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Toxic Friend Influence

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You can tell he's thinking of doing it too.

Regine: Why would you do that?
Sinclare: Because I feel guilty.
Maxine: Guilt is a trick emotion. It's put there by your parents to stop you from doing things that feel good.

A lot of times in media and in Real Life there's a friend (or a group of friends), a very good friend whom you may have known since you were kids. But there's one small flaw within the friendship. The friend in question always gets you into serious trouble. It's usually stuff like trying to get you to break curfew, violate your parole, drink underage and do drugs. The toxic friend will guilt-trip you for not going along with what they want and accusing you of "changing." They'll say things like "Man, you've changed. You used to be cool!", or "Come on, it'll be fun!" And of course, all of the above will almost certainly lead to serious consequences. This is almost the 2000's variant of The Aggressive Drug Dealer.

More often than not these characters are usually plot devices for the protagonist to get into a horrible situation for the purposes of an Aesop. Under normal circumstances, the protagonist in question is usually a rational thinker when not around these types of friends. But when they hang around them they become ridiculously impressionable and naive and easily misled. The friend could be generally well-intentioned and benevolent, but still not a good friend in the greater scheme of things. Also expect these friends to be from the Wrong Side of the Tracks, while the protagonist usually has a squeaky-clean square background (though not always). If they're malicious, they may try to cut off their new friend from old ones because "They Were Holding You Back." If the friend is female, expect her to be troubled and possibly promiscuous.


The toxic friend could also possibly be a passive-aggressive Et Tu, Brute? and saboteur, like a crabs-in-a-barrel kind of thing. Can be a comedic trope but more often than not it has darker implications. It's also possible for the Toxic Friend to be a significant other as well. Oh, and expect the Toxic Friend to have a very low mortality rate. In a darker sense, serial killers can be Toxic as well by turning their friends, family, and lovers into accomplices.

Sensei for Scoundrels is this trope applied to the student/mentor relationship. See also Peer Pressure Makes You Evil. May also overlap with Femme Fatale.

See also Poisonous Friend, who is just as toxic without influencing anyone to be like them, and The Corrupter, who has a different kind of bad influence. Contrast Staging an Intervention. The Morality Pet and Morality Chain could be considered the inverse of this trope; their influence could serve as a counter to the Toxic Friend Influence and in fact, influence their troublemaking friend to become a better person. Positive Friend Influence is the polar opposite of this trope.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Fate/Zero, Gilgamesh is this to Kirei. He helps Kirei discover what brings him joy in life, which seems harmless until you realize that Kirei's joy involves the suffering of others.
  • In Death Note, Light Yagami is this to his girlfriend Misa; being a psychotic Serial-Killer Killer, he wins her allegiance by killing her parents' murderer and quickly turns her into a cruder, deadlier version of himself. Not that she minds, or that she wasn't more than a little unhinged to begin with.
  • The narrator of The Tatami Galaxy sees his best friend Ozu this way. Turned on its head at the end of the story when we find out that Ozu feels the same way about him.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, nearly every bad decision made by Garma Zabi, from launching an insurrection to his fatal obsession with the White Base, was made with Char Aznable pushing his buttons. In particular, Garma had a deep need to prove himself worthy of the Zabi name, to step out from his siblings' shadow and show that his rank is not simply due to nepotism, and Char exploits this every chance he gets.
  • In Fairy Tail, Erza essentially accuses Kagura of being this for their mutual friend Millianna, saying that since Millianna has finally started to live on her own after many years of being enslaved at the Tower of Heaven, and several more of being manipulated into working for Jellal, Erza doesn't want her caught up in Kagura's plan to get revenge on Jellal for killing Simon (Kagura's brother and Erza and Millianna's friend). Kagura angrily replies that it's something Millianna chose for herself.
  • Rei Hino from Sailor Moon occasionally has the tendency to encourage the other Guardians (particularly Ami) to pick on Usagi. This is even more prevalent in the DiC dub.

    Comic Books 
  • Cheshire does this a lot to Roy Harper, mainly because she's the mother of his child. Roy has had a hard time getting over Cheshire, with the main factor being he doesn't want to make Lian watch her mom spend the rest of her life in jail, even though they both (Roy and Lian) know she deserves it for destroying the country of Qurac For the Evulz. Cheshire got even worse after Lian died in Justice League: Cry for Justice, whereby she eagerly takes advantage of Roy's mental deterioration to gang up on Deathstroke. Why? He shot her and made her look like an idiot.
  • Inferno, the teenage version of Sun Boy in Legionnaires, was an insufferable lech and a pig, and Live Wire often acted similarly whenever the two were together. Granted, Live Wire was already something of an ass himself, but he'd act even worse when Inferno was around. Their bullying of poor Cera Kesh is what made the girl easy prey for the Emerald Eye of Ekron.
  • Taken Up to Eleven with Harley Quinn. Her desire to make the Joker happy is the whole reason she helps in his evil plan of the week. Before she met him, she was a normal, decent girl.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series fanfic Heroes, Surak believes that some of Kirk's warrior tendencies have rubbed off on Spock.
  • In the Love Hina fanfic For His Own Sake, Seta realizes that thanks to the influence of the girls at the Hinata Inn, particularly how they always stopped and even abused Keitaro for trying to discipline her, his daughter Sara has become an uncontrollable brat who thinks everyone who tries to stop her from doing what she wants is an idiot who deserves punishment.
  • In the Worm x Dishonored crossover fanfic, A Change of Pace, Glory Girl's violent tendencies when it comes to dealing with crime are starting to rub off on Taylor, only she doesn't have any fighting experience to pull her punches or a healer like Amy. Tattletale points out that this is the sort of thing that Shadow Stalker got drafted into the Wards for.
    Tattletale: "Five concussions. Numerous broken bones. Not to mention all the complaints the police-department is having to field. There are also a ton of groups that would love to add you to their lists of examples why the government needs to crack down on independent capes."
  • Played for Laughs in My Huntsman Academia. Izuku hangs out with Yang so much that her Pungeon Master tendencies rub off on him, resulting in him punning without even meaning to. This gets taken to the extreme in one non-canon sidestory in which all of his friends sit him down for an intervention to get him to stop punning, but he won't even while Katsuki threatens to blast him to pieces.
  • Miraculous Ladybug fanfics:
    • Hero Chat: It's pointed out that Sabrina and Chloe were actually this for each other. Yes, Chloe treated Sabrina like a servant, but Sabrina was like that before she met Chloe—she believes that she only has worth when she's acting with complete, ridiculous selflessness, and actually gets mad if people won't let her do things for them. Combined with Chloe's domineering personality and they fed into each other, making both worse. As part of Chloe's redemption, she distances herself from Sabrina, because it's too easy to just start commanding her again. Sabrina, with distance from Chloe, begins to understand she has worth besides what she can do for other people. She eventually is offered the Dog Miraculous, and takes it for the somewhat selfish reason that she wants to protect what she cares about, rather than the stupidly selfless reason of just wanting to be helpful.
    • Marinette Dupain-Cheng's Spite Playlist plays this for laughs with Chloe, who really wants to rope Adrien and Marinette into 'taking the low road' when it comes to dealing with Lila. At the same time, this is treated more seriously with Lila herself, as her Poisonous Friendship with Alya gradually causes her to change dramatically over time.
    • Marinette wonders whether this is the case in The One to Make It Stay. While Alya was always driven and confident, she seems to have only gotten stubborner after Lila came back into the picture. She's also begun utilizing some of Lila's favorite tactics, such as Playing the Victim Card and falsifying evidence. Notably, it's somewhat unclear just how responsible Lila is for the growing tension between the two of them, or if Marinette is just getting a clearer look at Alya's issues as she's getting better at standing up for herself. Lila certainly isn't helping, but she's not necessarily completely at fault, either...
    • Alya's Sympathetic P.O.V. in I Owe You Every Joy of Love illustrates just how poisonous Lila's influence is, as she convinces her that Marinette's request for some space is actually a backhanded way of breaking off their friendship in a 'nice', backhanded fashion. She also disables the notifications on Alya's phone, causing her to miss some important messages and getting her into serious trouble with her family as a result.
  • In contrast to Optimus' relationship with Lelouch, Megatron's friendship with Suzaku in Code Prime is slowly eroding the latter's morals, in addition to causing other problems. In particular, Suzaku's faith in Britannia and, to a significnatly lesser extent, the Decepticons, is starting to border on Blind Obedience and Black-and-White Insanity, while his actions are beginning to verge on Knight Templar. This is exactly what Megatron wants. Fortunately, Suzaku realizes how evil the Decepticons and Britannia are by the end of R1 and joins the Autobots and Black Knights to truly redeem himself.
  • Unbreakable Red Silken Thread:
    • Duncan to Gwen.
    • Also Jessica, along with the majority of Heather's old friends from school, proved to be this for her.
  • Dominoes: Hakuba and Ran believe that they're serving as good influences to Shinichi, encouraging him to follow the rules rather than rebelling against them. Problem is that said rules are set by his abusive, manipulative father, who's transformed them into tools against his son.
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Bolt's sociopathic Manipulative Bastard friend Duke reawakens the former's latent prejudice against cats in "The Blood Brother." Bolt eventually realizes it, though, and makes amends to Mittens.
  • One Step Backwards And Three Forwards: Lila successfully swayed Alya and Nino into supporting her, to the point that she was even able to convince them to betray Ladybug and Chat Noir, claiming that it would put an end to Hawkmoth's supervillainy once and for all if he got what he wanted. The resulting Wishes rewrote the world; in the new reality, Alya and Nino are even more firmly under Lila's thumb, clinging to the idea that they did the right thing.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail: Sara Diktaylis despised Chloe so much that she manipulated practically all of their classmates in 5-E into becoming a Gang of Bullies. This leads to the whole class getting into massive trouble when the truth comes out, negatively impacting all of their future prospects. Sara is eventually forced to confess WHY she did all of this, revealing herself as a False Friend and causing them to realize that it really was All for Nothing.

    Films — Animated 
  • A Goofy Movie has an example of a toxic friend getting a parent in trouble with his kid. Pete gives Goofy parenting advice to help improve his relationship with Max... but since Pete is both overbearing and distant, and has a bad relationship with his own son, PJ, the advice does more harm than good.
  • In Pinocchio, there's Lampwick, a hooky-pulling troublemaker the puppet meets on the way to Pleasure Island. Though he does seem to genuinely like Pinocchio, his influence leads the wooden boy to do many naughty things, including smoking and drinking. Unfortunately, Lampwick learns too late that his bad behavior makes him a literal jackass in one of the most terrifying sequences in Disney history.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Party Monster features the focal character falling victim to this from his boyfriend, and eventually becoming an example of this himself.
  • 11-year-old Audrey to young Tommy in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. She takes him shoplifting, tries to get him to huff paint, and eventually gets him drunk.
  • The entire plot of Risky Business is set up by the suggestions/insistences of Miles, Joel's stupid friend.
  • Randal from both Clerks films. As much as his friend Dante is responsible for his own malaise, Randal's actions do quite a bit of damage on their own (and certainly never help things).
  • Paige from The Last House on the Left lured her friend into a bad situation trying to get marijuana.
  • Amanda from Taken. Enticing her friend to lie to her father, and sleep with French men, because she heard that they are good in bed.
  • In Brokedown Palace Alice Marano is this to Darlene Davis. Some fans also believe that Alice was the one responsible for the drugs, and that she was a drug smuggler all along.
  • Evie Zamora from 13 to the highest disturbing degree. Evie introduces Tracy to shoplifting, underage sex, hard drugs, and seducing older men. And the worst part is that she's such a Manipulative Bitch, she makes her mother believe it was Tracy who brought her into this, not the opposite.
  • In the obscure 1990 romance thriller called A Girl To Kill For. Sue is this to sweet natured yet gullible Chuck. More or less seducing him into situations that kept going From Bad to Worse. Can't help but feel sympathy for the poor guy.
  • Male example from Save the Last Dance: Malakai to Derek. Derek is one of the few young men in his school who is headed for (and actively seeking) a brighter future, while fresh-from-juvie Malakai seems bound and determined to drag him into the gang scene. Derek, for being a bright guy, gets really stupid where Kai is concerned.
  • Megan Stewart is this to sweet wholesome Amy Herman in Megan is Missing. Amy really wants to prove to Megan that she's not a sheltered little girl. Unfortunately, this leads to disturbing and disastrous consequences for both girls when they encounter an internet predator.
  • In The World's End, Gary's fixation on the pub crawl certainly gets the 'Five Musketeers' into a lot of trouble, and it's made clear that even in their younger days he wasn't a particularly good friend to them in many ways.
  • Played with in Shaun of the Dead. Ed has been holding Shaun back for years due to being a overweight slacker who has mooched off Shaun's hospitality (and Shaun's own usage of him as a crutch to convince himself he's not nearly as much of a loser as he really is), but Ed really does love Shaun as a friend and it's not intentional. To the point he's willing to make a Heroic Sacrifice for Shaun and Liz.
  • Marcus from Cabin Fever: Patient Zero has not one, but TWO toxic friends (one being a past fling whom is now datung his younger brother) in addition to a toxic young brother. All three was a very jealous and Bitter case of this trope. Mostly due to the fact they felt he was upgrading from them since he was getting ready to marry into money.
  • In Nerve, Sydney is a toxic friend to Vee. Ultimately it is Sydney's fault that Vee signs up for Nerve, and goes through all of the hell that follows.
  • In Rounders, Mike is trying to avoid gambling, and later at least be an honest poker player, but his friend Worm keeps trying to drag him back into playing crooked games.
  • In Masterminds, after Kelly loses her job, she falls under the influence of childhood friend Steve, who recruits her to help him rob a bank. She then turns around and recruits former co-worker David to be the fall guy.
  • Every single thing bad thing that happens in Body is Cali's fault, and she insists on dragging Mel and Holly with her: overriding their objections and badgering them until they agree with her.

  • Agatha H. and the Siege of Mechanicsburg: Played for Laughs. The Baron forbid the Jaegers from returning to Mechanicsburg under the assumption that they were a bad influence and the cause of most of the town's problems. Instead, the Jaegers proved to be perfectly capable and loyal soldiers with a few quirks, while the townsfolk undermined the Baron at every opportunity. He began to wonder who had been an influence on who.
  • Mary Anne's story in The Babysitters Remember paints Kristy as this: convincing little Mary Anne to play around with the laundry washing machine soap and other shenanigans that would earn them a grounding, time-out, or a scolding from their parents or a sitter.
  • According to the Confessions, even saints can be terrible influences. During his twenties, St. Augustine reunited with a childhood friend and brought him into the horrid, false Cult of the Manichees. The friend only comes to his senses when he is baptized on his deathbed, at which point he rejects St. Augustine and refuses to see him before his early death.
  • The unnamed student in Decision of Fate has a 'friend' who uses peer pressure to get him to try drugs.
  • An interesting complicated example occurs in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where Cho forces her close friend Marietta to come to the meeting at the Hog's Head and then forces her to join the D.A. While the D.A. is a good thing, and necessary as there's a war going on however quietly, it is a form of rebellion against the ministry and it is very obvious Marietta is uncomfortable with the whole thing even before it is against the rules. When Marietta goes to Umbridge to tell her of the meetings and is hit by a curse Hermione put on the sign-up sheet to identify any traitors since she's taking the fact that they're at war very seriously Cho gets mad at Harry and Hermione without ever admitting or taking into account the fact that she forced her friend into an uncomfortable position, and while downplaying just what Marietta did. note 
  • John Dies at the End has John Cheese, an irresponsible, carefree, hard-partying rocker and drug enthusiast. Although he technically serves as an example of this trope for his friend Dave, since he's constantly getting the duo into trouble, we later learn that Dave is an Unreliable Narrator and codependent borderline sociopath, and John is Dave's only friend, as well as the Plucky Comic Relief and, arguably, the real hero of the story.
  • From A Song of Ice and Fire we get a fine example in the form of Cersei Lannister. Although, she does tend to mix both Poison and Falseness into it, she's still very good at dragging other people's moral compasses and common sense down by example or cunning, too. Jaime, Joffrey, Tyrion, childhood friends and acquaintances of all kinds can attest to it. It's notable that once Jaime spends a considerable amount of time away from her, he begins to rediscover his long-lost morals.
  • That Was Then... This Is Now has two friends, Mark and Bryon. Mark is a sociopathic but charming thug, and Bryon goes along with him until the end.
  • In Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell, Gilda's friendship on Trixie seems to have reversed the later's Heel–Face Turn.
  • The "Use Your Decision Process" examples in most American high school Health textbooks are filled with this. A typical example is "Alice has a friend named Bob who she has known since she was a kid. But Bob has been acting erratic and paranoid lately. Alice thinks he is doing drugs but is not sure. What should she do?" or "Bob's girlfriend Alice has been pressuring him to have sex with her. She claims she will break up with him if he doesn't. What should Bob do?"
  • In Wintergirls, Cassie goes to a theater-themed summer camp where all the other girls are binging and purging (i.e. eating large amounts of food and then throwing up). She becomes bulimic herself, causing her best friend Lia to develop a similar eating disorder as the two girls compete to become the thinnest. This leads to years of medical complications for both of them.
  • Enid Nightshade from The Worst Witch books. In chanting she deliberately sings out tune, getting Mildred in trouble for laughing at her. She turns her cat into a monkey which escapes and is blamed on Mildred again. On the sports day she bewitches a pole to shoot up into the air with Mildred on it (she ends up crash landing in Miss Cackle's office). Mildred is threatened with expulsion for this but Enid keeps on going, locking herself and Mildred inside a closet when the other girls are in assembly.
  • In Wicked Good, Archer tries to discourage Rory from spending time with Trish, who encourages him to break the law.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: This trope is behind the "Hybrid" prophecy, the Myth Arc of series 9 of New Who: The Hybrid is the Doctor and Clara traveling together. Word of God confirmed that despite both being unambiguously heroic, they brought out each other's worst traits and each would bring ruin to the universe to save the other. Which is exactly what almost happened in the season finale.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Robert to Ned. Catelyn even lampshades in the first episode that he has a tendency to lead Ned into trouble. If only she knew.
    • Jaime suffers from this, or more so Toxic Incestual Twin Sister Influence. Cersei tends to bring out the worst in him. Cersei's wildfire plot seems to slowly wake him up to this, but he's more afraid of her than hateful of her.
    • Varys tries to buy Shae off because he believes that she's a dangerous liability to Tyrion, one of the few men who could make the country a better place.
  • In How I Met Your Mother Barney plays this role to the rest of the main cast, but mostly to Ted, whose corruption he views as a pet project. Ironically, as the show has progressed, even as Barney rubs off a bit on Ted (mainly by encouraging him to live in the moment and helping him to enjoy life to the fullest), he has really been more influenced by Ted in terms of growing emotionally and romantically (even taking a class taught by Ted on how to be a good boyfriend).
  • Next (2020): Iliza tries to indoctrinate Ethan and turn him against his mother. Thankfully, he sees through its lies.
  • Del to Denzil on Only Fools and Horses. When Corrine listed a number of times that Del had screwed him over and conned him into joining one of his failed get-rich-quick schemes, Denzil's simple reply?
    Denzil: Yeah I know, but he's a mate!
    • In some ways, Del Boy is this to his brother Rodney. At one point, Rodney is trying to defend his brother to his wife by saying, "Look, I agree that Del can get a bit out of hand, but I think it's unfair to say that everything he touches goes wrong." At this point the bus behind him promptly explodes due to a faulty radio Del installed over the main fuel line. Some of his more notable exploits have been things like convincing Rodney that he is the 'man of the house,' causing him to break his wife's boss's nose, and convincing Rodney to stay on a trip with him despite the fact that Rodney, 26, will have to pretend he's 14 the entire time he's there.
  • Faith to Buffy, in season 3, especially in the episode "Bad Girls". She convinces her to skip school (which is something she already did when she needed to fight monsters, but she didn't need to at the time) and steal.
  • Kramer to everyone he encounters in Seinfeld. It's nearly impossible to follow Kramer's advice and not get into trouble, yet people keep listening to him. Kramer, of course, never gets into trouble himself.
  • On Suits Mike was on his way to becoming a lawyer when his best friend, Trevor, convinced him to sell cheat sheets for an exam. The two end up expelled from college and blacklisted, crushing Mike's dreams of becoming a lawyer. The series kicks off with Trevor convincing Mike to act as a one-time drug courier, with the drop-off being a police sting, which he barely dodged. Both Harvey and Mike's grandmother have warned him to drop Trevor because he's the anchor dragging Mike down. Despite everything, he still was willing to give Trevor more chances... right up until he exposed Mike as having never attended Harvard.
    • As the series progresses Harvey is becoming this to Mike. He forces Mike to take sides in his dispute with Jessica even though he should realize how dangerous it would be for Mike to oppose the firm's managing partner. When Mike caves in to Jessica's extortion, Harvey treats it as the worst form of betrayal since he seemingly expected Mike to commit a Stupid Sacrifice over a fairly petty matter.
    • In the later seasons, Mike inadvertently becomes this to his friends as it becomes increasingly harder to hide the fact that he never attended law school. As they try to protect Mike, they end up committing increasingly riskier and more illegal acts. When a reformed Trevor shows up, he lampshades the situation and refuses to help Mike because doing so would result in Trevor sliding back into the bad behavior he worked very hard to get away from. Mike realizes that the only way to stop his friends from destroying their lives is to confess to everything in exchange for them getting immunity.
  • On Community, Leonard and his 'Hipsters' gang have an extremely negative influence on Pierce. Eventually getting him caught by campus security and requiring Jeff to bail him out.
    • Jeff himself can have a tendency to be this for his friends. They tend to look to him as The Leader, but it's gradually been implied that, while he can talk a good talk, his solutions to the various problems they face can do more harm than good and that he's not someone who should be followed or emulated that closely.
    • Jeff's former law firm colleague Alan is this to Jeff.
    • In a mutual version, Jeff and Shirley discover that despite being quite different on the surface they have a similar judgmental streak on everyone around them, which makes them enjoy sharing gossip with each other. Unfortunately, this means that their combined talents can let them really hone in on someones insecurities and destroy their life if they aren't careful, which almost happens several times. They end up agreeing that too much time one-on-one is bad for them.
  • On American Dreams Roxanne sometimes borders on this in her friendship with Meg. Occasionally subverted — although she was normally the "good girl", Meg was quite capable of doing dumb and/or rebellious things all on her own.
  • Lucy to Ethel in I Love Lucy, one of the earliest TV examples. Ethel realizes Lucy's influence on her, but still can't resist Lucy's wheedling to join in on her latest Zany Scheme.
  • True to her book counterpart, Enid is this in The Worst Witch TV series but this time Ethel Hallow becomes this for Drucilla. Ethel is the Alpha Bitch but Drucilla seems more of an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain and a genuinely nice person when away from Ethel's influence. She makes a Heel–Face Turn at the end of the series.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): Saul Tigh is a man who is already prone to drinking, among other vices, but his behavior is made all the more worse by his horribly enabling wife, Ellen. If he tries to throw away the bottle, she pushes him Off the Wagon. When he deliberates on sensitive issues, she twists his reasoning to make him take the the least reasonable option. And what's worse is that, because they're both immortal Cylons from the "orignal" Earth, they've been repeating this cycle of co-dependency for aeons!
    • The inverse also seems to be true. Ellen tends to be much more of a Team Mom when she is on her own. As soon as Saul enters the picture, she becomes a Manipulative Bitch prone to dabbling Fleet politics.
  • On The Mentalist, Patrick Jane is an absolutely horrible influence on the CBI team he works with. Over the course of the series so far, he's talked them into planting evidence, coercing confessions, entrapping suspects, and profiling. This corrosive influence on their respect for the law they're supposed to enforce (and its potential to endanger their careers) is lampshaded by a By-the-Book Cop in the episode "Black Gold and Red Blood," but as Jane is a Showy Invincible Hero who looks out for his friends, any negative consequences they suffer for going along with him rarely last more than one episode.
  • The Season 4 opener of NUMB3RS features a scene of Don watching Colby's videotaped confession (most of which was not shown in the previous episode), in which Colby tells Don how Dwayne Carter started asking him to do "favors" for him against FBI protocol and slowly worked him up to his Face–Heel Turn. Subverted later in the episode when it's revealed that Colby was never actually influenced by Dwayne at all; he reported Carter's requests and was directed to play along in an attempt to figure out who Carter was reporting to, and his confession was a part of that ploy.
  • In the backstory of Person of Interest Det. Stiles was this to Det Fusco. Stiles helped out Fusco when Fusco was going through a messy divorce and when Fusco wanted to repay the favour, Stiles got him involved in corruption, drug dealing and murder. Fusco is revealed to be a very decent guy but his unwillingness to turn his friends in caused him to become a Dirty Cop.
  • On The 100, whether Lexa is this depends on your point of view. The way she convinces Clarke to close herself off from her feelings, behave ruthlessly, and allow hundreds of her allies to die certainly makes her seem like this. However, since The 100 runs on Grey-and-Gray Morality, it's left up to the viewer to decide whether making Clarke act this way is truly a bad thing, or if it's actually turning Clarke into a better leader.
  • The New Adventures of Flipper. In the first season Mike Blondell was this for Maya Graham. He was always talking her into performing harebrained stunts (that she went along with against her better judgement) that got them in trouble with his mother and Dr. Ricks.
  • General Hospital: Emily Quartermaine befriends a a classmate named Matt, who promptly introduces her to drugs. When they both overdose, she survives while he doesn't. As it turns out, he was such a lying and manipulative little brat that his mother is convinced it was Emily who was this to him. Not until hearing from the other kids whom Matt was selling drugs to is she forced to admit the truth to herself.
  • Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn: In "New Kid on the Block", Syd, their new next door neighbor couldn't hang out with the quads because her parents thought they would be a bad influence on her.
  • Deconstructed in Better Call Saul, where Jimmy McGill isn't actively trying to make his friends complicit in his con games and is a genuine friend to many other characters int he series. However, his insistence on helping them out (whether they want him to or not) and their Undying Loyalty to him means that they end up putting themselves at risk to help him out of jams or preserve the gains they've made through his unsolicited help.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The First Duty", the leader of the stunt-flying team at Starfleet Academy acts this way toward the rest of the team. First he convinces them to attempt a dangerous (and forbidden) stunt that gets one of them killed, then pushes them to cover up the truth during the resulting inquiry, all in the name of friendship and solidarity. He somewhat redeems himself at the end by claiming sole responsibility and accepting expulsion to protect the others.
  • In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Dennis is this to the rest of the group. When he leaves at the end of series 12, the gang get noticeably nicer, Paddy's Pub becomes successful and the boys start complimenting Dee's appearance. Naturally things go straight back to the way they were once he returns.
  • Velvet: Cristina may have wanted revenge after realizing Alberto always loved Ana, but she never would have gone as far as she did without Barbara's influence.
  • A familial type is shown in the The Thundermans episode "Cookie Mistake". Max and Nora realize they don't hang out much because they bring out the mischief in each other.

  • Gorillaz bassist Murdoc was this to singer 2D, who remained oblivious to their Type 1 Vitriolic Best Buds relationship throughout Phase 1, attempted and failed to fight back in Phase 2, and now appears to be realising exactly how toxic Murdoc is to him.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In Luann, T.J. fulfills this role with Luann's brother Brad. He has gotten Brad into trouble with his borderline illegal schemes and other inappropriate behavior. However, he has done other things that were nice, and it's been implied he has Parental Abandonment issues...doesn't justify the borderline illegal schemes, though.
  • In Garfield, a January 1996 strip has Odie and Garfield eating junk food in a messy way and leaving the wrappers all over the table. Jon complains to Garfield he's a bad influence on Odie. Garfield denies it, but then Odie utters "Meow".
    • It's also been proven that because of how lazy and sedentary Garfield is, the mice around him have gotten lazy too. And they're using a sleeping Garfield as a bed.

  • In the Sick Sad World episode "Writers Who Kill"; one case focuses on a pair of girls who re-enforced each other's bad qualities until the two ended up committing murder.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • CM Punk to Colt Cabana, who was normally nice and non confrontational but had promised Punk as a member of The Second City Saints that he would do anything needed to help them win.
  • Already being an experienced fighter, Ta'Darius recognized this was happening between himself and Truth Martini, who he went to in hopes of learning the art of professional wrestling and distanced himself from The House Of Truth once it was agreed he had trained enough with them. Unfortunately, Ta'Darius Thomas still fell prey to the manipulations of Jimmy Jacobs and joined Decade.
  • Aja Perera, who usually desires the friendship of everyone she wrestles, puts on a much more intimidating face when tagging with the Blood Knight Dementia D'Rose, becomes a lot more obnoxious when with the brazen Nina Monet and more mean spirited alongside the royal snob Sahara Se7en.
  • Se7en herself fell into this at Marvelous Pro Wrestling, with Tomoko Watanabe and Yuu Yamagata, who convinced her to abandon Mio Momono and join their Level 5 faction, where they did their best to turn the regal queen into a vicious savage.
  • AJ Styles fell prey to this twice at WWE. Both of his Face–Heel Turns were caused by his former Bullet Club allies Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. The second one especially stands out, as they poisoned him against his Friendly Enemy Ricochet and talked him into forming a heel Power Stable with them.
  • After a stable run as a face for many years, Bayley ended up being lured to the dark side by her best friend Sasha Banks.

  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, Kev's mother believes that Daigo is a disturbed boy who's having a negative influence on her son. As much as Kev wants to believe otherwise, she's completely right.

    Video Games 
  • CJ, the protagonist of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, isn't exactly a paragon of morality, but he tends towards Pragmatic Villainy. His friends are all dumb thugs to a greater or a lesser extent. A typical mission will begin with them explaining their latest scheme, him pointing out how risky it is, them calling him a buster (mainly Ryder, for whom this is almost a Catchphrase), and him agreeing to go along with what turns out to be an absolute clusterfuck with at least seven people shooting at him at once. Of course, if he didn't go along, we wouldn't have a plot...up until the mission The Green Sabre, where CJ is forcibly removed from them and eventually gets some less toxic friends.
    • Another toxic influence shows up late in the game in the form of Sweet, CJ's brother, who he spent a significant chunk of the game trying to get out of jail. Despite breaking free of the gangbang lifestyle that was clearly going nowhere but an early grave, he constantly hounds CJ into going back to the hood for no reason other than because that's where they came from. He's like a proto-Lamar in a sense.
    • Grand Theft Auto V has this in the form of two different people, one of whom is a main character. The first example of this is Franklin's "best friend" Lamar, who constantly gets Franklin into potentially lethal trouble because he's too much of an idiot to realize when he's being played, then guilts Franklin into going along with his stupid schemes so that he won't get killed. He also repeatedly insults Franklin for wanting to get out of the crappy, dangerous, toxic gangster lifestyle. Trevor, the second example of this trope, constantly gets his other..."friends" into trouble due to being a drug trafficker and general psychopath that also consistently screws over plans because he's unable to control himself.
  • Metal Gear Solid Peacewalker: Surprisingly, it turns out Master Miller played this role for Big Boss, who when they met wasn't quite sure whether he wanted to take on his old friend Zero and the CIA directly and make himself an enemy of the world or create Metal Gears with nukes mounted on top of them. Miller was eventually the one that turned back to the US and supported Solid Snake against Big Boss but it was fair to say he certainly wasn't the influence Big Boss needed when they started working together.
  • Fallout: New Vegas gives you the opportunity to BE this to your companions if you so choose. Specifically you can convince 2 of your companions to become vengeful killers, and another to stop taking her medications so that she becomes a savage beast randomly attacking anything in sight.
  • Dragon Age II also gives the player character the opportunity to become this with regards to Sebastian Vael. Becoming a Rival to Sebastian involves encouraging him to leave the Chantry and retake his throne in Starkhaven (as well as committing anti-chantry and ignoble acts in his presence), effectively undoing the character development that he'd gained through being a brother of the faith. Grand Cleric Elthina does call Hawke out on this, however.
  • Invoked in Pokémon X and Y. If a Pancham (a wannabe tough-kid panda) is in a party with a Dark-type Pokémon (a group of Pokémon known for fighting dirty) when it levels up, then it'll take on their teammates' bad behavior and evolve into Pangoro, becoming a Dark-type itself.
  • In Middle-earth: Shadow of War and its sequel Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Celebrimbor being this trope is one of the main themes of the whole narrative. He spends nearly the entirety of both games slowly but surely convincing Talion that the only way to achieve results, protect Middle-Earth, and defeat Sauron is to become so cruel and vicious that no one dares cross him... and sure enough, Talion becomes more and more comfortable with the Wraith's brutal methods as time goes on.
  • Life Is Strange has Chloe as this for the protagonist Max, with Chloe encouraging Max to break the rules, skip school, steal from the school's offices, and even take the blame for some pot that Chloe gets caught with. She's also a Manipulative Bitch and doesn't have any common sense.
  • Randal's Monday: Randal and Matt are not good for each other, as they tend to encourage each other's worst tendencies. Randal realizes this by the end of the game.
  • In Night in the Woods, this shows up if you choose to spend the most time with Gregg. Mae and Gregg's friendship as teenagers was primarily built on various petty crimes, but with Mae off at college, Gregg was straightening up and getting his life back together...and then Mae shows up back in town at the beginning of the game. Gregg's boyfriend Angus takes notice of this, and he eventually blows up at Gregg and Mae over it, though the three are able to work things out.
    • It's inverted if you choose to spend the most time with Bea, who constantly calls Mae out on her immature attitude and behavior and helps Mae to grow more as a person.
  • Yandere Simulator: Osoro is a sympathetic example to the other delinquents. The video detailing their backstory reveals that she's the one who taught them how to fight, and that they started skipping class, threatening other students, and mouthing off at teachers because they're following her example. But that same video reveals that, prior to becoming delinquents, those kids were being bullied so badly, they were seriously contemplating committing suicide together, and the faculty utterly failed to help them. Osoro, however, took them under her wing, and they started copying her bad behavior so they'd Never Be Hurt Again. It's not a case of a bad kid coercing other, more innocent students into doing bad things; it's a case of a bunch of victims latching onto the one person who showed them sympathy and provided a solution to their problem, even if the solution isn't a great one. The guidance counselor even admits she can't really pin all the blame on Osoro, since if the faculty had stepped in sooner, the bullying might not have gotten this bad.

    Web Comics 
  • Lackadaisy: Rocky to his cousin 'Freckle'.
    • Atlas was this to a significant portion of the cast, particularly Mitzy, Mordecai, and Viktor, all of whom he manipulated into being part of his blossoming criminal empire by ensuring that they would in some way feel indebted or otherwise emotionally attached to him and therefore willing to do awful things to keep his business going. It helps that he was charismatic enough to make this work without them really realizing what was happening before it was too late.
    • Viktor is deliberately trying to defy this trope in regards to Ivy, as he realizes part of the reason she stays in St. Louis is because of their friendship. He tries to drive her away so she won't want to stay and thus won't remain involved with the speakeasy.
  • Vriska from Homestuck. Dealt with realistically, as most of the other characters can't stand her as a result of her acting like this - by the time her story starts, most of her best friends have already dumped her over an incident where she caused one of them to get seriously injured, with even Karkat calling her a backstabbing sociopath.
  • In Dominic Deegan, Bumper and Stunt are introduced as a pair of thieves, but Bumper quickly proves to be the sweeter and more rational of the pair. This increases until in the "Two Thief or Not Two Thief" storyline Stunt is pretty much exactly this, going for bigger and more problematic illegalities all the time and dragging his best friend along. Until Bumper can't countenance the stuff they're involved in anymore.
    • For bonus points, Bumper turns out to be from a good family fallen on hard times.
    • The Bumper-doing-a-sleight-of-hand-show-to-raise-Stunt's-bail-again scene that opens TToNTT is pretty emblematic.
    • At the end of the Two Thief storyline after nearly getting him and Bumper killed, the mayor of Barthis decides the best punishment for their latest crimes is to exile Stunt but not Bumper. When Bumper tries to leave with Stunt anyway, Stunt admits that he's realized what a bad influence he's been, and convinces Bumper to stay in Barthis where he's made a decent life for himself.
  • In Modern Day Treasure Seekers, Cade's parents felt this way about Sam, but came to accept her. However, the flashback shows her hopping a fence with a sign reading "No Trespassing", with Cade going along with her, implying that she influenced him to get into trouble.
  • The Guide to a Healthy Relationship: It's probably not his friends' fault that Apollo is in his early twenties and a severe alcoholic, but they still enable him, constantly take him out for parties, give him pills and buy him drinks, encourage him to drink on the job — none of them seem to think there's anything wrong with that.

    Web Original 
  • Coyote is written as one of these to Rabbit in this retelling of a Native American myth from Myths Retold.
  • sn4tchbucl3r in You Suck At Photoshop is this for Donnie, at first, ruining Donnie's videos, getting angry at him for refusing to play MMORPGs with him, and even talking him into shitting his pants in public at one point. Then sn4tch actually begins to care for Donnie and look for a life outside of his gaming addiction. It all falls in at the end, though, inevitably.
  • In Ultra Fast Pony, Twist is initially presented as a toxic friend to Apple Bloom, always pushing Apple Bloom to deal with her problems by killing them or burning them down. However, it's eventually revealed that Twist is an Imaginary Friend. Apple Bloom was being egged towards violence by her own dark side all along.
  • The Most Popular Girls in School: Mrs. Zales to Veronica Matthews. The former convinces the latter to say curse words in order to deal with stress. Guess what Veronica does next?
  • In Red vs. Blue Season 13, Locus realizes he has this kind of relationship with Felix, the latter manipulating him and playing to Locus' desire to be a great soldier to get him to carry out monumental acts of evil for Felix's personal gain. Breaking their partnership is Locus' first step towards a full Heel–Face Turn and his becoming a true warrior.
  • A recurring theme in The Veronica Exclusive is how easily Veronica falls victim to this. Back when she was a Cool Loser with only Martha for a friend, she was snarky, but pretty nice. When she joins the Heathers, on the other hand, she becomes a Lovable Alpha Bitch at best, and an outright Jerkass at worst. Then when she begins to date J.D., she becomes an accomplice to murder. The series ends when Veronica finally overcomes this and chooses her own path.
  • The My Little Pony: Totally Legit Recap version of Rainbow Dash is this to Scootaloo, even if she means well:
    Rainbow: Sweet! Scoot's, we're going out for margaritas.
    Scootaloo: I'm twelve.
    Rainbow: Don't worry, they have the little ones.
    Scootaloo: I woke up in a urinal three days ago and I'm almost certain it's your fault.
    • This is even Lamp Shaded in "Parental Glidence", where Rainbow Dash tries to use the whole "I'm the one that should be teaching you line.", only for Scoots to immediately call bull-crap on that, saying that line may work for the other members of the CMC and their sisters, but it does not for their relationship.
  • Momo from Cream Heroes is this to some of the younger cats. Before Lulu grew up, he was the top troublemaker among the cats and it's clear Lulu picked up a lot of his troublemaking habits from him. More recently he's become a bit of a bad influence on Nana and her kittens by showing them how to open cupboards and sneak inside.
    • Lulu is a downplayed example for Dodo. While he's clearly taught Dodo some of his tricks (like using the hole in the counter to quickly sneak food), some of Dodo's antics make him look mature and patient by comparison.

    Western Animation 
  • Archer has the titular character. Season 11 puts an interesting spin on this. After spending the last three years in a coma, Archer returns to the Spy Agency and sees that his coworkers have changed quite a bit. They've all tamed their vices and overcome their various neuroses, becoming quite the stark contrast to the Dysfunction Junction that they were in the past seasons. Over the course of season 11, Archer's abusive attitude causes everyone to backslide and regress to their pre-season 11 selves. When Lana calls him out on this in the Finale, Archer fires back at her, saying that they all keep him around specifically because of this, telling them that they all want to use him as an excuse to be their worst selves. Lana's reaction implies that there is at least some truth to that argument.
  • BoJack Horseman's miserable and self-destructive lifestyle (for lack of a better term) had caused many of his friends, lovers, colleagues, and the like to be let down, screwed over, heartbroken, pushed away, or even dead (just to name a few). He is well aware of his toxic attitude, and those close to him call him out on this on more than one occasion, but almost never attempts to make up for it until it's too late. In the last episode of the third season, he even considers himself "a poison that destroys everything he touches" after one of his colleagues from his old sitcom days dies because of him. And now that everyone else has moved on to pursue their own life, he almost has no one left. In the fourth season, he is very worried that history will repeat itself with Hollyhock whom he believes is his daughter. In the sixth episode the voice in his head that represents his self-doubt tells him he's already ruining her, that there's nothing he can do about it, and that all he does is destroy the people around him. In the tenth episode when Hollyhock passes out due to amphetamines he assumes she got into his stash of pills and blames himself. He is furious when he realizes it was actually due to Beatrice secretly slipping weight loss pills into Hollyhock's coffee.
  • In Batman Beyond, the biggest reason for Terry's Dark and Troubled Past was a friend named Charlie "Big Time" Bigelow, who convinced Terry to help him rob a fancy apartment; when they were caught, Terry was actually lucky because he was a minor at the time, getting only ninety days in juvie, but Charlie got three years in a real prison. When he finally got out, Terry now having been taken under Bruce Wayne's wing (so to speak) Terry wanted to believe Charlie had changed. He had not. Fortunately, Terry was smart enough to stay away this time, as his old friend only got into worse trouble.
  • Beavis And Butthead: In the Christmas Episode, "It's a Miserable Life", Butt-Head is taken to an alternate world where he doesn't exist. One of the changes show that Beavis turned out to be a much better person without him. He's still an idiot, just much nicer and actually pleasant. Similarly, Stewart is shown to have much more self-esteem.
  • The Boondocks:
    • Grandad had a hot young blaxploitation ninja girlfriend who was also extremely clingy and kind of crazy. Not helping her was her best friend (she's only heard on the phone and might even be a hallucination), who kept feeding her paranoia that Gramps was cheating on her. The friend pushes her to such extremes she ends up killing herself due to said friend's suggestion to do so.
    • Lamilton Taeshawn in the episode "Smokin With Cigarettes" tries to get Riley to commit all kinds of crimes (as if Riley really needed anymore help). But in the end, Lamilton proved to be too much of a hellion for Riley to handle.
  • Spongebob Squarepants: Patrick's terrible advice often leads Spongebob to trouble.
  • The Simpsons:
  • On the other hand, Bart falls victim to this in "Bart's Girlfriend," when he falls in love with Jessica Lovejoy. She persuades him into a dangerous skateboard stunt and forces him into pulling the fire alarm at school. Bart finally comes to his senses when Jessica steals from the church collection plate and blames it on him.
  • When Family Guy's Brian goes to rehab for his coke problem, his therapist points out that Peter is a horrible influence on Brian. Really, he is to pretty much anyone to whom he offers aid due to being an idiot. Bill Clinton ended up being this to Peter.
  • Rigby in Regular Show tends to be this towards Mordecai. While both characters are The Slacker, Rigby is usually the one who talks Mordecai into ignoring work and being generally irresponsible, and is usually the cause of their misadventures.
  • Dodie Bishop of As Told by Ginger. All her plans revolve around making herself popular and she shows little to no regard for Ginger and Macie unless they are helping her. One memorable example has Dodie convincing Ginger to ask her teacher out on a date.
    • Likewise Miranda to Courtney, the latter of whom is pretty decent but Miranda does everything she can to keep her from interacting with Ginger. At one point even getting a friend's cousin to help in a scam.
  • The Proud Family: One has to wonder why Penny Proud even bothers to hang around with Dijonay or Lacienaga, given how often they either screw her over, abandon her, or get each other into bad situations.
  • The shorts on House of Mouse depict Daisy Duck as this to Minnie Mouse, such as when she invited herself along on a day trip that was planned to be only for Mickey and Minnie, and causes them no end of delays.
  • Eddy from Ed, Edd n Eddy is probably the most prominent example of them all. Since he is the leader of the titular trio, the other two would often tag along with his scams since Ed is an idiot and Edd is The Cassandra since Eddy never heeds his warnings. Not to mention the fact that even when Edd does refuse to participate in whatever scheme Eddy devises, Eddy tries in every way to blackmail him into reconsidering his decision.
    Edd: The old guilt route, huh Eddy? Works every time.
  • Chozen has Jamal, Phil's ex from prison. After Jamal gets out, he tries to reconnect with Chozen, and immediately starts screwing up every aspect of his life, to the point where he tries to convince Chozen to become a petty criminal like him.
  • Entree of Spliced is one to Peri.
  • Sidekick: Trevor and Vana are this to Eric and Kitty respectively.
  • Jonny Quest. In the original series Jonny was sometimes this to Hadji. Jonny would come up with crazy ideas that got them into danger (often against the wishes of his father and Race Bannon) and Hadji would reluctantly go along with him.
    • In the 90s version, Jonny and Jessie were this to not just Hadji (who at one point complained that no one ever listens to him) but sometimes each other.
  • El Tigre has Frida Suarez, who acts like a mischievous conscious to Manny and convinces him to do the "funny"/bad thing as opposed to the right thing.
  • Hey Arnold!: In an odd form of this trope, Harold, Sid, and Stinky are all a lot nicer when they aren't hanging around with the other two.
  • Kaeloo: Mr. Cat is a horrible influence on Stumpy and often teaches him that doing wrong things is a good idea, like annoying a teacher to get kicked out of class or robbing a supermarket. Kaeloo tries her best to stop Stumpy from listening to Mr. Cat, but it usually doesn't work.
  • South Park: Heidi was already a bit of a jerk, and then she became Cartman's girlfirend. By "Moss Piglets," she's effectively a girl Cartman.
  • Disenchantment: Luci is a small demon sent to corrupt Bean to the ways of darkness, with his methods generally taking this form, encouraging Bean to drink, get high and murder, most of which she was willing to do anyway. Bean points this out in their first meeting.
    Luci: You know the voice in your head telling you not to do things? I'm the guy yelling over it.
    Bean: So you're like a terrible friend?
    Luci: I never said I was your friend.
  • In one episode of Fillmore!, the title character runs into a old friend from his delinquent days. They reminisce about old times and it becomes clear, especially to Ingrid, that he is trying to influence Fillmore into becoming his old bad boy self again. Turns out the whole thing was a setup to get Fillmore in trouble for a series of school offenses he didn't commit, because he was angry Fillmore went straight and wanted to ruin him. Good thing Fillmore already suspected this from the start, and played along just enough to turn the tables on his old friend.
  • Otto Rocket from Rocket Power is definitely this especially to Twister and Sam. Otto is always urging them to do bad things including crossing over off-limits areas which leads to danger (he got his leg broken in one episode because of it) and even playing hooky. He always procrastinates his homework, cheats in events if he isn't winning, and lies his way to get what he wants.
  • During the first season of Amphibia, it becomes increasingly apparent that Anne's "best friend," Sasha, was this. Not only does Sasha openly admit to manipulating others to get what she wants, but the season one finale shows that Sasha pressured Anne into skipping school on the latter's birthday, and was also the reason an uncomfortable Anne stole the music box that transported them and their other friend, Marcy, to Amphibia. It is to the point Anne realizes how controlling Sasha was after Sprig calls her out, to the point of having to fight her. However, Sasha truly considers Anne and Marcy her friends and deeply cares about them, and ends up trying to pull a Heroic Sacrifice for Anne once she realizes how horribly she's treated her.
    • Interestingly Zigzagged with Marcy, who was very absent-minded but very intelligent before coming to Amphibia, making her somewhat high-maintenance. However, once she is sucked into Amphibia with Sasha and Anne, she learns to be more reliant on her own skills instead of hoping that others will help her. She still peer-pressured Anne into stealing the Calamity Box, but her inherent toxicity stems primarily from Sasha.
  • My Little Pony:
    • My Little Pony 'n Friends: In "Woe Is Me, Part 1", Woebegone reveals that he was goaded into bullying a witch by some friends of his, which resulted in his current curse. He didn't really want to, since she'd never done anything to them, but was peer pressured into doing it anyway. Much good it did to him.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Trixie's been shown to be a bad influence on her best friend Starlight Glimmer. When the two originally meet, Trixie is intentionally this, due to only originally befriending her as a way to indirectly get back at Twilight and finally "beat" her at something, only to end up bonding with her and becoming real friends with her in the process. Later episodes show Trixie's selfishness and bad attitude get on Starlight's nerves very often to the point where she loses her temper and lashes out, despite Trixie not meaning to hurt her feelings and sometimes having genuinely no idea how much trouble she is causing Starlight. The two remain good friends despite the trouble and it is clear Starlight brings out the best in Trixie, but Trixie has the unfortunate effect of bringing out the worst in those around her, including Starlight.
  • In the Rotten Ralph animated series, Ralph's alley cat friends Fleabag, Bones and Lulu would invariably encourage him to do things that would get him in trouble.
  • Throughout Bob's Burgers, it gradually becomes clear that Linda's parents and sister have this effect on her whenever they're in episodes. While they aren't necessarily bad people, they're still rather demanding, obnoxious, insensitive and ungrateful people most of the time and it shows in how they treat Linda. Gayle especially is the worst of the three due to being a high-strung Nervous Wreck who relies on Linda for a lot while living under the delusion she is the prettiest and the favorite of their parents. Linda puts up with their demands and their behavior simply because they're her family and she loves them, but they tend to annoy and quietly infuriate Bob who has said on at least several occasions he hates his in-laws (which upsets Linda more than whatever hell they'll put Bob through).

  • This is what the saying "A few bad apples spoil the barrel" or "spoil the bunch" means, as bad or bruised apples release ethylene gas, which makes other apples around it begin to rot, too. To prevent the rot from spreading any further, you have to remove the bad apple(s).


Video Example(s):



Sasha may seem to be Anne's friend, but has a bad influence on her, to the point of forcing her to ditch school and steal a music box from a thrift shop (which will transport them to Amphibia moments later), to the point of facing being late for her 13th birthday party.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / ToxicFriendInfluence

Media sources:

Main / ToxicFriendInfluence