How to Help a Friend in a Toxic Relationship

30 Jun
Minaish Dhabhar

We've all been faced with a situation where a friend just isn't in the right relationship. He or she may or may not realise that, and sometimes when they do, they continue to run back into things anyway. It can get a little frustrating again and again. What's the best way to help them and genuinely make a difference?

Responses 9

  • Shivangi Srivastava
    Shivangi Srivastava   Jul 03, 2017 10:48 PM

    Hi there,

     I hope you’re doing well. Yes, I agree that we all have faced a situation where a friend isn’t in the healthy or right relationship. Being in a relationship can be very complicated at times. People don’t realize what’s right and what’s not because the majority of the times they’re blinded by love. Many often ignore all the warnings and bits of advice from others because the fact that they’re in a relationship with somebody and are not alone is very satisfying and probably is all they seek. We as human beings always seek mental, emotional and physical comfort, in most of the cases when we do get it, we tend to hesitate when it comes to accepting the fact that the relationship isn’t probably healthy and can cause emotional, mental and even physical damages in the longer run. The fear of being left alone or not being wanted causes people to run back into the same toxic or unhealthy relationships again and again.  I know how frustrating it gets to see our friend this way. Here are a few ways in which you can try and help your friend-

    1. I know you must have tried talking to your friend earlier also, but it is important to have a proper communication. You should listen to everything that they have to say, and then later put your points forward in order to make them understand the other various possibilities which she/he might be ignoring, intentionally or not.
    2. It is important to tell your friend that in a relationship, there are two people who together make adjustments. A relationship isn’t one sided. Therefore, ask your friend and make him/her realize if he/she is the only person in the relationship who is making adjustments and compromises.
    3. One’s own self-respect and dignity are very important, in fact, it is the essential thing. Ask your friend, if s/he has to compromise any of those in his/her relationship. If yes, then tell him/her how important it is to get out of such unhealthy relationship.
    4. If your friend is afraid of being single, unwanted or something of the similar sort, make her understand that s/he is not alone and will never be. Life is a long journey and is full of opportunities to meet someone in life in order to settle down with. One bad experience doesn’t mean that it is the end of the world.

    Being with someone affects in many different ways. Let your relationship be a happy and healthy one. The one that helps you evolve as an individual and makes you happy and proud. I hope this helps, take care. Have a happy day!

  • Rinkle Jain
    Rinkle Jain   Jul 02, 2017 12:34 PM

    Hey there,

    The standards of relationships have changed a lot today. It has became more of s necessity than a luxury. We all want to have that one person who we can brag about irrespective of the way we are treated by them. It's not that we all have relationships for the sake of it, many do find true love. But most of the time we are so hell bent on beliving that our partner is the one, we ignore all the signs of toxicity in the relationship to the extent that we do not even listen to our close ones who would never lie to us. The fear of losing our partner scares us so much that we are ready to hold on to explanantion that is given to us and we often rationalize the stupidest excuse. The main reason why most of the teenagers today indulge in toxic relationships is their insecurity with the self and their need for love and attention and of course the social trend and the need to conform. We have such low self esteem that we need to someone no matter how they treat us. The best way to get a friend out of toxic relationship is by being there for him/her. It takes a lot of time but it is effective. You need to make the friend realise that she/he deserves so much better and that they can just do fine without a romantic interest in life. Honestly, until and unles the person realises that their partner is toxic for them, no one can help. All we can do is make them realise by increasing their self-esteem, making them feel secure, showing them that they deserve so much better. An act of courage could also do the trick. If for example, you are in a toxic relationship and you show the guts and end the relationship, your friend might just realise and do the same. You just need to make them feel that if they fall you are their to handle them. Getting angry and annoyed never works as it pushes them more to their partner and away from you. 

  • Priya Ratti
    Priya Ratti   Jul 01, 2017 10:05 PM


    Sometimes being the person who's watching one of your loved ones be a part of something that won't do him or her any good makes us very critical, and very judgemental all at once. Loving someone makes us want to look after them and ensure that they do not end up in a any situation that causes them pain or leaves them hurt. I completely understand your concern and your instinct to be protective over your friend.

    When people don't realize that they're in trouble, the simplest response is to tell them, confront them. Your job is limited in this scenario. All you must ensure is to voice all of your concerns to her, which I'm sure you have done, and let her decide for herself. We are a little powerless, in this way; we can't control the things that other people say or do. But we can try by offering our opinion and hoping that it would influence them into changing their decisions.

    Other than that, let her be. I know she's a close friend and you'll feel very frustrated, helpless even to see her hurt herself, as you predict she will. But that is how we learn, isn't it? Sometimes we have to fall to realize how hard the floor is. So try to give her your viewpoint, but when she does not accept it, let her exercise her own will and learn her own lessons.

  • Priya Ratti
    Priya Ratti   Jul 01, 2017 09:53 PM



  • Aishwarya K
    Aishwarya K   Jul 01, 2017 12:27 AM

    Well, firstly, how can you be sure that they are not in the right relationship? I think it’s important to know the views and perspective of each partner in the relationship before we reach to any conclusion. People tend to distort various events, conversations and ideas in their mind based on their own mindsets, past experiences and reasoning. So it’s important that you know each side first before you, as an outsider, decide that the relationship is not right for them.

    Every relationship has its own problems and concerns but simply ending the relationship is not the only solution! Maybe things can get better between the couple. As a friend, you should first try to understand the problems that they are facing. If there is a misunderstanding, try to make things clearer between the couple. People always make mistakes that they regret later and I think all of us should at least try to make these people realize their mistakes so that they can become better people. We can give them a second chance, and I don’t mean multiple second chances, just one, or maybe two. Especially in the case of relationships, if one really loves and cares about the person, forgiveness is a favorable characteristic to have. If they don’t even learn after that, then it would make sense to leave them if it hurts their own personal happiness.

    I believe unless and until there is abuse, disrespect, complete disregard, or if there is no love, the first response should not be to end the relationship.

  • Shriya Naidu
    Shriya Naidu   Jun 30, 2017 11:03 PM


    Thank you for your question. Making a friend understand that s/he is in a toxic relationship is a pretty difficult task because the only reason why they haven’t moved out of it is because they are still blinded by love.

    Let’s look at the things that you can point out to your friend. You can start by asking her why she started seeing that person in the first place. Try to make her realise than people fall in love because they’re happy with another person and they like them too much to stay away. Most people when get into a relationship forget that it’s a relationship. Not marriage. They don’t have to try extremely hard to work it out. If it isn’t working out it’s fine. You made good memories of time spent together but now you have problems staying together so you may part ways. Most people who continue staying in toxic relationships stay because either they have forgotten that they have the choice to walk away or they are too scared to walk away because they don’t know what they will do without this relationship since it have basically been their whole life.

    As a friend it would be your duty to make your friend understand why the relationship is toxic and let your friend introspect to find out if s/he is happy with staying in it or not. If s/he says s/he isn’t happy then you can move on to helping him/her break up with his/her partner. Also, you should be there with your friend when they feel lonely as there will be a void to fill after their break up.

    You should make your friend aware of the possibilities of being single for a while that s/he may get a better partner sooner or later if s/he so desires.

    All the best!

    I wish your friend luck

  • Shruti Gupta Dehradun
    Shruti Gupta Dehradun   Jun 30, 2017 08:29 PM


    Love is a beautiful emotion and for it to blossom in a relationship it is important to make some adjustments but if these adjustments are just made by one person then it is a problem. Therefore, the first thing that one needs to see in a relationship is the level of involvement each has in it. By involvement I mean that if it is only one person who is making all the attempts to make the relationship work and the other is only expecting from you then it is not working well. If your friend's compromises are not being appreciated by the other in the relationship then she needs to understand that he is not the right one her. Another point that she needs to understand is that if her loved one is too overpossesive and wants to control the people she meets then he does not trust her completely and where there is no trust that relationship has no meaning. There is no need to be in a relationship where only one is taking steps and the other is not concerned. You as her friend, need to make her understand that there is no one who has the right to manipulate or control her. She has to realize her individuality and has to take steps to protect it. She should not let anyone ruin her personality just because she loves him. I hope your friend understands that she deserves much better and ends her relationship or at least makes her loved one realize that he cannot take her for granted. All the best.

  • Sameeksha Pavaskar
    Sameeksha Pavaskar   Jun 30, 2017 07:19 PM


      As they say love makes you blind and sometimes it becomes difficult to actually remove the tape of invalid trust and look beyond that and the best friend is one who tells you the truth even when it is the harsh reality.First of all,you need to understand the situation of your friend why is she actually running back into the things.Is it just love or there are other reasons governing the problem like low self-esteem or self confidence etc.You need to first understand the situation and then react as this won't harm your relationship.You can try out the following ways to deal with the problem:-

    • Try to make her understand how the things are affecting her.
    • Make her understand what should be the base of  a healthy relationship.
    • Make her realize that she has a good support system in life.

     As they say freedom and independence must govern each individual's life.You cannot force your friend to get out of it.You can definitely try but after a point you need to believe that we all have the right to take our own decisions and learn from our mistakes.If you are getting frustrated in front of her it can even harm your relationship.You can try but if it doesn't work,you need to belief that time can change things some day.


    SAKSHI BAJAJ   Jun 30, 2017 06:04 PM


    It's good to see that you genuinely care for your friend and their happiness. We all often end up in toxic or abusive relationships and we don't realise that before we're too deep in it. People often forget that respect and dignity are more important than love. They are blinded by their emotions and don't underatnd when another person is destroying them emotionally or in other unfortunate cases, physically. We have all seen how girls get bossed around by their over-possessive boyfriends and think that it's true love that is making him do this. This can be the other way round too. Men also go through this sort of abuse. I'm just talking from real experiences that i have had. You need to make your friend realise that no one, absolutely no one holds any sort of power upon them and can control them in the name of love. It is your duty as a friend to make him/her realise that they are better than this person who has no regard for their feelings. Tell your friend to be her own person. To respect and love herself enough so that other people also do the same. People often go back into such relationships because they think they can't live without the other person anymore. This comes from a place of insecurities and no confidence in one self. Help your friend believe that she doesn't need anyone for her happiness and that the only person she needs to love the most, is her. I believe you can help her understand her worth. People just need love and support to get through things. Make sure to do your part. Hope this helps. Take care.