We were created for connection with others. Friendships, like other relationships take time, effort, intention, and maintenance to be worth it. Unfortunately, when we get into relationships with toxic people, a friendship can be more draining than it is worth and ultimately, it might be a better idea to break it off. If you are uncertain about whether your friendship is worth keeping, take the following into consideration:

1. She Puts You in a Bad Mood

Okay, not everyone is a party all of the time. Moods and attitudes are contagious and it is natural for people to occasionally “have a case of the Mondays” or get up on the “wrong side of the bed” and simply have a bad day. What’s important to remember is that misery loves company and if someone is chronically grumpy, you may begin to notice that you yourself are starting to see the glass half empty after spending time with that person. This can become troublesome if you find it hard to lift yourself out of the fog or your dampened demeanor begins to affect your everyday functioning or other relationships in your life. One thing to keep in mind is that if your friend is suffering from anxiety or depression, you can be there to support and encourage them, but you are not there to fix them. This warrants repeating: you cannot—and will not—fix them. Some things such as emotional health and wellbeing are better left for professionals to help do what they are educated and trained to do.

2. Friendly "Competition" Becomes Tit-For-Tat

Perhaps it’s how they talk about how their spouse never forgets a holiday, birthday, or anniversary of when they shared their first piece of cheesecake. Or maybe when you confide that you recently had to take a cut in pay at work, they talk incessantly about how they’re planning a party with a several thousand dollar budget, how they got a Mercedes for their birthday, or how they couldn’t pass up their new Coach bag because it was on sale at the outlet store. Whatever it is, the topics of conversation turn into a way for your “friend” to demonstrate how she’s better than you or how she has something that you do not have. What’s unfortunate is that this type of behavior is a telltale sign that underneath the fluff, she is incredibly insecure and feels some need to hide behind the façade of money or materialism. Or she may exhibit traits of a narcissist. Either way, if it leaves you feeling like you’re not good enough or frustrated because you don’t receive empathy or sensitivity, it might be time to reevaluate this friendship.

3. There is Little Reciprocity in Your Relationship

It’s reasonable to assume that you would be able to benefit from some sort of reciprocation in your friendship. If you spend a lot of time listening but rarely feel like you’re being listened to, that is a problem. Perhaps you’ve had a rough week and really need someone to vent to. If you begin to share only to find that the conversation somehow turned back to your friend (again!), you might not be getting your fair share of airtime, and consequently, you might begin to feel like your relationship with her is something to vent about.

4. You Feel She Doesn't Even Know Who You Are

If you’ve been using time, effort, and resources to get to know someone, you’re making an investment in the relationship. It takes time to get to know another person intimately and in turn, it takes awhile to open up to and become vulnerable with others. However, if after months or years of pouring into someone, you feel consistently misunderstood, unheard, or unknown, it’s important to acknowledge that maybe this relationship isn’t worth the investment you’ve been making. If you genuinely think the relationship lacks emotional equity, it might be time to write them off and move on.

5. You No Longer Look Forward to Hanging Out With Her

Or worse, you dread it. Obviously, this is not a good sign for the prognosis of any relationship. If you notice that you have genuine misgivings about spending time with them, it is worth looking at why spending time with them is even something you are willing to do. A simple evaluation might help you in figuring out why you are willing to spend time with someone when you’d honestly prefer not to. Do you feel obligated to this person? Do you feel indebted to them for something they have done for you? On the other hand, do they have information they could use against you as blackmail or gossip? Perhaps the reasons are less dramatic and simply that you share a long history with the person. In any case, evaluating “why” will be helpful to you in determining your motivation for continuing a relationship that is otherwise dead on the vine.

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
Amazon Price: $16.99 $3.02 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 26, 2016)

If you feel like a friendship leaves much to be desired but you’re hanging on because you hold out hope that they will change or feel like you have too much history with them to just let them go, perhaps ending a friendship by cutting them off cold turkey isn’t your style. There is nothing wrong with giving people the benefit of the doubt unless you’re feeling used, abused, or like your boundaries are being violated. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if your friendships are truly worth the time you’re putting into them or if it would be better to make some changes that will be better and healthier for you in the long run.