Today’s Health: Toxic friends? 8 in 10 people endure poisonous pals

Published: August 22, 2011 | Last Updated: August 22, 2011 By | Reply Continue Reading

In a survey conducted by The Today Show and Self Magazine, 84 percent of women and 75 percent of men admitted to having a toxic friendship.


The writer, Dianne Mapes, asked Dr. Levine to weigh in on the remedies:


Need help dealing with a toxic pal? Try these tips from Irene Levine:

  • Self-absorbed sidekicks: Change the conversation
    from him/her to you (which won’t be easy). Change the subject and/or
    explicitly tell your narcissistic friend that you need and deserve their
  • Chronic downers:  Set firm boundaries and tell
    him/her your limits (and enforce them!). Also encourage them to befriend
    other people — as in, spread the misery over more friends.
  • Overly critical chums: Have confidence
    in your own values and opinions. Also realize you may need to agree to
    disagree or else your relationship will be filled with contention.
  • Underminers: Recognize that this person is probably a "frenemy" and exercise
    caution, i.e., watch your back. Also, if the undermining is excessive
    and leaves you feeling badly about yourself, you may need to back away
    from the friendship.
  • Unreliable flakes: You may need to remind them of
    their commitments. Also remember, if someone is consistently unreliable,
    why would you ever rely on them?

Courtesy of Irene Levine, psychiatrist and author of "Best
Friends Forever: Surviving A Break-Up With Your Best Friend" and creator
of The Friendship Blog.


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