We all know the ingredients that make up a good friend: they’re supportive, caring, great company and always just a text, email or phone call away. So how is it that those who don’t quite fit the bill end up scoring a spot in your social circle? Like a bad habit, these so-called BFFS aren’t good for you, but you keep them around anyway. But just like that hypothetical pack of cigarettes, you should really know when to woman up and toss them out. Here are our tips for recognizing which friends are toxic, and how to cut them loose:
1. Spot the signs
You wouldn’t put up with an abusive, controlling boyfriend, so why let a friend get away with it? Any kind of behaviour that makes you feel uncomfortable, unhappy or exhausted is a friendship red flag. Does everything that comes out of her mouth have the sting of a backhanded compliment? Does she guilt you into doing things you don’t want to do? Does it seem like she’s only there for you during the good times and MIA when things are bad? Is she self-absorbed, ultra competitive or a bad influence? If you answered yes to any of the above, you more than likely have yourself a less than ideal pal.
2. Come clean
When you feel ready to make the cut, instead of taking the easy way out (read: faking a move, ignoring her texts or blocking her number), you need to do the whole adult thing and be honest. This means sticking up for yourself, laying out how this friend makes you feel and giving them a chance to re-evaluate their unfriendly ways (try not to hold your breath for this one). Keep in mind: being cowardly and cutting them off cold turkey can only lead to an awkward run-in and a potential scream-fest.
3. Detach yourself
Once you’ve cleared the air, you can start slowly becoming less and less available to your wolf in friend’s clothing. Busy yourself with other things, like work, school and spending time with genuine pals. The more you surround yourself with things that make you feel happy and healthy, the easier it will be to see just how much your toxic friend was pulling you down. That way, you’ll be less likely to say yes when they call you up for that innocent coffee date.
4. Cut contact
Finally, when things have cooled down and she’s taken the hint, its time to press that Unfriend button, delete that number and get on with it. Let’s face it, life is way too short and stressful enough without wasting precious time on unworthy friendships. Keep your standards high and your friends list clear of anyone with the potential to hurt you, wear you out or drive you completely crazy.