All INFJs have had a toxic friendship at some point in their life. It’s kinda like an unwritten rule that we must go through this unpleasant experience to find the people who will accept us just as we accept them.
But for INFJs who are also HSP empaths, toxic friendships cause more trouble than they do for most people.
Why are toxic friendships so devastating for an INFJ?
In order to better understand why toxic friendships are so problematic for INFJs, you must first ask yourself: “Why do we allow these people to be in our lives in the first place?” The answer is not easy to digest, especially when you have a people-oriented personality like we do.
Most INFJs feel lonely. Maybe not all the time, but we feel like this for a good portion of our life. This is the main reason why toxic friendships seem like a necessity for INFJs. I’m no different.
In order to avoid loneliness, I would welcome a toxic person into my life just so that I could escape the feeling that there’s no one out there who understands me.
Many believe that because I’m an INFJ writer and a certified coach that I have this perfect understanding of myself and especially of the people who enter my life. Of course that’s not true.
Being an INFJ like you, toxic friendships, and draining relationships were a real problem for me because of my desire to run away from, not just loneliness, but also anxiety and the feeling I’m stagnating.
Toxic friendships are so devastating for INFJs because we know we can end them by choice, but we also convince ourselves that we will end up alone if we do. Guilt is a funny thing, because it makes you believe that it’s all your fault, and that you’re the main culprit for “inviting” a toxic friend into your life.
But there are ways you can move on, and make these overwhelming friendships a thing of the past.
I know how you feel, my dear INFJ. In the past, I didn’t have anyone who could tell me what I’m about to tell you, so I’ll share with you four eye-opening ways INFJs can move on from toxic friendships.
1. Don’t accept less than you deserve.
You need to be more selfish. If you find yourself alone, that’s not the same as lonely. Even if you have friends, you won’t be happy if they are toxic. Choose yourself first and respect who you are, because this is how you will move on. You’ll begin attracting healthy individuals who will become your people.
2. Draw the line.
INFJs can put up with a lot. We always give second chances to everyone. But the thing is, toxic friendships need to be a red line in your mind. Draw a boundary and give yourself the permission to move on because you deserve better. You’re not running away, you’re protecting yourself by saying, “That’s enough”.
3. Stop blaming yourself.
I cannot emphasize enough how important this is. We already feel guilty for so much. It’s not your fault you’re in the company of a toxic friend. If you start analyzing it, you’ll only get more anxious. It happened, but you can do something about it. For now, stop blaming yourself!
4. Moving on is not running away.
Many INFJs would rather keep a toxic friendship than move on from it. This is because we would rather stay and use our INFJ savior syndrome to “save” that person. Choose to move on, because you will leave space for a good friendship to be born. You’ll also give yourself a chance to heal from this awful experience.
It’s important that I mention none of these four steps will work if you don’t recognize that you are more important and worthy than you think. You don’t owe anyone anything, but you do owe it to yourself to live a fulfilled life.
If there’s one thing I’m absolutely sure of, it’s that people who have a healthy way of thinking will find their way to you. But only if you let go of toxic friendships that take away your energy.
Please give yourself the gift of being in the company of those who will love and understand you, even if for now that person is only you. <3
There are people who understand
Maybe there aren’t many people who get how hard it is to move on from a toxic friendship as an INFJ, but you can be sure there are those who understand you.
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What is your experience with toxic friendships? Is this something you struggle with now, or in the past? Feel free to share your comments below, I would love to hear from you!
This is so helpful. I stayed in a business relationship that was harmful until I hit a wall and had to pull out. The person refuses to speak to me until I “admit everything I did wrong, in writing.” I let it go at that point, but lived with guilt for a couple of years. Now I see things more clearly but being INFJ and HSP, I did spend a lot of time thinking perhaps I should have written that letter. Luckily I had a lot of non-toxic friends, plus a business coach that advised me to just let it go.
I appreciate this post and all the work you do to connect and support INFJs.
I’m so happy you like the article, Teresa! I know about that guilt, all too well… But you are not alone, and I thank you once more for your kind and supportive words. 🙂
Yes, yes, and so much yes. Thank you for sharing these tips, Marko. It took 6 years for me to finally realize just how toxic of a situation I was in with my friends. I kept making excuses for them in my mind, blaming myself for not trying harder for them, and shutting down whenever they would verbally attack or criticize me. It was quite difficult for me to walk away, wanting so much to share the good qualities I enjoyed about them and hoping that things would get better. However, I now know that I only have control over myself and my own actions. I have since disconnected from these friendships and work on fostering positive relationships. As a beloved mentor once told me, “Spend more time focusing on the things you want in your life rather than those you do not.” My standards for friendships are higher now because I believe in being authentic to both sides. And I am much much better for it. You are absolutely right. If you remove yourself from these toxic friendships, you will make space for the true and caring friends to enter your life. xo
You are so welcome, Naomi! 🙂 Your mentor told you some wise words, and I am glad you feel better now. 🙂
This article came at the right time 🙂 I just ended a toxic friendship…. well even worse, it was with my best friend. It took me 8 years to finally understand how toxic the friendship was for me.
Your article is point on for many things.
But the difficulty with having a friendship with a toxic person is more that they like to find a way to make you feel guilty for ending things.
And even so, if you’re an INFJ they tend to accuse you for their own mistakes. I wonder if that is because we are something like a mirror, or if it’s because we are so empathic or as we are certain chameleons?
Yeah well, from now on I’ll get respect from other people, and I’ll not get into another friendship like this again. I don’t feel lonely anymore, cause I found three other INFJ’s and we quickly formed a strong bond. They atleast undertand me :p
I’m so sorry that happened Elien, but I am glad you created these new bonds! I’m glad my article came to you when you needed it. 🙂
Thank you, Marco. What’s interesting is also how INFJ’s feel obligated to stay in toxic situations with professionals, like a therapist or a coach . It’s difficult to explain to others why I felt like I had to stay loyal to a professional, who wasn’t good for me.
It’s not always easy to walk away.
You are most welcome. 🙂 It’s definitely not easy to walk away, I agree. It’s because we want to save everyone, but by trying to do that, we meet people who are toxic and would use that against us…
That’s insightful. I felt obligated to “take care” of the professionals that I worked with, because they would dump their problems on me. I felt like I had to help them out financially by being their client. It sounds so weird.
Thanks again for the article.
I always feel sorry for being me, and for not being able to understand my own self. And worst i always fail to love myself. I live with toxic people and that’s a struggle, i know. Thing is, it’s always a requirement for them for me to say anything to them ALL the time. Like I’m always obliged to say “hi” to them, I don’t know, things I don’t normally do. It’s very difficult for me, i tried to be socially attached with them, pretending not me. There are times when I couldn’t take away my introverted attitude, and they misinterpreted me being that way. They told me it’s bad because it will let them think I don’t like them. I don’t know what to do. Until someone make stories about me against to my other roommate, it’s kinda suck because I always end up being sorry for myself, i can’t even express how angry i am to them, and how frustrated i am to myself. I don’t know what to do here. It’s like, they’re telling me to separate myself to my true self to be a better person to them. I don’t know. I think i need help or something. There’s no one in this house who can fully understand me, neither I.
I am so sorry you in this kind of environment Nick. I had something similar in the past… In case no one told you this today, you are important, you matter, and you are enough.
Hi Nick, that sucks. I do not know if i am an INFJ or not, but it is indeed difficult to interact with toxic people. My family is kind of Ocd and are very attached to their belongings. And externally I always come across shitty selfish people that just want to latch on. Still, it is possible to distance from them, mentally at least.
maybe u could try Cbt, cognitive behaviour and mindfulness, these have been useful tools. U need to try to be assertive – watch more cesar millan 😉 His attitude and positivity is not just to dogs lol . Does not mean have to raise our voice, but let them know the boundaries. I’ve come a long way from being a withdrawing person
Ah i did a test, Im INFP haha kind of different
No worries Fenris, INFP and the INFJ personality types are really similar. 🙂 Glad you did the test!
For what it’s worth, I’ve found that ending the toxic relationships has gotten easier with time. Because as an INFJ, I have plenty of experience with this scenario, ha! Beyond that, I trust myself more fully and deeply now, and my boundaries are super present. (More benefits of time’s passage). This all means the odds of me getting into a toxic relationship again seem fairly low. Thanks for this article, Marko. It’s nice to feel less alone in our unique experiences with these dramas.
Thank you so much for sharing this BeaTea! You are so welcome, you are not alone. 🙂