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Building Healthier Relationships Part 1: Identifying Toxic Relationships

It’s really important to spend time with people who are positive influences in your life. Although the Bible tells us to love everyone, God also warns us to not spend a lot of time in the counsel of the ungodly. Psalms 1:1 says “Blessed are those who do not walk in step with the wicked.” The first step in building Godly relationships is avoiding toxic ones.

The first step in cultivating healthy relationships is learning how to identify the ones that are NOT very healthy for you. Whether it’s an abusive boyfriend or a frenemy, it’s really important to detoxify your relationships. So let’s take a minute to explore signs that signifies that a relationship may be unhealthy or toxic:

A relationship is affecting your emotions negatively. God is a God of peace. In fact, He desires for you to live in peace so much that Jesus left behind The Holy Spirit as a comforter. If a relationship is constantly leaving you with a spirit of unrest, anger, despair, fear, hurt, or any other negative emotion, then it may be a sign that the relationship is unhealthy.

Your behavior is being negatively influenced. Peer pressure is very real and at times it’s difficult to resist the influence of those closest to you. This is why it’s so important to to keep yourself surrounded by peers who share your values. If you find that someone is frequently tempting you to do ungodly things, then the relationship is probably unhealthy. Similarly, if you find that you behave in ways that are out of your character when you’re in the presence of a particular person(s), then this is a sign that the relationship may be toxic.

Your health is being jeopardized. If you find that you’re in a relationship that is having a negative impact on your health, then this relationship is toxic for you. Do you feel so stressed out that you feel sick? Are you using unhealthy weight loss practices or allowing yourself to engage in reckless behavior that could affect your health over time, like drinking, using drugs or having sex? Being healthy is important and any relationship that interferes with your health is toxic!

Ladies, if something feels bad, often times it’s because it IS bad. Holding on to unhealthy relationships will only hurt you in the end. Take some time to identify the toxic relationships in your life so that you can begin to detoxify and move forward with healthier relationships. Check back for my next post that explores how to remove toxic relationships from your life.

Image: Bananastock | Thinkstock


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  1. Project Inspired

    Posted by on June 25, 2012 at 12:48

    Mine and my dad’s relationship is almost nonexistent, which is probably a good thing, bcuz he negatively influences me anyway.

  2. Posted by on November 2, 2011 at 18:29

    My best friend is this way.She talks behind my back all the time and i don’t understand what I did wrong. She also makes rude comments about how I’m not a good friend. Every time I try to pull away from her, she gets angry. She reminds me that I was her only friend in middle school so I’d better not leave her. I’m praying for her, but for now I am letting her go.

  3. Posted by on September 19, 2011 at 14:25

    I went through a situation like this during the past couple years. I thought these two girls were my best friends but they were just using me to get more popular and make all my other friends turn on me. They were jealous of me for some reason and they had been for about eight months before I found out about it (The only reason I found out was because of a game of Truth or Dare. Immature, right?) They’re still trying to make my life miserable and sometimes it still hurts… a lot. But I know I have a lot of friends that are way better than they ever were/would’ve been.

  4. Posted by on September 5, 2011 at 16:21

    My mom told me the hurting hurt. Which is true. My best friend she hates to be good when I love it cause it pleases God. She seems to be pushing every Christian good thing away including God and living for the world. She makes fun of me for doing good and sometimes shes just flat out mean I want to be friends with her cause we do have fun times but it just hurts sometimes. Is this unhealthy?

    • Posted by Nicole on September 8, 2011 at 13:17

      I would remove her from your friendship.. it sounds like she’s bringing you down. You need friends that LIFT you up!!

  5. Posted by on September 1, 2011 at 23:24

    that was about me i was holed on to a unheathy relationship with my ex but i realize that it was hurtin me not him he moved on first nd i didnt nd i was hurtin more then him nd that was not heathy for me at all..

  6. Posted by on September 1, 2011 at 07:21

    But what if your parents are the ones being toxic about God? What should you do then? My parents really don’t respect that I try to be close to God and to Mary! Please post on article about this, I really need help! 🙂 -Monica

  7. Posted by on August 24, 2011 at 15:37

    this was definitely something I needed to hear. one of my friends is VERY… well, heathenly, I guess you could say. she’s a “Christian” (notice the air quotes) but claims she doesn’t have the self control to watch her language and what she talks about in school(like the really innappropriate stuff), but she does it perfectly fine when we go to youth every Wednesday. and I’m trying to be a good influence to her, but I can tell she’s definitely annoyed by it. she’s coming less and less and always making excuses, but I don’t think she notices that I notice, but if she does, then she obviously doesn’t care. it irritates me to the BONE that she’s acting the way she is, and she’s not only lying and being disrespectful to God, but she’s hurting my feelings in the process because she does it so OPENLY. it’s definitely one of my pet peeves, and I’m around her all the time because she’s all clingy, but she’s always annoyed with me, which I honestly have no idea how she can do both at the same time, but that’s a different subject. I just don’t know what to do anymore. it’s very stressful. :/

  8. Posted by on August 18, 2011 at 18:13

    I think i could call my relationship with my dad toxic. My parents divorced when i was 2, so ive lived with my mom all my life. We both accepted Christ later on, but my dad is not a believer. It makes it really hard to relate to him. I really wish i didnt feel so cut off from him. When he tries to give me moral advice, I just feel like i cant really trust what he says. I also only see him a couple weeks out of the year. I know its technically not my fault he moved away, but i feel like im obligated to go visit him every time he asks, even though i have my own stuff going on. I pray about it a lot & i try to just enjoy my time with him.

    btw, THANK YOU so much for reading and responding to all our posts! im thinking about writing an article for the girls who are in similar situation with divorced parents. 🙂 hopefully i will get to it this weekend

  9. Posted by on August 18, 2011 at 16:30

    I need some advice Nicole. This guy I know really, REALLY, likes me. Only problem is, I’m not allowed to date and he knows I don’t feel the same about him. He kind of…follows me, I suppose you could call it. I’m not sure what to do. Can you help? P.S. I’m 15

    • Posted by Nicole on August 18, 2011 at 22:05

      I would politely tell him that you aren’t allowed to date, so tell him to move on. (but nicely!) 🙂 I’m sorry I hope this helps!

      • Posted by on August 25, 2011 at 01:14

        i think also being a christian and having a deep touch and relationship with God first has a big thing to do with relationships. he has to love God more than you and vice versa it sounds hard but he will find a man for all of us it has to be done in the will of God or there will sadly be conciquences

  10. Posted by on August 16, 2011 at 14:45

    U know I’ve been having bad feelings about my boyfriend but my mom thinks I shouldn’t. I fid him to be a Lil arrogant and rude because he seems to treat others (not me tho) with an ” it’s not my problem” sort of attitude. But then again he has good qualities like reading the bible day an listed ing to Christian music. Maybe I’m being too judgmental what should I do?

    • Posted by Nicole on August 18, 2011 at 11:39

      What does your heart say to do? That’s my best advice, and also you deserve the best so please don’t settle. Ever.

      • Posted by on August 18, 2011 at 16:22

        Truthfully my hearts saying I shouldn’t worry my life away and to let him go for now. You see my parents didn’t let me know in depth but they dont want me involved in a relationship at this time in my life. They want me to wait until I’m in college (2 years from now which isn’t too long of a wait) so that I don’t ruin my life with heartbreak. If I disobey I know the conflict would just make my life worse so I’ve decided to put him on hold.

  11. Posted by on August 16, 2011 at 12:27

    Thank you so much for this article! I just recently lost a friend. I had to distance myself from him, because, as you said, it not only made me uncomfortable, but I was always stressed, angry, hurt, or extremely upset after talking to him, and in person, he scared me. But he was a great guy. So, I recently let go of that friendship. My sister has been guilting me about it, but I felt that I did the right thing. Now I know I did. Your article reassured me in my decision. Thank you, and ladies, this is the truth; this article is so right! Thanks for the wisdom. 🙂

    • Posted by Nicole on August 16, 2011 at 13:09

      I’m so happy it helped you! And I am happy to hear you let go of your toxic friend!

  12. Posted by on August 16, 2011 at 12:14

    I have a boyfriend who I truly do care about.. We have been on again off again and he seems to get upset alot…especially with me for even talking to other guys just as friends… I am sometimes afraid to tell him things but i feel like it is the best thing to do if i need to let something known.. I told him i would never break up with him but i cant see so much of a bright future with him.. I felt soo much closer to God when we were apart and now i dont seem so close to Him…. what should i do?

    • Posted by Nicole on August 16, 2011 at 13:10

      In my honest opinion, I would break up with him. Even though you may care for him, maybe it’s more of him as a person than a romantic partner for you. If your heart is telling you to let go of him, that is God whispering to you through your heart. Pray about it and ask God to give you strength in helping you make the right decision.

      • Posted by on August 17, 2011 at 12:03

        Thanks so much Nicole(: I gained the courage to end it and I immediately felt so much better(: I know God will reassure I made the right decision and the right one for me will come when I AM READY!(:

      • Posted by Nicole on August 18, 2011 at 11:35

        you’re welcome! 🙂

      • Posted by on August 16, 2011 at 14:09

        Wow right after i sent that message to your reply he messaged me back..Cross my fingers and hope for the best(: Thanks for helping all of us girls Nicole(: Your such an amazing person<3

      • Posted by Nicole on August 16, 2011 at 14:35

        I am praying right now or you that it goes well and is in God’s hands!!

      • Posted by on August 16, 2011 at 13:57

        Thank you soo much!!! I feel terrible now cuz it seemed to have pushed me away from someone who actually appeared to care about me!!:/ I pray at night to God that I can make the right decision and this morning I shared something with him but he never messaged back so as soon as I can speak with him I will figure out where to go from there(: Thank you sooo much I really appreciate your opinion(:

  13. Posted by on August 15, 2011 at 21:51

    Thank you for this article! I sometimes have trouble identifying and then letting go of toxic relationships. It’s so hard to tell whether you can actually help the person, or if they will begin to bring you down!

  14. Posted by on August 15, 2011 at 21:13

    This really doesn’t have anything to do with this but I like this guy but he is too old for me by 4 years but he is a really good christian. I don’t know why I like older guys

    • Posted by on August 22, 2011 at 19:14

      Omigoodness I know EXACTLY how you feel. I used to have a HUGE crush on a guy that was WAYYYY too old for me and it made me soooooo sad and depressed! I wish I had this article when I was in that situation. You are blessed. I’m soooooo glad you could read this article. The best advice I have for you is to talk to God A LOT and pray for him to guide you. Just pray for God to lead your man into your life.

    • Posted by Nicole on August 16, 2011 at 13:46

      how old are you? You sound young, and when you’re a teenager 4 years is a BIG difference. Can you be friends with him first to find out more about him?

      • Posted by on August 17, 2011 at 16:13

        Take it from me- it’s good that you like older guys. It means you recognize that you want a mature man. So many boys in high school act less mature than their age because women physically and emotionally develop faster (ask any psychologist, we have it made.) However; four years really is a huge difference in high school. But if you would like to date a guy who is older than you, try to stick to only a year until you are in college. Men and women aren’t emotionally equal until they are about 25, and even then you’re pushing it. It will get difficult for you if you try to date someone quite older, especially in high school. He sounds like a good man, so I can presume that if you did go out (which you shouldn’t) you would have a long relationship, but the transition to high school and college severely changes people for better or for worse. It is easier to deal with others going through that transition when you yourself are not that far behind.
        Also, you may want to consider- why is he so interested in someone so much younger than him? Is he really immature for his age? Do you think he may see you as vulnerable? Even if his intentions are or appear to be noble, in all cases, not just older men- be careful, and watch out for any signs that they could potentially be harmful to you. If you’re friends know him and they think it’s weird, listen to them. They can see more than you can because they aren’t blinded by love. Don’t be afraid to say no to anyone about anything. Know who you are. Know what you stand for. Let people change you- but only for the better. If you stay true to that, that’s all that matters. God bless you and help you do whatever your heart believes is right.

      • Posted by on August 16, 2011 at 16:28

        If you’re a teen, then 4 years is a big difference, TOO big of a difference. If he’s a good Christian, then he shouldn’t do anything to harm your innocence. If you stay in contact, learn more about him, etc. then when you’re an adult, the age difference should not matter as much (And i dont mean adult as in 18. mid 20s maybe) and if you still want a relationship, then you can worry about it. for right now, just pray and grow in your own faith as well

  15. Posted by on August 15, 2011 at 20:12

    This is a really good article, but unfortunately I have a pretty “toxic” relationship with my older sister. She is 16 years older than me, and I just met her a year ago. I’m such at a loss on what to do because she’s my biological sister, I mean, I can’t just let go of our relationship- we are family. Any advice??

    • Posted by Nicole on August 16, 2011 at 13:50

      that’s a hard one. How is it toxic? Can you try finding more about her, like why she is the way she is. Maybe she had a tough upbringing and is very sensitive and can be mean at times. Figure out what her character is like and why it is what it is, and then you can better understand her. I hope this helps!

      • Posted by on August 16, 2011 at 15:13

        Thank you Nicole,that is such good advice. I will try my hardest to gain more perspective on this situation. Has anyone told you lately that you’re awesome?

      • Posted by Nicole on August 18, 2011 at 11:38

        you are so sweet!! thank you Kala!

  16. Posted by on August 15, 2011 at 19:56

    I’ve been in toxic relationships, I ended some but there are still a few that i’m not sure of, hopefully this will help 🙂

  17. Posted by ParisHolt on August 15, 2011 at 18:31

    Love this article. I know a lot of girls go through this,so I pray that this will help them realize if their relationship is toxic.

  18. Posted by on August 15, 2011 at 18:19

    Well, we all know Nicole can build healthy relationships considering she’s engaged!!!! Congratulations, Nicole 🙂

    Thanks for this article 🙂

    • Posted by Nicole on August 16, 2011 at 13:52

      thank you so much Juliana for your sweet words! It means a lot to me 🙂 you will find the right one too!!