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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?
Synclaire: 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, do drugs, commit acts of theft, and cause public disturbance. 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 2000s 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.

Sometimes, the friend they’re influencing will be aware of their flaws, but Turn the Other Cheek out of the belief that the toxic friend has Hidden Depths that makes their bad influences worth standing by them — until the toxic friend goes much too far with their misdeeds, making the good friend realize there is no Hidden Heart of Gold under their toxicity, leading to a Broken Pedestal and Post-Support Regret.

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 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. Can go with Conditioned to Be Weak, where a powerful character is too afraid to stand up to their toxic friend.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Fate/Zero, Gilgamesh is this to Kotomine Kirei. He helps Kotomine discover what brings him joy in life, which seems harmless until you realize that Kotomine's joy involves the suffering of others. Although, the reason why Gil took an interest in Kotomine's sense of pleasure is that Kotomine considers it a sin, which would be odd if Kotomine were to feel pleasure like a normal person would.
  • Hidoku Shinaide: When meeting Maya for the first time, Nemugasa's mother immediately believes him to be this for her son because of his dyed hair and piercings, prompting her to question whether her son is drinking, partying or using drugs, and to put him in cram school to reduce the amount of free time he had so he wouldn't hang out with Maya. Akira intervenes after hearing of this when he introduces himself to Nemugasa's mother and convinces her that the opposite is true: Nemugasa is a Positive Friend Influence on Maya.
  • In Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, Fujiwara is a bright student who used to have much better exam grades. However, Shinomiya and Shirogane's psychological battle during the weeks prior to exams includes them blatantly lying about their studying habits and giving one another and Fujiwara bad advice, like not studying at all for the exam. Fujiwara, trusting her two smart friends, has fallen well down the rankings as a result.
  • A rather tragic and accidental scenario occurs in Kaitou Saint Tail when Seira's well-meaning idea of helping Meimi show off her magic while helping the town as a Phantom Thief ends up slowly driving Meimi towards a mental breakdown, because it ends up exacerbating her lack of self-worth into full-on Samaritan Syndrome and causes her to crack under the pressure of keeping a whole part of her life secret. Seira does show signs of realizing what's happening to Meimi over the course of the series, but she continues to give Meimi "jobs" and enable her into trying to become a symbol for the city, only really realizing how bad things had gotten at a point where Meimi won't even listen to her (very minimal) advice to stop if it gets too harsh. It ends up being Asuka Jr., the Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist-turned-Deuteragonist and Meimi's boyfriend, who stages the necessary intervention to save Meimi and her mental health, and a manga bonus chapter has Sawatari address how Seira's mentality became so warped.
  • The primary duo of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans have a reciprocating case of this trope towards each other:
    • For Mikazuki Augus, Because Orga promised him when they were young to take him to a new world, Mikazuki holds him to that promise. Mikazuki for his part, despite being perfectly willing to be used as a tool to fulfill Orga's dreams is also constantly pushing Orga more and more into callous thinking being the one to snap and force him out of grieving Biscuit's death and later disobeying Orga's orders against fighting the Mobile Armor. That being said, in the wake of Shino's Senseless Sacrifice and Orga's resulting frustration and grief from it, he shows awareness of his role in often pushing Orga to go far, even too far, and doesn't sound proud of it.
    • As for Orga Itsuka, it's been brought up off and on that, both he and Mikazuki have a mutually toxic relationship with one another. On Orga's end, he relies on Mikazuki's skills as a pilot even though it's continually coming at the price of the functionality of his body. Despite his guilt over this, Orga also can't find himself willing to actually bench Mika for his own good.
  • 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 The Rising of the Shield Hero, Ren is the most reasonable of the Three Heroes, to the point that he's the only one of them that Naofumi seems willing to trust. However, this only lasts until he's in a group with Motoyasu and Itsuki, at which point he'll tend to follow along with their idiocy.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sunny's older brother Dale in the Sunny Series starts hanging with two boys his senior year of high school, and get him involved in substance abuse; their mother complains about that Sladek boy being "no good" when he sneaks off to get milk and he blows it off by saying he took Sunny for ice cream. His drinking and pot smoking results in him being shipped off to Military School after he drunkenly hits his sister Sunny, which he resents. When he's supposed to stay at home on New Year's Eve 1976 with Sunny and Deb (and his brother Teddy), he instead runs off with them that night and possibly gets involved in knocking over the block's mailboxes. This is all played out realistically and Sunny has lots of angst about it, even being upset when she sees the two boys driving by while Dale is at military school and remembering how their actions are affecting her.
  • Cheshire does this a lot to Roy Harper in Teen Titans, 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.

    Fan Works 
  • 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."
  • 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 significantly 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.
  • Compulsion (Lead Zeppelin): Alex continuously questions Taylor's moral and ethical boundaries, pushing and nudging her to consider going past her limits.
  • 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.
  • A Loud Among Demons: Blitzo actively encourages Lincoln to engage in bad behavior whenever possible:
    Blitzo: If anything seemed like it could make a lot of dough on the black market, don't hesitate to steal it. Make horrible decisions sport!
  • 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.
  • Raise Your Voice Against Liars: Lila changed the majority of her classmates for the worse. Even after she leaves, the negative impact lingers: Alya remains incredibly stubborn and refuses to admit she did anything wrong, while Adrien remains an Extreme Doormat who continues to insist on prioritizing and protecting the feelings of bullies over their victims.


  • In An Alchemist Abroad, Sasha convinces Sprig that he needs to "take charge" of his friend group if he doesn't want to risk being left behind by Ivy and Maddie, effectively trying to mold him in her own image. She also schemes to sabotage Ivy and Maddie's friendship with Marcy if she doesn't manage to win their favor.
  • Living in a Frog World: Frank Ramirez used to be friends with Anne. He was also willing to stand up to Sasha and her mind games, so she turned Anne and Marcy against him, ruining their relationship to the point that Anne was willing to steal from his family's store.
  • A Theory of Butterflies and Other Insects:
    • Thanks to Sasha encouraging Anne to ignore her pesky conscience whenever they're hanging out together, Anne ignores the bad vibes she's sensing from King Andrias and gives him the music box immediately. Andrias goes on to become an example in his own right, manipulating her into becoming his Unwitting Pawn.
    • Sasha initially terrorizes Wartwood with her various pleasure-seeking antics. While scolding her for this, Hop Pop notes that as far as he's concerned, the worst part is how she's roped Sprig and Polly into misbehaving right alongside her.


  • Blackbird: Dinah Lance is a parental version of this to her daughter Sara Lance. Between letting her believe it was a good idea to go on the Gambit to sleep with her older sister Laurel's boyfriend because she was 'in love,' to manipulating her using her trauma to go along with trading Laurel to the League in exchange for her freedom, everything that's gone wrong in Sara's life can ultimately be traced back to Dinah's terrible parenting. On some level, Sara is aware of it too but has been unable to leave Dinah for the past three years because she would have to tell the truth about Laurel's disappearance to her father Quentin, the only other person that would be willing to take her in. Unsurprisingly, the moment Laurel is freed and that is no longer a concern, Sara ditches Dinah for Quentin almost immediately.

Assassin's Creed

  • AC: Unity Rewrite combines this with Destructive Romance: Elise exploits Arno's feelings for her alongside his desire for redemption, manipulating him into tracking down Germain for her. This only serves to pull him further away from his fellow Assassins.


  • C Listers: Killer Moth boasts about being one for Firefly, revealing that he's been manipulating him from the day they met, encouraging his darkest impulses and dependence upon him so that he'll stick around as his partner.


Captive Prince

  • (Not) Meant For You: Damen and Auguste's friendship grew over time into mutual codependency, to the point where they could barely function when they weren't together. This didn't do any favors for Auguste's already fragile mental state.

Case Closed

  • Dominoes: Hakuba and Ran believe that they're serving as good influences for 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.


  • I'd Trade My Life For Yours: Angie sees Ryoma as one for the rest of their peers when he defies her efforts to take control of their lives.

Danny Phantom

Disney Animated Canon

Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends


  • Glee Reprise: The leaders of Vocal Adrenaline have been encouraging Monica to ditch Beth, and have been encouraging some Alpha Bitch traits. But Beth hasn't been the best friend either, often being very controlling of her song choices so Monica wouldn't upstage her.

Infinity Train

  • It is VERY easy to pin point the exact moment Nora from The Sun Will Come Up And The Seasons Will Change went from a nice girl to the terror she became in the main part of the story. Not long after meeting Xander, Mary (and the audience) see a memory of her lashing out at her brother Julius. And that is FAR from the worst thing she did to him...

Kingdom Hearts

  • A major focus of The Tie That Binds:
    • Ventus hastens Terra's descent into villainy under Ansem the Wise by making Terra promise to run his experiments on people other than himself first. He didn't expect Terra to unleash the Heartless and destroy Radiant Garden, but he never scolds Terra for it and it's implied he thought it was worth it to find Aqua.
    • Xemnas and Ventus constantly pick at Aqua's self-esteem and place themselves in positions of authority over her, completely disregarding her status as a Keyblade Master. Ventus at least doesn't realize he's doing this, but Xemnas does. It reaches the point where even Aqua doesn't see herself as a Master anymore.
      • They're also very controlling, driving away her other friends and generally making decisions for her.
    • Xemnas indulges Ventus and Aqua's worst traits. He refuses to punish them for hurting other members of the Organization and only tries to reign them in if their actions become inconvenient to him. In fact, it's heavily implied he finds Aqua's violent tendencies endearing.

Love Hina

  • For His Own Sake:
    • Naru, Motoko, and most of the other girls at the Hinata Inn turn out to have been a horrible influence upon Sarah. She watched them constantly abusing and assaulting Keitaro, always blaming him for their Abomination Accusation Attacks. This taught Sarah that anyone who tried to stop her from doing whatever she pleases is an idiot who deserves to be beaten up, a lesson she happily carries out of the Inn that turns her into an utterly vicious Spoiled Brat.
    • Downplayed with Shinobu; while she didn't directly participate in abusing Keitaro, the other Hinata Girls amplified her issues with speaking up for herself or anyone else. After Keitaro quits and leaves the Inn, she realizes her Betrayal by Inaction and starts working to become more assertive... something which Naru and Motoko take umbrage with, revealing themselves as False Friends.

Miraculous Ladybug

  • Played With in The Babysitting Fiasco: While Alya insists that Lila was the one who came up with the idea of making Marinette handle all of her and Nino's babysitting duties while they take the extra money they're being paid and run around behind their parents' backs, Marinette isn't convinced that the Consummate Liar made them do any of that. Alya's parents are also frustrated by her blaming Lila for everything rather than taking responsibility for her own actions.
  • Feralnette AU: Rendered as chains and thorny vines winding around Lila's Speech Bubbles... and attaching themselves to her victims.
  • Hero Chat: It's pointed out that Sabrina and Chloé were actually this for each other. Yes, Chloé treated Sabrina like a servant, but Sabrina was like that before she met Chloé—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 Chloé's domineering personality and they fed into each other, making both worse. As part of Chloé's redemption, she distances herself from Sabrina, because it's too easy to just start commanding her again. Sabrina, with distance from Chloé, 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.
  • Juleka vs. the Forces of the Universe: Alya encourages the rest of the 'girl squad' to treat Marinette as though she's completely incompetent and incapable of managing her own love life... or anything else, for that matter, making her out to be hopelessly clumsy, tongue-tied and requiring them to 'push' her into everything.
  • The Karma of Lies:
    • Lila Rossi convinces her classmates that she's an even better version of Marinette, with better connections and the willingness to use them for her dear friends...while influencing them to turn on their 'Everyday Ladybug'.
    • Marinette eventually realizes that Adrien, Alya, and most of her classmates were actually bad influences on her, as they exploited her generosity while offering nothing in return, and she was convinced that was just how friendship worked...before finding True Companions who help her understand what real friendship is like.
    • Adrien in particular encourages his classmates to take Marinette's kindness and generosity for granted due to his own entitlement and inability to recognize the value of others' hard work. He also pressured Marinette to "take the high road" and let this behavior go unchallenged, claiming that she was strong enough to handle it...even when she warned him that she was near her breaking point.
    • As she's making amends for her past behavior, Chloé also comes to realize that Adrien is an enabler who chose not to challenge her temper tantrums for fear of 'rocking the boat'/making her even angrier, causing her to grow into even more of a Spoiled Brat.
  • Leave for Mendeleiev: Marinette is horrified when she witnesses Adrien encouraging Nino to exploit Mylene's akumatization by turning her into the monster for his movie, claiming that it'll be fine since Ladybug's Miraculous Cure will magically fix everything afterwards.
  • Marinette Dupain-Cheng's Spite Playlist:
    • Played for Laughs with Chloé, who really, really wants to rope Adrien and Marinette into 'taking the low road' when it comes to dealing with Lila.
    • Treated much more seriously with Lila herself, as her friendship with Alya gradually influences her to change dramatically over time. How culpable Alya herself is for how she changes depends upon the version; in the original, Alya is made out to be much more of an Unwitting Pawn, while the Remix makes her more selectively oblivious, preferring Lila's version of events because she lets her cling to the notion that she's completely blameless.
  • 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.
  • The One to Make It Stay:
    • While Alya was always driven and confident, Marinette notices that she seems to have only grown stubborner after Lila came back into the picture, and that she's started using 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 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.
  • Recommencer: Lila leads Alya to become her own antithesis, going from an Intrepid Reporter to somebody who blindly accepts every lie she's fed, with her Ladyblog developing a reputation for being a Shallow News Site Satire...even though she's still completely serious about everything she posts there.
  • The Wolves in the Woods:
    • Played With regarding Lila; while she falsely claimed Marinette was bullying her, this version didn't actually intend for things to go so far, being honestly horrified by how the bulk of the class turns on Marinette and drives her away.
    • Ms. Bustier is a straighter example: she refuses to punish bullies for anything they do, insisting that their victims should 'lead by example' by turning the other cheek. This turns most of the class into a Gang of Bullies who fancy themselves to be Bully Hunters, with Bustier refusing to act even when she witnesses their abuse turning physical, blaming Marinette for not placating her tormentors. Adrien proves especially susceptible to her influence, practically parroting their teacher's thoughts.
    • Alya was one for Marinette; when she tries to paint her as 'obsessed' with Adrien, Marlena and Otis point out that Alya was the one coming up with all those Zany Schemes to get them together and strongarming her into participating. She also convinced most of the class to turn on Marinette, and aimed to tear her 'bestie's' self-esteem to shreds out of envy for her accomplishments.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

  • Anchor Foal: Fleur believes that one of Fluttershy's Fatal Flaws is that she's simply too nice for her own good; in order to help her become better at asserting herself, she aims to teach her how to be cruel and selfish 'as necessary'. This includes setting her up her first date to be with somebody Fleur knows she won't hit it off with, in order to teach her how to reject somebody.

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

  • Catarina Claes MUST DIE!: Henrietta exploits her friendship with Francine to make her reject Catarina, making clear that it's a matter of choosing between the two, and that she'll dump Francine in a heartbeat if she doesn't do as she demands.


  • Androgyninja's A Drop of Poison: Sasuke encourages Naruto to act more like him. When Sakura masters tree-walking first, Naruto's in the middle of asking her for help when Sasuke interrupts, convincing him that he shouldn't ask for a girl's help. This escalates into both resenting her successes, something Kakashi encourages by taunting them whenever she outperforms them.
  • A Case Study in the Sturdiness of the Rookie 9 plays with this through Team 7. In many ways, Shino and Sakura are good influences on Chouji, helping him remain motivated in the face of Kakashi's neglect... by misinterpreting it as their teacher giving them secret tests and encouraging their independence. They also help him reconcile his moral concerns about becoming a Guile Hero, to the point that he's the one who suggests they betray Ino's trust in the Forest of Death. Ino then subsequently blames Sakura and Shino for corrupting him, unaware that he was the one who came up with the idea... but Chouji also proves to be the most remorseful about the incident, and the first to recognize their mistakes, while his teammates remain in denial.


  • Ancienverse: Over time, Seamus comes to realize that Travis served as one for him, getting him involved in Team Brutal/Nova and encouraging him to be just as big a Jerkass as Travis himself.

Princess Tutu

  • An Uncommon Witness: Mytho acknowledges that Rue is this to him, blaming her for getting him involved in the mafia and causing him to become a Fallen Hero.

The Saga of Tanya the Evil

Sailor Moon

Star Trek

  • In Heroes, Surak believes that some of Kirk's warrior tendencies have rubbed off on Spock.

Star vs. the Forces of Evil

  • Queens of Mewni: the Dark Ages could have gone very differently if Swan Redbird hadn't been such a bad influence on her cousin, Venus the Fairest, by showing Venus her first Primal Scene at age 9, taking Venus's virginity at age 12, and teaching her to put her pleasure above the wellbeing of her people.

Total Drama

  • 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.

    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 Luca, Alberto plays this role, convincing Luca to ignore his conscience ("Silenzio Bruno!") while pushing him into increasingly dangerous and irresponsible activities.
  • 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.
  • In Turning Red, Ming accuses Mei's friends of being bad influences for being encouraging with Mei's panda transformation. Turns out it was just because they were going against her standards for Mei.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Adam & Paul, the titular heroin addicts learn that their old friend Matthew has been dead for a month. It's implied that Adam and Paul turned him onto drugs and that he overdosed.
  • 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.
  • In Avengers: Endgame, it's revealed that during the time skip Thor has been eating and drowning his sorrows. He's spent the last few years living with Korg and Miek, who enable his self-destruction because they're content to just play games and binge eat with their good friend Thor instead of trying to talk him out of it.
  • The Beatniks has Mooney, who absolutely refuses to let Eddy break away from the gang to start a singing career.
  • In Besties, when she's part of her gang at the beginning, Nedjma is driven to play a very nasty prank on Zina (filming her in a position that mimics a blowjob and uploading the video on social media) but she soon comes to regret it.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Marcus from Cabin Fever Patient Zero has not one, but TWO toxic friends (one being a past fling who is now dating his younger brother) in addition to a toxic young brother. All three were 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.
  • 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).
  • Novella's friend Candice in Eat (2014) gives off shades of this in her efforts to "help", ranging from urging Novella to follow her dreams even though she's struggling to pay for rent and groceries, to hunting down and killing the man that a third party said had cheated on Novella and bringing his corpse back for her to eat. (It Makes Sense in Context)
  • Flipped: Despite being best friends, Garrett is obviously toxic toward Bryce, but Bryce seems to be oblivious at first; he reveals to Sherry Bryce's true intention of courting her note  that Bryce earns a slap from her. And he also constantly influences Bryce to keep hating Juli. Bryce eventually realizes that Garrett is the one responsible for shaping his thoughts about Juli (other than his own father, that is) and he finally cuts Garrett off.
  • 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.
  • Kumar from Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay goes out of its way to point this out, and Harold has ditched Kumar by A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas because of this.
  • Harsh Times: Jim, a Shell-Shocked Veteran with gangster ties and a self-destructive streak, is a terrible influence on his best buddy Mike, who went straight long ago and settled down with his lawyer girlfriend. Mike now finds himself jobless and susceptible to Jim's cavalier lifestyle. A great deal of the plot is dedicated to Jim convincing Mike to do reckless things against his better judgment.
  • In The Last Duel, the friendship of Count Pierre d'Alençon with Jacques Le Gris involves copious amounts of debauchery and orgies. It also gives Jacques a distorted view of romantic relationships and, crucially, teaches him to see women saying no to sexual advances as a flirty game of seduction, rather than an actual refusal, which leads him to rape Marguerite de Carrouges and genuinely think it's not rape.
  • Paige from The Last House on the Left lured her friend into a bad situation trying to get marijuana.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Party Monster features the focal character falling victim to this from his boyfriend, and eventually becoming an example of this himself.
  • The entire plot of Risky Business is set up by the suggestions/insistences of Miles, Joel's stupid friend.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Played with in Shaun of the Dead. Ed has been holding Shaun back for years due to being an 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.
  • Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl: Beth inspires Adele to buy cheap versions of things her aunt Dora needs so she can pocket the difference, and eventually it extends to Dora's medication, which causes her death.
  • 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.
  • Evie Zamora from Thirteen (2003) 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.
  • Combo is this to Shaun in This Is England.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford: "Bad Characters" centers around Emily, a little girl who makes friends with a miscreant named Lottie. Lottie introduces Emily to the joys of shoplifting and eventually gets her into trouble.
  • 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.
  • Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid, a Diary of a Wimpy Kid Spin-Off that focuses on Greg's "best friend", Rowley Jefferson. Throughout the book, Rowley is repeatedly tormented by Greg, who makes up lies that get him in trouble, cheats off his test (which makes Rowley cry because a teacher he likes says she's disappointed in him), and tricks him into doing his chores for a month. One of the last scenes of the book is Rowley's dad telling him he should find new friends.
  • Earth's Children:
    • Downplayed with Vorn and Broud in The Clan of the Cave Bear. Although Vorn idolizes Broud and sometimes copies his arrogant behavior as a child, he manages to avoid becoming as aggressive and unstable as him and never shared his Irrational Hatred for Ayla. As an adult, Vorn also treats his mate in a far more loving and respectful way than Broud treats his own and has no problem taking in the supposedly deformed Durc (whom Broud wants nothing to do with despite having the means to care for him), indicating that Vorn has grown out of the negative traits Broud retains.
    • While Doraldo is presented as responsible for his own actions, he and his friends tended to egg each other on in their stupidly dangerous and cruel actions; the whole reason Doraldo got himself into the situation that killed him was in an attempt to impress his friends. They're well aware of this and didn't reveal the truth about Doraldo's death for many years out of shame.
  • 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.
  • In Orange Clouds, Blue Sky, Mom's group of four "friends" isolate her by spreading false rumors about Dad and feed her addiction by selling prescription drugs.
  • The Origin of Laughing Jack: Played With. When Laughing Jack introduces himself to Isaac as his new friend for life, he says that he adapts to Isaac's changing personality. After Isaac is whisked off to boarding school and returns as a bitter adult, Jack's joy has faded too. However, it's when Isaac becomes a Serial Killer that Jack develops a similar interest in his sadistic activities as they all occurred in his view, although Isaac had no idea he was there.
  • This is basically Lord Henry's hobby in The Picture of Dorian Gray. He applies these talents to Dorian and succeeds rather wildly.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars: Kenobi: The Gault children are a bad influence on Annileen Calwell's son Jabe. Jabe has recently joined Orrin Gault's work crews and spends evenings carousing with Orrin's children Mullen and Veeka (he has a crush on the latter), eventually participating in Orrin's Monster Protection Racket and nearly getting killed by actual Tusken Raiders before Ben Kenobi rescues him. The experience puts Jabe back on the right path.
  • In The State of Grace, Grace's thirteen-year-old sister Leah falls in with a group of more popular girls who introduce her to underage drinking, resulting in her being hospitalized due to alcohol poisoning.
  • 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 with Trixie seems to have reversed the latter'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 Wicked Good, Archer tries to discourage Rory from spending time with Trish, who encourages him to break the law.
  • 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 a 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 in the 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.
  • Subverted in Brassic. On the surface, Dylan's relationship with Vinnie is this. Dylan is smart, talented, and had a chance to make something of himself, while Vinnie is a bipolar screwup and petty criminal who regularly drags Dylan into his schemes, and Dylan claims he can't leave their hometown because Vinnie couldn't survive without him. However, it quickly becomes apparent that Dylan prefers to live his life as a perpetual teenager and never work hard or commit to anything, and uses Vinnie as an excuse to not have to try. As several people point out, Dylan is a grown man with a will of his own, and he could just say no any time Vinnie asks him to do something stupid but chooses not to. Vinnie also turns out to be a lot more resilient and self-sufficient than he seems and even tells Dylan that it's not his job to look after him.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: 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.
  • Cobra Kai: Kreese provides this to Terry in spades. Terry had, by the time the series rolled around, got himself out of the toxic waste business, broken his cocaine addiction, gone through therapy to get his PTSD under control, and was generally living out his golden days in peace and harmony. It took one chat with Kreese to break decades of progress and bring the unhinged Manipulative Bastard back out. As the season goes on, Kreese realizes that Terry isn't going to be unquestioningly obedient, and hammers his Trauma Button to keep him in line, while Terry, at the same time, realizes Kreese will never consider his life debt repaid. This causes even more Sanity Slippage, and by the end, Terry is more than willing to beat a man nearly to death and frame his old friend for the crime just to be rid of him.
  • 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 toward 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 someone's 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.
  • 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.
  • Elementary: In season three, Sherlock is forced to seek out a dealer he knew during the height of his addiction as the man is connected to his current case. Oscar, the dealer in question, is still using and quickly sets about dragging Sherlock back down with him. In the season finale, he manipulates Sherlock into looking for Oscar's sister (who Oscar knows has already overdosed). The search ends with Sherlock relapsing once he discovers the deception.
  • 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.
  • General Hospital: Emily Quartermaine befriends 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.
  • Ghostwriter: Calvin Ferguson to Jeffrey Baxter. More than once, Calvin ropes Jeffrey into his schemes to cause trouble for the Ghostwriter Team. However, "What's Up With Alex?" implies that Calvin is also the Cloudcuckoolander's Minder. When we finally see Jeffrey without Calvin around to tell him what to do, he causes problems for Jamal in other ways.
  • 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).
  • Sam Puckett in iCarly. She tends to egg on Carly into doing more reckless things. Heavily downplayed since Carly is such a Positive Friend Influence that Sam is the way she is. In a world where Carly never befriended Sam, Sam would've ended up in Juvie.
  • In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Dennis is this to the rest of the group. When he leaves at the end of season 12, the gang gets 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • My Name Is Earl has this in the form of toxic brother influence. The titular character has been a jerk and delinquent for nearly his entire life and his dim-witted younger brother Randy followed suit. Their mom cites this as the reason she's forgiven Randy but not Earl.
    "There's a difference between you two. See, one of you is bad and one of you is simple. And Earl, you're bad."
  • 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.
  • Next (2020): Iliza tries to indoctrinate Ethan and turn him against his mother. Thankfully, he sees through its lies.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Other Kingdom: Brendoni tends to occasionally play this role towards Devon and Astral. As back in Athenia, Brendoni would occasionally tempt Astral into sneaking off to the "other" world and causing mischief to the others — which he took great pleasure — and even in the "other" world, some of his tendencies tend to rub off on Devon, such as a time when he intentionally made a small mess and got Devon to overlook and not obsess over it, threw a house party without latter's consent and encouraged him to embrace the party and host it. And that's not even getting into having him create a fake identity of him as a legendary party king.
  • 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.
  • Raising Dion: In Season 2, Brayden intentionally tries this with Dion; he befriends him, with the boys bonding over the fact that they're both superpowered, but then Brayden tries to make Dion use his powers for selfish reasons or even downright become a villain. Fortunately, Dion has none of it and breaks off the friendship.
  • Deconstructed on Scrubs. J.D. and Turk's college friend comes to town and gets the guys to go drinking with him while on call. They got in trouble for showing up to work drunk. When they got mad at their friend, he pointed out that they knew they were on call and could have easily said no to drinking with him. He also pointed out that they had been complaining about their jobs since he arrived, then called them out on the fact that it was easier to blame him than face up to the fact that they were starting to fall out of love with the practice of medicine.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Young Sheldon: In "A Stolen Truck and Going on the Lam", Paige is treated as such, being a veteran runaway, but the parents agree that this time it was on Missy.

  • 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.
  • Sam Hui: In "Wooden Squatter Huts" (木屋區), a song about a boy who grew up on the Wrong Side of the Tracks, when the protagonist grows up, he befriends a group of sleazy gamblers and later dies in a police shootout because one of his friends brought him along to rob a bank.
  • Kendrick Lamar reflects on this a lot in Good Kid, Maad City, especially in "The Art Of Peer Preassure"
    Look at me, I got the blunt in my mouth
    Usually I'm drug-free, but, shit, I'm with the homies
    I never was a gangbanger, I mean
    I never was stranger to the fonk neither, I really doubt it
    Rush a nigga quick and then we laugh about it
    That's ironic, 'cause I've never been violent
    Until I'm with the homies
    My mama called: "Hello? What you doin'?" — "Kickin' it."
    I shoulda told her I'm probably 'bout to catch my first offense
    With the homies
    (Police sirens)

    Newspaper Comics 
  • 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 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 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 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet): After Constance foils Iago's attempts to manipulate Othello, Iago turns around and starts working on Desdemona instead, convincing her that Constance is a witch who's after her husband.
  • Heathers:
    • Heather Chandler encourages Heather McNamara to join her in bullying their "friend" Heather Duke over her bulimia. Once Chandler's out of the picture, Duke strikes back, nearly driving McNamara to suicide before Veronica intervenes.
    • J.D. and Veronica both negatively influence each other. In particular, Veronica bemoaning during "Dead Girl Walking" that the Heathers will ruin her helps kickstart J.D.'s murder spree. It's only when he turns his sights towards McNamara that Veronica's had enough.
  • La Légende du Roi Arthur: Meéleagant wasn't exactly the best person to start out, but he'd been considering a Heel–Face Turn before Morganne came into the picture and encouraged him to embrace all his worst aspects.
  • The Lightning Thief: Luke does his best to serve as this to the other demigods, encouraging them to embrace their resentment of their divine parents. Especially Percy.
  • The Robbers: Spiegelberg is responsible for Karl and the rest of his friends for becoming outlaws.

    Video Games 
  • Adventures with Anxiety: Hunter invites Hong to hang out at the wild parties she throws, and actually sympathizes with Hong's struggles with anxiety... but also encourages her to drink heavily and take dangerous risks.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker: 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.
  • In Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor 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.
  • 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.
  • Peret em Heru: For the Prisoners: If poor Yoko survives their judgment, she explains to the others that she was tempted to shoplift the pendant she's been wearing from a store back in Japan, primarily because she knew two of her other friends had successfully stolen things they'd wanted like that before and was tempted to try it out for herself. She'd already been deeply regretting it before the Pyramid started judging people, causing her to panic at the prospect of getting killed herself...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Red Dead Redemption II: Micah Bell III, to anyone who listens to him, as anyone who gets close to him seems to be infected by his unscrupulousness and love of pointless violence. Unfortunately, this includes Dutch van der Linde, whom Micah is able to turn from A Father to His Men to a paranoid wreck who drives away everyone actually loyal to him and terrorizes civilians just because. Dutch himself is also one to his crew, as while he does care about them and saved most of them from bad situations, he also keeps them in his gang and prevents them from seeking honest work, which strains their non-gang relationships (i.e. Arthur and Mary Linton) and puts them in unnecessary danger because he himself has no real desire to go straight. By the end of the game, most of them have realized this and fled the gang to start new lives away from Dutch's manipulations and delusions.
  • SaGa Scarlet Grace: Played for Laughs in Leonard's Story, which is essentially a MST3K-esque riff on the main scenario. It seems that Leonard being an unrepentant troublemaker and serial prankster eventually rubbed off on the other main characters and changed them for the worse: Urpina became a Royal Brat that caused endless grief for the members of her house, Taria developed a new aesthetic sense described as "somewhere between 'astonishing' and 'appalling'" and Balmaint's new appearance is such a departure from his previous look that barely anyone recognized him without a lengthy introduction first.
  • Scarlet Hollow: Becka spends the majority of Episode 2 insulting the adults who are trying to prevent her and her friends from hanging out in an abandoned mine, and readily belittles her friends as well. She can even nearly get them all killed by triggering a shaft collapse.
  • Yandere Simulator: Osoro Shidesu 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 showing up late to class on purpose, threatening other students, and disrespecting the teachers because they were following her example. But that same video reveals that, prior to becoming delinquents, those kids were being bullied so badly that they were seriously contemplating committing suicide together, and the faculty utterly failed to help them due to lack of evidence (in spite of one of them literally having a broken arm). 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 when nobody else did, 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.

    Visual Novels 
  • Downplayed in Daughter for Dessert. The protagonist smokes marijuana and gets very drunk with Kathy, but there aren’t too many negative consequences from doing this, especially long-lasting ones.

  • 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 El Goonish Shive, Nioi believes that General Shade Tail is this to Lord Tedd, corrupting him with his Blood Knight tendencies.
  • 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. (Granted, Apollo's also a little slow on the draw so he may not realize how toxic his "friends" are.)
  • 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.
  • 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 regard 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.
  • 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.

    Web Original 
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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 Lampshaded 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.
  • Coyote is written as one of these to Rabbit in this retelling of a Native American myth from Myths Retold.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A recurring theme in The Veronica Exclusive is how easily Veronica falls victim to this. Back when she was a loner 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.
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • One of the main themes of Amphibia is the genuine but unhealthy friendship between Anne Boonchuy, Sasha Waybright, and Marcy Wu.
    • 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. And then, in the second season, she backslides hard, manipulating Anne's willingness to forgive her to stage a coup in Newtopia and offering her and Marcy a We Can Rule Together deal which Anne objects out of hand, ending their friendship. In the third season, Sasha finds Anne's diary and upon reading it, she finally realizes how much of a horrible person she was and wants to make up for everything she's done.
    • 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. However, the finale of the second season reveals that she knew what the Calamity Box was and what it did, and got the three stranded in Amphibia on purpose, not thinking about the potential danger or the fact that her two friends might not want to up and abandon their lives and families, not to mention the possibility of them getting separated once there, which indeed happens. She desperately tries to justify herself when she's discovered, but it's implied Anne and Sasha's horrified reactions gave her a much-needed wakeup call, and she does what she can to rectify the damage.
    • Anne herself is not immune, mostly thanks to Sasha warping her idea of what a friend should be. Anne was an Extreme Doormat to Sasha back home and can be a bit selfish at times, meaning she's capable of both following along with her friends, even when she doesn't agree with them, and of being the one encouraging others to do something ill-advised. In earlier episodes, she constantly drags Sprig into trouble, overriding him when he expresses reservations, often in the name of showing him a good time or achieving some goal. After all, Sasha did the same to her back home, and she only meant well for Anne—real friends push you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to do exciting things, even when you really don't want to... right? When one of her exploits almost gets Sprig killed, however, she's instantly remorseful and rescues him, and then apologizes to him for not listening to his concerns earlier. She makes a concentrated effort to be less selfish and listen to others more often, and spends much of the first season unlearning her unhealthy ideas about how friends treat each other. By the end of the first season, she's matured greatly and is Sprig's closest and most trusted friend—and she's finally realized that the way Sasha treated her was not okay, and tells her off.
  • Arcane: Mel encourages the idealistic Jayce to abandon his anti-corruption crusade and embrace his inner Sleazy Politician so he will stay in the Council's good graces.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Batman Beyond, the reason Terry has a reputation as a juvenile delinquent is because of his friend Charlie "Big Time" Bigelow, who tricked him into participating in a robbery that got them both caught by the police. Terry, a minor at the time, got 90 days in juvie, while Charlie got 3 years in prison. When Charlie gets out, he tries to rekindle their friendship but ignores all Terry's attempts to help him make an honest life for himself in favor of trying to corrupt Terry back into criminality. Unfortunately for him, Terry's character development holds firm and he's eventually able to realize that Charlie has no desire to go straight and only wants an accomplice.
  • 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 shows 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. Butt-Head is shown to be such a bad influence that only one meeting was enough to corrupt Beavis: after their encounter, he begins musing over the term "bunghole", how much he likes it, and even saying it in his Cornholio persona's voice.
  • 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).
  • 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). BoJack 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.
  • 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 any more help). But in the end, Lamilton proved to be too much of a hellion for Riley to handle.
    • This is the theme of "Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy": the dead Stinkmeaner explains that ignorant black people can form bonds around ignorant and stupid things, called "nigga synthesis" and when this combines with a "nigga moment" you get complete disaster. His old crew, the Hateocracy, were a bunch of evil old people who got off on making others miserable. And sure enough, them starting a "nigga moment" with Robert ends with Bushido Brown being decapitated.
  • Hilariously pointed out in Castlevania (2017). Among the heroic trio Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard, Trevor is a Sir Swears-a-Lot while his companions are (relatively) more civilized. After four seasons, Sypha, who spends her time together with Trevor throughout, and Alucard, who stayed in his castle instead of joining the two, both notice separately that they have become as coarse as Trevor, and neither is happy about it.
    Sypha: It's all your fault! You did this to me! ... You turn me into someone who says "shit"!
    Alucard: And God shits in my dinner once again... Oh no... I really am turning into Belmont. Is life even worth living anymore?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 refuses 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.
  • El Tigre has Frida Suarez, who acts like a mischievous conscience to Manny and convinces him to do the "funny"/bad thing as opposed to the right thing.
  • When Family Guy's Brian goes to rehab for his coke problem, his therapist points out that Peter Griffin 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.
  • In one episode of Fillmore!, the title character runs into an 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.
  • The Dragon Prince: The flashback that reveals how Viren finished the spell that managed to kill the dragon king showed he enabled Harrow's hatred of him for killing the queen, enforcing that he enabled some of Harrow's more negative tendencies with enthusiasm. Even after getting revenge, he quickly finds a reason to justify killing the child as well.
  • Subverted by Cherri Bomb in Hazbin Hotel. While she encourages Angel to join her in drugs and booze (in sharp contrast with Husk trying to talk him out of the same), she is ultimately accepting of the fact that he is trying to reform himself, politely declining his offer to join them at the hotel because she's satisfied with her life. The Season 1 finale has her join in with the Hotel's fight against the Exorcists, at which point she becomes the hotel's third patron.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart: This was how Badgerclops became part of the Thicket Thieves in the first place.
  • 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.
  • The Owl House: Boscha acts like this to her friends. As shown in Understanding Willow, Amity was forced to be friends with Boscha and gained many of her Jerkass tendencies from Boscha. As the series progresses, it becomes increasingly clear how miserable Amity is without real friends and leaves her as she gets character development. It is implied that Boscha mistreated her as well, thus giving her another good reason to leave Boscha's posse.
  • 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 Raccoons: In "Join the Club!", Donna acts as one to Lisa by pressuring her into smoking cigarettes and rejecting her as a friend when she refuses to do so. Near the end of the episode, Cyril helps Lisa realize that she's better off without her.
  • 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. Notably, while Benson has threatened to fire the two of them (or Rigby alone) countless times, he's only ever threatened to fire Mordecai alone once (in "Dumptown USA").
  • 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.
  • Rocko's Modern Life has Heffer be this to both his two best friends, Rocko and Filburt:
    • Heffer talks Rocko into things like a credit card (which causes most of his stuff to be repossessed, though Heffer does save face by buying Spunky the food bowl Rocko bought him) or roping him into buying an extremely expensive TV set.
    • As for Filburt, whether it's arguing with him or videotaping Rocko nude with him, he's this to him as well. When Heffer isn't around, Filburt doesn't act like this.
  • 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.
  • Sidekick: Trevor and Vana are this to Eric and Kitty respectively. To elaborate, Trevor is very happy to drag Eric into his troublemaking shenanigans and pin the blame on him for them, as well as generally encouraging Eric's misbehavior (given that Trevor's father is Splitsboro's top supervillain, it's easy to see where he gets his attitude from). Meanwhile, Vana basically treats Kitty as her slave and often peer pressures her into doing things she wouldn't normally do, like hurting Eric.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Bart Simpson is often this to Milhouse, to the point that one episode focused on Luann forbidding Milhouse from seeing Bart because he's such a bad influence.
      Bart: What's she got against me?
      Milhouse: She says you're a bad influence.
      Bart: Bad influence my butt! How many times have I told you never listen to your mother?!
      • Bart towards Ralph Wiggum, as well, nearly ending in the Mayor's accidental death.
    • 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.
  • Entree of Spliced is one to Peri. Many of Peri's less moral actions in the show were often the result of Entree manipulating him or outright telling him to do something bad (even convincing him some good actions are bad), with Peri's naivety leaving him oblivious to this.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Patrick Star'sterrible advice often leads SpongeBob to trouble.
  • This is what the relationship between Rachel and Sarah boils down to in YOLO during both seasons as Crystal Fantasy and Silver Destiny. They're both Hard Drinking Party Girls, but while Sarah craves affection and wants a purpose in life, Rachel is more or less a force of chaos that only wants to keep partying.
    • Crystal Fantasy's finale shows Rachel lost in a different dimension where time moves differently. Sarah believes Rachel's vanished and died, but is forced to admit she doesn't have any meaningful memories of their friendship. After nine years have passed and Sarah's started a family, she finally gets a call from Rachel who is completely oblivious to how distressed and scared Sarah sounds. Years and years later when Sarah's an old woman and dying, she mentions she had a best friend who "was kind of a toxic bitch" but they had a lot of fun together. Rachel seems to hear Sarah dying and sheds a tear as she admits to herself that she is indeed kind of a toxic bitch. This act of self-awareness and indirect admission of her love for Sarah sends Rachel back in time to the night she vanishes, and she manages to begrudgingly tell Sarah "I love you."
    • Silver Destiny shows even more evidence of Rachel being toxic, with multiple people admitting that they don't understand why Sarah is still friends with her. Their old teacher Sister Morrison outright calls Rachel a demon, and during an impromptu class reunion, Sarah's former friends reveal they stopped associating with her because Rachel was always so nasty and unpleasant. Rachel's also shown to be totally dependent on Sarah and gets incredibly pissed off whenever anyone implies that she's a bad influence on Sarah.

  • 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).


Vin Diesel

With friends like Vin, who needs enemies?

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / ToxicFriendInfluence

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