life. I would be interested in how anyone else has dealt with this situation. I wouldn’t give up the friendship as it goes back too far but need to step back. I should add that our husbands are friends too although don’t see too much of each other as my husband says he is just too negative

jenkins Sat 20-Jul-19 10:27:48

there is usually jealousy there..or learnt behaviour...maybe that's what she grew up excuse for it..we grown ups can take it ..if she's started on your grandchildren..ditch the rude

Grannycool52 Sat 20-Jul-19 10:32:28

It looks as if there are a lot of us in this situation. Keeper1, thank you and you are right in all you say, but I did try last year. She wanted to meet in her city for a few days and I agreed but after a particularly nasty few days, I contacted her and gently pointed out that she had been hurtful and asked had I done anything to annoy her. I received such a horrid response that I suggested we take a break from each other ( this was when I should have said a final goodbye) but then she started pleading that she loves and cares me and I ended up back where I was. So really I know I should say goodbye now and I think Dgrann777 that you should too. Enough is enough and we need to get on with what makes us feel good in life x

Grammaretto Sat 20-Jul-19 10:33:19

Mcbab I have a friendship a bit like this and like you, I can't walk away. I think of her almost like a sister but she has changed as she's aged. She can still be incredibly kind but the other side annoys me increasingly.
I have distanced myself recently partly for fear I would say something unforgivable to her!
Maybe we can't bear to watch our dearest friends age? We want them to stay the same.

VRH1 Sat 20-Jul-19 10:34:57

I had a friend like the one you describe. She had depression and anxiety and was riddled with jealousy. She was also a liar and a gossip. I got rid. She does attempt to return like a bad penny when she needs to use me for something, but I head her off at the pass. It’s funny how we hold our tongues with this sort of person. If I told her a few home truths it would destroy her.

Craicon Sat 20-Jul-19 10:38:33

Is she a good friend to you in other ways and it’s just the increasingly negative comments that’s getting to be a problem?

Sometimes people get stuck in difficult behaviour patterns and no-one actually bothers to point it out to them, instead they inwardly seethe, then just discard the former friend one day without explanation.

Surely if you are a true friend, you would at least tactfully explain how upsetting the constant negative put downs make you feel and that it’s making it difficult for you to feel friendly towards them?

I think it’s incredibly sad and somewhat double standards when some people ditch former friends without explanation, because they’re too cowardly to have an honest conversation with them.

Kim19 Sat 20-Jul-19 10:38:50

Certainly not my idea of a friend. I would phase her out as fast and painlessly as I could.

Sb74 Sat 20-Jul-19 10:45:02

In a word, yes, walk away. I don’t bother with people nowadays that make me feel bad. Life is too short. Anyone who said anything negative about my kids and future grandkids, that wasn’t family, would be out of the picture pretty damn quick.

red1 Sat 20-Jul-19 10:58:20

get rid! ive had people in my life like this,even my brother.Some folk just want to bring you down,friends, don't do that.get rid of them and good folk will come into your life. ive done it over the past 2 years,my life now generally brighter.

annsixty Sat 20-Jul-19 11:14:41

As someone upthread said, if I told this person the reason she has lost so many friends it would destroy her.
She has no idea how her behaviour affects others.
She has moved into sheltered
accommodation, she is now 82 and widowed. I know some of the residents avoid her but I truly believe she will never change.
Her family are her life and no-one else's family can live up to them.
Four of us used to meet up for lunch several times a year and almost before coats were off she would be going into her bag for the latest photograghs.
One of our number has died and I am trying to absent myself.

Bluekitchen192 Sat 20-Jul-19 11:14:46

I dealt with this kind of put down from a friend by cutting across her one day and remarking " when you get that expression on your face, I know I'm not going to like what comes out of your mouth next" There was a stunned silence as though a mouse had roared. We moved on quickly and contined to be good friends and never referred to that conversation again

i have noticed that she is on difficult terms with her sisters whom I havent me I'm pretty sure that she does much the same to them as she did to me but I dont comment.

Annaram1 Sat 20-Jul-19 11:15:21

How rude can she be? she sounds absolutely ghastly!!!

OK, so she doesn't like your taste in furnishings, hair etc. I have friends whose taste differs but I never tell them that.
Was it a friend of Oscar Wilde who said to him "there is no such thing as bad taste, only different taste." ? Wilde's response was "I wish I'd said that."

As for her comment about the Irish and their accents, that is racist. Personally I love Irish accents and am writing a romance where the hero is an Irishman whose accent is totally attractive and sexy to the heroine. Tell your "friend" if she doesn't like the Irish perhaps she should just bugger off.

Has she got grandchildren herself? Perhaps she is just a bit jealous? It's a big issue to be rude about somebody else's and everybody agrees about that.

She IS toxic and would have to have an awful lot of loveliness to overcome her toxicity. Having personal problems is really no excuse to being rude, nasty, and racist. Dump the woman after telling her why you don't want her "friendship" any more.

ruthiek Sat 20-Jul-19 11:15:21

Keep away, trust me she will carry on doing it. I had a best friend who did this constantly, then started telling people my innermost thoughts. In the end I broke it off with her. But she kept trying to rekindle the friendship , I almost gave in and then heard last night she is making nasty comments about me. We don’t need people like this in our life

jools1903 Sat 20-Jul-19 11:19:44

I’ve just done this with a ‘friend’ who I’ve known for some 24 years! She was like your friend in that she always had to go one up on anything I said, did or had. She would make barbed comments too about me or my family and I put up with until I finally exploded earlier this year and told her exactly what I felt. We’ve met a couple of times for coffee since (outside each other’s homes) but I certainly don’t miss the out downs, bullying and ‘I’m better than you’ attitude that she has. Good luck with whatever you decide to do but I’m sure, once you get used to not having her in your life anymore, you’ll love the freedom it brings xx

Nanafran Sat 20-Jul-19 11:20:51

Agree. Get rid. She is projecting all her unhappiness on to you. X

Ramblingrose22 Sat 20-Jul-19 11:21:28

Dgrann777 - have you thought of using the assertiveness technique when she says hurtful things?

Without being aggressive you say firmly "When you criticise my hairstyle/ furniture/my GCs etc etc I find it hurtful and I am asking you not to do it anymore."

There are more manipulative ways of dealing with this too. You could say "I thought you were a good friend but when you criticise .....I don't think that's what good friends do and I find it upsetting/annoying."

Then there is the direct way - "Recently you have started criticising my hairstyle/furniture/GCs etc and I find that upsetting. If you keep doing it our friendship will have to end. It's up to you." But you'll have to stick with that decision!

It is irrelevant and not your fault that she has personal problems so why should you have to suffer?

sazz1 Sat 20-Jul-19 11:28:29

I have a sister like this and have slowly cut contact with her. From visiting twice a week it's now roughly once a month. She always made me feel down no matter how happy and positive I felt before the visit. Rarely ring her nowadays and I'm much happier without her around.
Get rid of your friend you'll feel much better without her. Xxx

HurdyGurdy Sat 20-Jul-19 11:29:27

I think the fact that you have even used the word "toxic" in your description of your friendship says all you need to know.

As yourself - what am I gaining from this friendship. Would I miss it if it wasn't in my life?

Danlan Sat 20-Jul-19 11:33:04

You are obviously a very kind and tolerant person to have put up with this so called friend. However, she’s a nasty piece of work, dump her and concentrate on enjoying some extra time your grandchildren!

annsixty Sat 20-Jul-19 11:34:54

I have just remembered an example of my friend's cutting comments.
This only happened two weeks ago.
She was telling me about her GD' s wonderful new boyfriend.
She said he is at X uni.
I replied that our mutual friend's VS has just got a place there.
She asked me his degree course and I said Business Studies, she replied oh E is one of the clever ones, he's doing chemistry.
That goes on all the time.

annsixty Sat 20-Jul-19 11:35:43

GS not VS!!!

annodomini Sat 20-Jul-19 11:47:40

You have entitled this thread 'toxic friend'. I would have thought that the two words were mutually exclusive. Why would you have to ask? Are you so short of friends that you can even contemplate not dropping this obnoxious woman?

BusterTank Sat 20-Jul-19 11:50:34

I think you need to set her straight and if she doesn't like it , she knows what she can do . I think you have let her get away with things for To long .

Alexa Sat 20-Jul-19 11:56:49

She is seriously scratchy. She sounds like the son's girl friend in the TV comedy 'Mum'.

mumofmadboys Sat 20-Jul-19 12:13:55

I put up with negative comments from my sister for a very long time. Also a lack of interest in my life and my family. I tried to raise it to try and improve things. She screamed at me and said she wanted nothing more to do with me. That was 7 months ago. I have tried to improve things by writing and phoning. She refused to speak to me. She is my younger sister and my only sibling. I feel so sad. I have loved her since she was born 50 odd years ago. I know I have faults too. I am prepared to meet her halfway and try to improve our relationship but she shows no willingness to do this. I suspect our relationship is over. She didn't send our family a Christmas card even and missed my birthday. I continue to send her and her family cards and presents but hear nothing back. I feel desperately sad but don't feel I can do any more

Onestepbeyond Sat 20-Jul-19 12:14:14

Just press Delete -

flowers flowers

Rhinestone Sat 20-Jul-19 12:14:47

There is nothing that says you have to stay friends with someone because you are friends with them. We all change as we get older and what suited us at 20 may not suit us now. I’m at the point in life where friends should enhance my life not cause me stress and anxiety. As far as I’m concerned my grandchildren are off the table. If anyone be it family or friend start talking or criticizing them they are gone from my life.

Jaycee5 Sat 20-Jul-19 12:42:36

What are you gaining from this friendship? If there is something worth preserving, you have to tell her that if she doesn't cut out the constant criticism or you don't want her company. I doubt that it will work though and you probably will have to walk away so you might as well get it over with.

Notsooldat75 Sat 20-Jul-19 12:59:53

I totally agree with the majority! Walk away, don’t waste your valuable time or energy on this person, she’s insecure and is trying to undermine your confidence to make her feel better.
I have done this with one or two so-called friends, and believe me, it’s so liberating! Make sure you surround yourself with nice people and let the others go.

maryhoffman37 Sat 20-Jul-19 13:00:20

The answer is in your question. If you can use the word "toxic," it isn't a friendship. Ditch her and, if she asks why, tell her.

Grammaretto Sat 20-Jul-19 13:14:10

that's really sad mumofmadboys. I don't know what to suggest but I do hope your little sister comes to her senses.
Drop it for a while. Have no expectations and then you could be pleasantly surprised.

Nobody likes to be told they are hurtful so perhaps she is dramatically showing that she's deeply hurt by being told off.

mumofmadboys Sat 20-Jul-19 13:16:36

Thanks for your comments Grammaretto

Cabbie21 Sat 20-Jul-19 13:39:24

Perhaps a question is How to end it?
If you are out somewhere together, each with your own transport, you can literally get up and walk away, preferably stating a reason.
If you have gone out together in one car, you can make a comment at the end of the journey, if things have been bad.

If you make contact by text or email, you can not answer, or say you are not free. Or reply stating why you don’t want to spend time together.
If she rings you can not pick up.
If she leaves you to make the next arrangements, just don’t bother.

I see my local friends at church or choir or similar. We rarely take it beyond that. Others, more distant, well we just pick up where we left off and get on really well, but it is usually up to me to make contact. Now I am wondering whether to make the effort. It can be a minefield.

Rosina Sat 20-Jul-19 14:13:13

People who case stress, or unhappiness, or make you doubt yourself and start to wonder if you need them as a friend are best consigned to history. I had a long friendship which had many ups and downs; I am truly very, very far from perfect but hopefully as tolerant of others quirks as they are of mine; however on several occasions unpleasant things happened and estrangement resulted. I realised much later that this was all down to jealousy, and the final situation that resulted in my 'friend' continually slamming the phone down when I attempted to explain that there had clearly been a misunderstanding suddenly made me feel that I had had enough. Several mutual acquaintances - all of whom had been ostracised on occasions by this person - told me that I would be foolish to try to pick it up again as nothing would change. I didn't - and have felt a great sense of relief, as I hope you will too. Hindsight has taught me that my friendship was worth very little, and I then had more time to concentrate on true friends.

Tillybelle Sat 20-Jul-19 14:34:49

Sorry I am a bit late on the scene in answering. I have been "otherwise engaged".

I think you have answered your own question. Probably you just needed a bit of moral support. So I will add mine, yes, walk away.

I have found that as I get older, I am less able to cope with the negative and picky people of this world even those with problems. If she has always been like this then she is unlikely to change. You are likely to find her more and more upsetting and unreasonable. You do not deserve this or need it.

I would save yourself the pain of a formal parting but just not be available each time she tries to make arrangements to meet. On the phone you will have to go and see to something in the oven, answer the door, leave for an appointment... so can't talk. Just keep her away from you and eventually she will get the message. I wouldn't try to talk to her about her criticisms and put-downs. She would enjoy engaging in this opportunity to continue to put you down and twist what you say.

Wishing you lots of luck and the company of true friends who support you in future! 💐

willa45 Sat 20-Jul-19 14:54:40

When someone uses humor to berate another, it's just another example of passive aggressiveness.

It's a clever way to insult people they resent or envy and still remain unscathed. Should the aggressor be called out on it, they can pass it off as a 'mere joke' and accuse the other side of over reacting.

I can think of a dozen reasons why you don't need 'friends' like that......most have already been mentioned here.

No need to have a row. Simple make yourself scarce whenever she wants to meet and she may eventually give up. You can also end the friendship abruptly and without explanation by cutting her off from your life altogether.'s what they call 'ghosting'.

Tillybelle Sat 20-Jul-19 14:55:44

I am so sorry to hear of your sadness at this situation. I too have a similar estrangement.

It does not help that we live in a Culture that emphasises the family and puts it on a pedestal, showing close and supportive relationships between siblings as if this is normal. I can tell you from my career (now retired) that this image is far from accurate. As we often say, you can choose your friends but not your family! Also I was often struck, if I met the family, on how different people could be within the same family. In my family, my half-sister resembled my mother and I resembled my father, in looks and ways. The two were so very different I used to wonder time and again about how my sister could do what she did!

I think it is time we came to understand that family is not the be-all and end-all of our lives. True friends and real kindness is the main thing. If any of your family are not good to you, abuse and hurt you or show they do not want you, then let them go. Just make your own friends, concentrate on those around you and on the people you know you can trust.

Of course you wanted to love your baby sister! It is terribly sad that it turned out this way. But do not dwell on it, please. People are different! Even in a family people can be so different from one another that forcing a relationship is often detrimental to at least one person. I learned this when I was badly abused and I had to let go and make my own life where I could be safe. After a few years I did recover. But I do find the sentimentality about the "perfect family" especially around Christmas when everyone is getting together "with the family" very hard to bear.

Poppsbaggie Sat 20-Jul-19 14:57:33

Dump her. Life's too short!

mrsgreenfingers56 Sat 20-Jul-19 14:58:19

I really understand this post. I had a friend who was also lovely in many ways so I read this with great interest. But she had a very bitchy and snide side to her and it was so upsetting. She could be very supportive but then sneaky comments about the length of my hair and once when shopping a lady was doing a hair demo and asked people with long hair to come over and have it pinned up. My friend walked away and when I found her after hair demo she told me "Only common people have their hair done in public" in such a nasty voice I was astonished. I think the hair thing touched a nerve as hers was baby thin and losing it a bit. Another comment was about me living in a Cul-De-Sac and how "It's like living in a goldfish bowl" in a cutting voice. It was really hurtful and totally uncalled for. And I could carry on.
She would never comment if you had a new dress on, haircut, new handbag and in the end we parted company but didn't fall out. I think really we had nothing in common in the end. But after 20 plus years of no contact and seeing my mum at the shops recently and finding out I had been through cancer treatment she wrote to me and being Christmas time sent me a card. I sent one back but had to go to great lengths to find her address as not kept. She apologised in one of her letters for basically what happened and I thought that was very gracious of her. We exchange a few letters throughout the year but not met up. She did sort of suggest it but to be honest not sure how I feel about that. We did have a good friendship and had some real good giggles at times but she always said she preferred being friends with men to women.
I read this recently "When someone is cruel to you, remember that it's nothing to do with you and a reflection on them". I think this can be very true at times. Think you need to move on from this friendship Dgrann77, there are lots of other ladies who would value your friendship more.

pixie601 Sat 20-Jul-19 14:59:14

Why are you even asking what you should do!!! Walk away, she is no friend to you.

Tillybelle Sat 20-Jul-19 15:03:38

Soory I somehow posted before finishing!
I really wanted to say, I wish we could form our own special family, you and I and all those of us who are unable to be close to our family or who have a member with whom we cannot mix. We understand each other.

You are not alone. Many people are abused by a sibling or treated as the 'second-best' child by a parent. There is so much unhappiness in the family structure hidden behind closed doors. You have the power to be in charge of your own life now. Try and simply accept that these less than perfect things do happen, you did your best, but the right thing is to ensure your own happiness and welfare and that of your own family.

Wishing you contentment and times of genuine joy, the feeling of perfect peace and all the best of love in your life, from Elle x 🦋🌺🌼

HootyMcOwlface Sat 20-Jul-19 15:05:56

You need one of mumsnet’s (I think!) stock replies here OP - say “Did you mean to be so rude?” to her next time, if there is a next time!

Patticake123 Sat 20-Jul-19 15:35:33

I ditched a toxic friend almost 9 years ago and felt great relief. I do still think about her occasionally, we had known each other for over forty years, but her acidic remarks were just too hurtful and I walked away. Another couple we knew and socialised with made the mistake of criticising my Grandson. He was 2 years old at the time, I never saw them again, don’t miss them, but I still regret not telling them why I ceased seeing them!

Acer Sat 20-Jul-19 15:35:35

I wonder if with this kind of ‘friendship’ if there is a way of being brave enough to ‘talk honestly’ about what exactly is causing such unhappiness in the friend that they can make such comments ?

blue60 Sat 20-Jul-19 15:39:47

If you are asking the question, then there's something wrong.

If you are feeling anything but happy to be in her company, then it's time to either tell her how you feel about the comments she makes, then resume a better friendship, or decide to back away if you prefer not to confront.

I have done the 'back away' from friends who I no longer share interests with, or get annoyed with them.

Up to you really.

jaylucy Sat 20-Jul-19 15:41:46

I once had a boyfriend that used to look you up and down and then say "how much did you pay for that top/dress/trousers?" when you used to tell him, he used to come back with "you could have bought a new one for that " or "it'll be nice when it's finished!" but he was joking.
Think your friend has a bit of the old green eye about her. OK for her to "joke " over you but she needs to draw the line somewhere and I'd tell her either that you find her comments demeaning or that you don't mind what she says about you (just) but when it comes to the grandkids, they are off limits.
I can see this friendship fading away as we speak though

NannaM Sat 20-Jul-19 15:58:23

Dgrann777 - read up about Gaslighting. Your so-called friend will carry on doing this for as long as you have a relationship with her. She is chipping away at your sense of self worth. You deserve better. Hugs

RosieLeah Sat 20-Jul-19 16:14:23

Surely 'toxic' and 'friend' are a contradiction? I would guess that the only reason this woman is still around is because you put up with her snide remarks. I doubt if she has any real friends if she treats everyone in the same way. Ask yourself if you actually need her in your life.

poshpaws Sat 20-Jul-19 17:02:13

I had a friend like that once. Once. Drop contact with her, there's nothing to be gained once you've realised that the friendship is basically one way, and it's not her direction it's coming from .

GabriellaG54 Sat 20-Jul-19 17:05:42

2 choices
Walk away or
Tell her face to face exactly how you feel.
Pull no punches.
She has no idea how churned up you feel, as you probably shrug it off so she's none the wiser.
She's not a mind reader so give her a chance to put things right and mend her ways.
Tell her outrightvthat you once valued her friendship but now you know it can't continue if she carries on in the same manner.
Her problems, whatever they may be, should not colour the way in which she treats you.
We on GN have our problems but we don't take other people down because of them.
No excuses. Just do it over a coffee in a quiet place.
Best wishes and luck.
I hope she listens. flowersshamrock