8 Signs of a Toxic Friendship | Sharon Livingston | TEDxWilmingtonWomen

  • Published: 21 December 2016
  • There are stories of people with bullets in their head who don’t even know it.
    Many more people are living with toxic friendships without even knowing it.
    Knowing the 8 signs of a toxic friendship can help you avoid them.

    Dr. Sharon Livingston is founder and president of The Livingston Group for Marketing, Inc., a brand marketing research company that implements projective techniques to discover and strengthen the relationship between Fortune 100 products and their consumers. Sharon also wrote “Get Lost Girlfriend: How I Found Myself When My Best Friend Dumped Me”. In spite of her professional success, Sharon found herself in a toxic friendship — a friendship she treasured turned out to be deeply harmful. Turning to business principles in branding and working on her own personal brand, she learned new ways to care for herself emotionally. Sharon has determined that toxic friendships are identifiable, that you CAN heal and protect yourself from poisonous people in the future.

    This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at ted.com/tedx

Comments • 1 183

  • Ale R
    Ale R  3 days back

    Does that mean that a toxic friendship is someone who’s always talking about themselves? For some reason those are the people that always want to be my friends!

    • Coolstool Games
      Coolstool Games  4 days back

      THanks, cheers I'm gonna love my self before you love others

      • Tammy Estes
        Tammy Estes  5 days back

        Be your own bestie!!!

        • B forJC
          B forJC  5 days back

          Narcissists pursue nice people then abuse them. Yes pursue your healing and decide to love yourself and look for those sweet people.

          • Babushka Aaliyushka
            Babushka Aaliyushka  1 weeks back

            Did I just watch her venting her gossip on how she and her bestie had a fight?

            • Johnny Del R. Souls MGTOWATLASTISMELLTHECOFFEE

              🤢I'm going to be sick🤦

              • Amina Ahmed
                Amina Ahmed  2 weeks back

                My best friend is like the type of person to love being with me but when her other friend who has a lot of clout literally walks by and it’s like I’m not even there anymore I do get jealous when I see her with her and I feel like a speck of sand and like I’ve disappeared and I don’t understand why every friendship I have ever had has always ended or I feel like it’s a toxic friend honestly I’d be ok with having no friends cause Tatar’s better then getting ur heart ripped out

                • Spykerhond
                  Spykerhond  2 weeks back

                  Very important material this for sanity, thanks for the video.

                  • Spykerhond
                    Spykerhond  2 weeks back

                    You cure a broken friendship with a big bowl of freshly cured cannabis. I want to kill poison rats that acts like friends, but this problem with windows remote desktop and my papaya tree thats a bit dry is taking all my time up at the moment. Kill them later when there is not so much else to do.

                    • Spykerhond
                      Spykerhond  2 weeks back

                      your friend was jealous of your ability to connect with people, so she got angry that you knew interesting people so easily. Death to friends like that.
                      The world is full of other people.

                      • AYKUT
                        AYKUT  3 weeks back

                        All my friends turn on me and forget me even though I was nothing but selfless towards them

                        • JMK
                          JMK  3 weeks back

                          I think people come into our lives to help us for a period. These helpers are mistaked as friendships, when really they are short-term situations.

                          • Kathy B
                            Kathy B  3 weeks back

                            So true that friendships are undervalued in our culture and romantic relationships are overvalued! Therapists should allow friends to come to therapy sessions - it would give the therapist so much more insight into their client and what might help him or her

                            • Kathy B
                              Kathy B  3 weeks back

                              The super attached friend usually ends up being a toxic friend. I found that my more healthy friends have their own lives, our friendship is important but not everything. So it’s important to have many friends. No one friend can meet all of our friendship needs. I also agree that “best friend” is a childish concept-I love each of my friends for their unique qualities, I don’t need to play favorites. I might be closer to one or two friends at a certain point in time, but that can change

                              • Chaplain Matt Sanders
                                Chaplain Matt Sanders  3 weeks back

                                8:00 — The importance of being one’s own best friend. Yep. Nailed it.

                                • Blossomness Studios
                                  Blossomness Studios  4 weeks back

                                  I came here to make sure that I wasn't in a toxic friendship and i'm pretty reassured. She cares about me, and is there for me. Sometimes I feel a little bit awkward or uncomfortable around her, but it's just me being self conscious because even though we are the same age she's a lot smaller than me and I think she's a lot prettier, too. We've been best friends for five years now, and I really don't know what I would do without her.

                                  • sara Moghazy
                                    sara Moghazy  4 weeks back

                                    i have a toxic friendship and really hurt me a lot ..but what i learned is to forgive her so that i can feel peace .. and then i felt this was lesson for me so that don't love someone that much .. don't make anyone enter your inner circle of self esteem and confidence , it's not about people are bad , they are weak and they can use the power of love to take advantages of you .. there is a deep point in your heart that can't be touched by human .. this point is your hunger to love and feeling safe .. no human can saturate this hungry point expect God who is not changeable .. who create us and knows our deepest fears and needs.. this is all human relationships pains about.. you can have a balanced, happy and rich relationships if you put them within human boundaries.

                                    • Jessica L
                                      Jessica L  4 weeks back

                                      I feel so drain and mad when a so called friend calls me only to hear about her problems smh with her man . When I change the subject to her hobbies ect she immediately changes the subject again about her ex smh its like that's her world she only knows

                                      • Adriana Perez
                                        Adriana Perez  1 months back

                                        Sometimes I just wonder what did I do wrong to deserve that kind of toxic friendship, to be ignore. And stilI wanna be with them even though I know all of the toxic things they do

                                        • JayRob videographer
                                          JayRob videographer  1 months back

                                          Aam i the only one who is missing the 8 signs part of her message?

                                          • The Lasiters
                                            The Lasiters  1 months back

                                            You're so pretty! Thank you also for your truth and vulnerability.

                                            • Vincisomething
                                              Vincisomething  1 months back

                                              One of my friends and I both dealt with covert narcs and bonded that way.

                                              • Dr. Sharon
                                                Dr. Sharon  1 months back

                                                Happens all the time. Painful . . . I know

                                            • Anyuung S
                                              Anyuung S  1 months back

                                              I am scared that i am the one who is toxic 😔

                                              • Anyuung S
                                                Anyuung S  1 months back

                                                +Dr. Sharon Thank you very much Dr Sharon. 😔

                                              • Dr. Sharon
                                                Dr. Sharon  1 months back

                                                Real Narcissists never think they are. AND none of us are perfect. Thanks for your honest reflection. Says a lot about you

                                            • ana // moonchild
                                              ana // moonchild  2 months back

                                              everyone tells me that my best friend who makes me so upset and miserable is toxic but part of me still cannot let them go even though I know very deep down that they hate my guts

                                              • Dr. Sharon
                                                Dr. Sharon  1 months back

                                                Hi Ana. There must be some special qualities too, that keep you there. Please be sweet to yourself. It's an opportunity to make better choices when you're ready

                                            • Jewels Ohbearing
                                              Jewels Ohbearing  2 months back

                                              My person left me hanging. Now we just pass each other by. Tug of war. Rebuild mode.

                                              • Dr. Sharon
                                                Dr. Sharon  1 months back

                                                Rebuild is good. Hard though.

                                            • Jewels Ohbearing
                                              Jewels Ohbearing  2 months back

                                              I need a new phone and move forward. Look update on who for what? Besides is all in the background of. I feel like I'm pulling teeth to get clear. Caught whatever? Who? Creativity pads.

                                              • Jewels Ohbearing
                                                Jewels Ohbearing  2 months back

                                                Trying to make me feel and look like I'm selfish.

                                                • Dr. Sharon
                                                  Dr. Sharon  1 months back

                                                  awful. It's good to give to yourself - first! that's not selfish, that's healthy.

                                              • Jewels Ohbearing
                                                Jewels Ohbearing  2 months back

                                                I'm not going to beg some one to shop. I offered already.

                                                • Cherry Murphy
                                                  Cherry Murphy  2 months back

                                                  My friend lindsay little miss narcissistic. Sad will miss her

                                                  • michal mor
                                                    michal mor  2 months back

                                                    I had a friend who depended on me and i trusted her too. But every time something wasn't as she wanted it to be, she used to lecture me or worse - shout and scream as a way to express her anger and resentments. It took me a while to see that this wasn't a one time thing that i accept, and when i starred to put boundaries, she started to look for everything bad i did or just ignored me, talked about me with others behind my back. It takes a while to realize you have a bullet, and now I'm trying to heal and put ot behind me, because I don't deserve this kind of friend, i deserve more

                                                    • Dr. Sharon
                                                      Dr. Sharon  1 months back

                                                      That's awesome!! Good for you. Hard to do. Proud of you

                                                  • ps baruah
                                                    ps baruah  2 months back

                                                    never be ocd about anything dead or alive.

                                                  • DedoStorm
                                                    DedoStorm  2 months back

                                                    are you also thinking about that one person as she talks ?

                                                    • Nicole Behdad
                                                      Nicole Behdad  2 months back

                                                      Man I never cried over my bad friends. I learned from my brother to treat relationships with people who are not worthwhile like a light switch. Quick to turn on and then off

                                                      • Livanjka21
                                                        Livanjka21  2 months back

                                                        You don't need anybody if you have great parents, siblings, husbands, kids, cousins. Nowadays people are starving for friendships. Why? Ask yourself, why you're that alone and desperate? Is it because you don't care for your own family?? If that's the case we can't be friends.

                                                        • Lillie Russo
                                                          Lillie Russo  2 months back

                                                          4:10 i am the person at the top left table

                                                          • Lillie Russo
                                                            Lillie Russo  2 months back

                                                            Dr. Sharon lol no i was making a joke implying that i have no friends

                                                          • Dr. Sharon
                                                            Dr. Sharon  2 months back

                                                            Hi Lillie. That's awesome. Did you see Ajit's TEDx talk this week?

                                                        • Curious Carpenter
                                                          Curious Carpenter  2 months back

                                                          Being in a relationship with a co-dependent is no picnic either.

                                                        • Hello World: with Miyah
                                                          Hello World: with Miyah  2 months back

                                                          I have been in a lot of toxic friendships but they took on different forms. The last one who dumped me was extremely toxic for that. Basically, 8 signs in our friendship
                                                          1. Listen to her issues whenever she fell out with someone but when I had to cut another friend from my life I was sad and looked to her. However, she was too "Busy." Instead she ran off with to a mall with this other girl who I cut from me life.
                                                          2. Criticize me - One time she was mad that a guy dumped her so when I talked about how a guy liked me it was "Stop talking about how he likes you. It's not fair everyone looks at you because you are young and thing.
                                                          3. Told me to change by insisting that if I ever want a boyfriend, I need to grow my hair out, wear more makeup and dress a certain way.
                                                          4. When she broke the friendship off - she kept criticizing me by telling me that he has nothing in common while comparing me to her new friend who she shared the same values with
                                                          5.Emotional roller coaster- there were times where she would throw a tantrum because people were paying attention to me and not her
                                                          6. We didn't have a problem with who calling who when and where
                                                          7. Walking on eggshells- I could not talk about my career goals around her because she didn't know what she wanted to do with her life because she didn't know where her talent lie.
                                                          8.Stress - After a while, I ended up getting mad at her all the time which is what she blames for the fall of our friendship.

                                                          • Charlie-Flower-Child
                                                            Charlie-Flower-Child  2 months back

                                                            I treated her so good and she threw me under the bus at work, got me labelled as a problematic employee when the reality of it, was that my ambition and work ethic intimidated her (I didn't realise this until much later though). Despite her making my work situation hard and feeling deeply hurt and betrayed, I continued to do my best at work, while she slept around with male colleagues. Long story short, I've made something of myself in the industry, while she continues to sleep around with dodgy so and so's. I'm glad I missed that bullet and it just made me appreciate the people who truly love and support me even more!

                                                            • Alexandra Gutierrez
                                                              Alexandra Gutierrez  2 months back


                                                              • Autumn Goldwater
                                                                Autumn Goldwater  2 months back

                                                                This video always makes me cry :,(

                                                                • xNique Plays
                                                                  xNique Plays  2 months back

                                                                  All I know is, my friend just seemed to stop talking to me all together just because one of my other friends upset them. I tried reaching out only to get ignored. Is this someone in spossed to let go or?

                                                                  • Rosie Mayne
                                                                    Rosie Mayne  2 months back

                                                                    It’s strange though that she was bothered the girl had another best friend. That’s not healthy either. People can have more than one best friend and to be jealous of that is not okay.

                                                                    • 52hello25
                                                                      52hello25  2 months back

                                                                      By definition of the word "best," no, you cannot have more than one best friend. What she's trying to say is that it's not normal for someone you're friends with to start bringing up other friends and compare them to you.

                                                                  • Gavin Martinez
                                                                    Gavin Martinez  2 months back

                                                                    My "friend" dumps all her problems on me and never thinks about ne

                                                                    • Dr. Sharon
                                                                      Dr. Sharon  2 months back

                                                                      So is that person really a friend?

                                                                  • Gothmummi
                                                                    Gothmummi  2 months back

                                                                    1. She only calls me whe she wants something.
                                                                    2. She has NO IDEA what is going on with me. She doesn't ask.
                                                                    3. She calls me obsessively if she wants me; it doesnt seem to occur to her that i actually have my own life.
                                                                    4. She does expect me to stop what i am doing to go to her.
                                                                    5. She drops me and doesnt communicate with me if she doesnt have a drama going on.

                                                                    • Dr. Sharon
                                                                      Dr. Sharon  2 months back

                                                                      Sigh. sounds difficult for sure

                                                                  • Jen Gable
                                                                    Jen Gable  2 months back

                                                                    A true friend wants the absolute best for you and vice versa ! One should never be jealous !! I learned by getting burned horribly ! You think you know someone....you don't ! I let my guard down...and then their true jealousies and trickery came into light after horrible things happened to me and I finally "connected the dots" ! Thank you for posting ! I have been trying to remove many bullets from her and a few others !!

                                                                    • Shanda Peart
                                                                      Shanda Peart  3 months back

                                                                      This is a very self centered Ted talk.

                                                                      • RaymondKym Suttle
                                                                        RaymondKym Suttle  3 months back

                                                                        8 signs? This is the most superficial & unsatisfying talk that illuminates nothing useful beyond ‘be your own best friend & you’ll attract better friends’ - not useful to anyone who’s mired in toxic relationships & clearly can’t work out how to do that!

                                                                        • kristina makela
                                                                          kristina makela  3 months back

                                                                          "Poopy head?" How did this woman get a Ted talk?