I'll try to make this as short and clear as possible.


I've known this person for about 8 years but I wasn't as mature and perceptive when I first met him as I am now.

We used to talk, play video games and hang out a lot, I stopped talking to him around 2 years ago because he was really mean to me and said something hurtful. During the next year every time he talked to me I just responded in a polite way but didn't make much conversation.

I don't remember exactly how this happened but I explained to him why I had stopped talking to him and we had some serious conversation where he said that he was sorry and that he had been visiting a psychologist because he sometimes does and says things that hurt people without noticing (that's what he said.) I explained to him that we were not friends anymore, at least not as much as we used to and that if he wanted us to be friends again he had to show me that he was actually different.

Now we talk from time to time, we've played video games together again and that sort of stuff. The thing is, I've noticed plenty of his old behaviors and I don't think he's changed at all.

My goal

I want to give him sort of an ultimatum where I point at his bad habits and make him notice that if he doesn't change he is not going to ruin only our friendship but probably the ones he still has.

Plan B

If he doesn't change I want to cut off any relationship with him completely. I know this is going to hurt him because many others friends have left him before me and I'm one of the remaining few he still has, so I want to make him the easiest way for both of us.

Things that make me tag him as toxic and I'd like him to notice:

  • 8 of 10 times he talks to me he wants something from me. And if I don't give him what he wants he gets mad and says things like "you really gonna let me down?" or "all right you ass".
  • He believes he is always right, it's imposible to change his mind, he won't accept other opinions as valid, he will call you and your opinion stupid and won't shut up until you "accept" he is right.
  • I noticed I had never heard anything good about him from anyone, not even once. Not from professors, not from friends, not from my family members that have met him. And whenever I hear someone talk about him they refer to him as annoying and don't want him around.
  • He makes fun of others and makes less of them, their opinions (as I said), achievements, jobs, anything. Also he gets mad if someone makes a joke about him. One time he got really mad because someone called him humble in a sarcastic way and everyone laughed.
  • I don't want to bring him along with other friends because I'm scared they will blame me for bringing him if he does/says something bad and I won't be able to be in anyone's side.

Any advice will be highly appreciated.

Note: As I expected I received answers saying that changing his behavior is not on me, that is true and I know it. Please notice that I'm not asking how to change him but how to make him realize he is toxic and that toxicity will not do him any good and he has to change for his own sake.

2 Answers 2


I agree with the other answers that changing his behavior is extremely difficult and probably beyond your power.

The underlying principle of this problem is your friends positive reinforcement of his own bad behavior.

  • Being right feels good, being wrong feels bad. So he twists everything until he is right.
  • Being strong and superior feels good, being weak or inferior feels bad. He uses every chance to ridicule other people because it makes him seem superior and thereby feel good.
  • Getting his way when he asks something from you feels good, your decline makes him feel bad. He tries to manipulate you to get his way and insults you if he can't (so you feel at least as bad as he does).
  • I'd wager he is a terrible loser to the point of becomming aggressive whenever he cannot twist his current situation into any positive outcome.

This is important to understand, because giving him an ultimatum like "Change into a better person until X or else..." will not work as long as he feels good beeing a toxic person. You should also consider there being some psychological problem that makes it hard for him to see and evaluate his behavior.

The only way to change him I see is to twist the results of his toxic behavior from something that feels positive to him to something negative. Possible ways to do that:

  • Don't let yourself be manipulated to give in. If he askes something of you that you don't want to give, tell him in no uncertain terms that you refuse and why. Don't give in.
  • Tell him immediately and bluntly whenever he acts toxicly. If he is in psychological treatment, he might have enough of a conciense to stop his behavior.
  • If possible, offer him positive alternatives. Tell him "Instead of (toxic behavior) you should rather (positive behavior). People are more likely to agree with you / like you / give you what you what."
  • Don't give him positive results for bad behavior. If he ridicules others, tell him that you will not tolerate it and leave the conversation, leave him alone, make him see negative consequences.
  • If he won't stop discussions until "he is right", stop the discussion yourself. State clearly that he cannot convince you and that you will not discuss the matter any longer. Try to change the subject and repeat "I will not discuss this any longer" until he stops. Don't give in, don't give even one more argument after this point or he will drag you back into the discussion.

And at the same time, remember that it might be impossible to change him. If he becomes aggressive, stop your efforts and cut him off.


It's really difficult to get people to change their behavior, especially if there's been a long pattern of toxicity. You have more control on your reaction to this behavior.

One thing that stuck out to me was :

He believes he is always right, it's impossible to change his mind, he won't accept other opinions as valid, he will call you and your opinion stupid and won't shut up until you "accept" he is right.

You mentioned how you wanted to provide him details on his behavior and provide him an ultimatum, and to show him that his actions are causing strain on the friendship. But according to your description, this may be a fruitless effort. If he is causing an emotional toll on you and your friendship, it may be beneficial to you to place the friendship on temporary/permanent hiatus. Ideally, this will really get the point across that his behavior is unacceptable, but given your friendship's previous break, his inability/possible unwillingness to change may prevent this friendship from continuing.

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