Unfortunately at various times in life I have had friends that I discovered were  subtly toxic. These "friends" can come in the roles of coworker, church relationship, family member, client, or others.

These relationships don't directly or immediately appear toxic, but their disease creeps in to find access to your psyche or the psyche of others. If you have not encountered these types of "friends" at some place or another, you likely will. In order to preserve peace and well, have fewer issues in my life, I have found the following detoxifying methods for these 5 Subtly Toxic Friends:

1. Vampire--This friend sucks on your positive energy. They are usually very if not overly friendly on appearance and within groups they are often popular. As you interact with the vampire, you leave and are uncertain exactly what happened because you are exhausted and drained. Because the vampire is popular, they may have a social minion or two they are sucking from, though the vampire has no real close friends and her inner circle mostly consists of colleagues--people who are forced to interact with them. You may find the vampire working with another vampire sucking out of each other as they work together to suck it out of you!

The Detox: The best way to purify your life of the vampire is to give your best self to your best friends only, the vampire won't be interested in sucking the matter-of-fact out of you.

2. Gossip--The gossip has many forms, see my post on The 3 Gossip Games in Church and How To Sit Out.  Nobody wants a gossip as a friend and the subtly toxic gossip can be worse because they are not necessarily consistent or predictable. This gossip usually strikes when she has an agenda such as establishing rapport with a boss or social leader, or fixing a problem (you). This agenda typically justifies their gossiping, at least in their mind (remember they're only trying to "help" you). The subtle gossip may likely have access to your most personal information which can be especially toxic.

The Detox: If you have been struck by a subtle toxic gossip, I seriously recommend not sharing vulnerabilities or personal information with her unless you're willing to put it out on the internet. Consider yourself warned!

3. Control Freak--Nurse Ratchet and Church Lady are the blatant Control Freaks. The subtle control freak usually, like the subtle gossip, has an agenda to control her particular dominion. This person becomes toxic as she typically forces solutions on problems which ironically create new problems. You can identify a Control Freak by a long history of fractured relationships (which are of course the other person's fault for not meeting their standards of control).

The Detox: Purifying your life of the subtle control freak requires deciding exactly where and how flexible you will be to meet her standards. Once you are absolutely sure, be firm with your boundaries and do NOT explain yourself even though you may be added to her list of fractured relationships...

4. Complainer--The subtle complainer is typically a great critical thinker and often sarcastic. You won't get a soliloquy or complain-a-thon from this friend, however their negative perspective over time is truly toxic if they are in regular contact.The subtle complainer doesn't look down to appreciate the grass under their feet and instead is looking for or at the greener grass. At the root of the complainer is an entitlement that they should have better.

The Detox: Keep the subtle complainer out of your inner circle of friends and interact with this person in larger groups only. Remember, when you are finding your glass half empty, the empty glass is full of air.

5. Midas--Midas is interested in gaining social or financial status. A subtle Midas may cause you to overspend as you are coerced to eat at restaurants out of your budget or feel impelled to "keep up with the Jones's". The subtle Midas can lead you to feel you do not have enough or even into jealously.

The Detox:  Decide upon your allowance and read Proverbs 23:1-3. If your friend can't adjust to accommodate your budget, you may want to find a new dinner buddy.

The friend you want is one who you can be natural and unguarded with. To avoid becoming a subtly toxic friend, remember it's necessary to allow others to be their true and authentic selves, especially when their views differ from your own. Often we are unable to hand a "friend" a pink slip due to the complexity of the relationship, however firm and appropriate boundaries can do the detox you need.

Tara Galles

Tara is the founder of YOGATHEA® inspiring others to "Breathe the Peace Which Transcends All Understanding - Mind + Body + Spirit” through Christian Yoga + Meditation DVDs, CDsInstructor Training Program, and Women's RetreatsTara currently resides in Kokomo, Indiana with her husband and 4 children where she practices Occupational Therapy and has made peace with the snow.