Identifying Potentially Toxic Sisters

By admin, April 18, 2015

One of your jobs during sorority recruitment is to look for women who will inspire you, lift you up, help you grow into the woman you are meant to be. However, you often have just a few minutes to determine if the woman before you will be friend or foe.  How do you quickly determine if she could be your future enemy? To rule out potential sisters who are likely to become toxic, look for these five signs.


Watch for people who use negative words where positive words could be just as effective. For example, “I don’t want to go to the game because I don’t want to miss a friend who is coming to town” could easily be stated as “I want to see a friend who is coming to town so I will miss the game.” Watching for these negative words is a good way to understand the lens through which a person sees life. Is the cup half empty? For negative word users, it is.

☢  Complaining

True, a speeding ticket, a bad haircut, or a broken smart phone is an inconvenience. Certainly having experienced a traumatic situation or suffered a blatant injustice is worthy of discussion. But the way someone talks about any of these things can signal her perspective on life. Notice the difference between describing a situation and complaining about it: a complaint is layered with unfair expectations of your agreement. This type of communication can signal low self-esteem and other internal struggles that will not be beneficial to your friendship. Will she someday be complaining about you?

☢  Self-pity

Everyone feels sorry for themselves at times–it’s completely natural. But when people turn around and dump their self-pity on others, it often comes with negative energy. Do you feel that a woman is seeking your pity? A person who expects you to throw a pity party for her during the beginning of your friendship needs you to lift her up but will rarely return the favor. This is not a healthy, balanced, caring relationship. Avoid this person and her negative energy.

☢  Gossiping

According to Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, A Toltec Wisdom Book, “

☢  Criticizing

Carefully listen for critical comments. While she may be careful not to talk about other chapters, is she subtly insulting another person’s or sorority’s reputation? Is she judging another person’s family, hairstyle, choice of major, boyfriend, or accomplishments? A woman who will criticize others, especially at the very beginning of a relationship, often lives in fear that she herself is not good enough. She may criticize others so she doesn’t have to look in the mirror and make choices about becoming a better person herself. If she can’t do that for herself, she can’t do it for you. But she can be critical of you, right to your face, and that can be hurtful. Cut your losses now.

Keeping these “Debbie Downers” and “Negative Nancys” out of your circle of friends will help you grow, aspire and achieve your goals and dreams. Leave toxicity back in high school.

To receive the popular 7 Sins of Sorority Candidates, including 16 Must-Know Tips, click here to subscribe.

7 Sins Canva Capture


SUNDAY TOLLEFSON is an author, professional speaker, coach, and a leading authority on sorority recruitment. She is the author of RUSH RIGHT: Reveal Your Best YOU During Sorority Recruitment and the founder of SureSister.com. As a collegian, she served her Sigma Kappa Sorority chapter as vice president of recruitment and her campus Panhellenic community as a recruitment counselor. As an alumna, Sunday oversaw recruitment and volunteered for the Sigma Kappa Foundation‘s Scholarship Committee, among various other roles. She holds a bachelor degree in business management from the University of Washington and a master of business administration (MBA) from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University.