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Your lifestyle, your quirk
My best friend means a lot to me, but I’m starting to think that she isn’t really being a good friend. She makes me feel bad when she criticizes me. I am always there for her, but I don’t feel like I can count on her. What should I do?
Friendships can enrich our lives, but what happens when a friendship becomes toxic? Toxic friendships can take an emotional (and financial) toll on you. The first step is recognizing the problem. Then you can decide how to handle it.
“Are you really going to wear that?!”
If your friend is constantly criticizing you and putting you down, especially in front of other people, it might be easy to tell yourself that she doesn’t mean anything by it, or that she is just joking around. There is nothing funny about someone hurting your feelings, especially when that someone is supposed to be your friend. If your friend’s subtle or not-so-subtle jabs are diminishing your self-image, that’s not okay.
“Oh, I left my credit card at home, sorry!”
If you end up paying the entire bill every time your friend invites you to dinner, or if you never got the money for those concert tickets she promised to pay you back for, there’s a good chance your friend might be taking advantage of you. We all like to treat our friends once in a while, but if you end up paying for her meals and activities more often then not, that is a problem.
“I’m running a few minutes (hours) late…”
If you can’t depend on your friend to do what she tells you she will do, it can be a very stressful situation. She promised to pick up the birthday cake and help you decorate for the party, but she showed up two hours late empty-handed. An unreliable friend puts a burden on you because it’s more challenging for you to keep up your part of the friendship, plus you have to keep up her part as well!
“Why aren’t you replying to my texts?!”
If your friend demands all of your time and attention, it should give you cause for concern about the nature of your friendship. A friend who calls you multiple times a day and expects you to answer texts immediately – who then gets angry or threatening if you can’t respond – is not being respectful of your own time. These friends are often offended when you do anything without including them, and discourage you from having other friendships or being in a relationship because they don’t want to “share” you.
If this sounds like your friendship, it’s time to reassess the importance of your relationship with your friend. If you choose to continue the friendship, talk to your friend about how her behavior is affecting you. You don’t want your friend to feel attacked, so focus on your feelings and be specific when pointing out your friend’s misconduct. A true friend will appreciate your honesty. Whether or not your friendship works out, just remember that your friends should build you up, not tear you down!
Need advice about your career, relationships, style, health, or just life in general? Ask Melissa! Send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org