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How to Recognise a Toxic Friend

1. Is this a person who always puts you down? A friend is someone who accepts you as you are – and allows you to be different, and to think for yourself, and to make your own decisions – without an explanation. However, if a person is demeaning or always puts you down, criticises your opinions, or the way you dress or look, then that’s someone to avoid as they’re a toxic friend.

2. Do they gossip about you? A friend is someone you can totally trust. You can share your deepest secrets, and say what’s on your mind – and they won’t tell a person or betray your trust. However, if you always have to watch what you say around a friend as they’re likely to gossip or let something slip then it’s likely that this person is a toxic friend.

3. Do they constantly mock and make fun of you? A bit of gentle ribbing shows affection between friends. But if they’re always making fun of you, or highlighting your faults, or attacking you in public, then they’re not a genuine friend.

4. How do you feel after being with your friend? Think about your answers to the following:

- Do you feel defensive when you spend time with them?
- Do you feel hurt or upset after spending time with them?
- Do you feel as if you always have to justify yourself instead of being “natural” around your friend?
- Do you enjoy their company or do you feel ambivalent?
- Do they undermine your confidence and self-esteem?
- Do you feel attacked and used after spending time with them?
- Does the friendship feel unbalanced and require a lot of work?
- Is it more a competition than a genuine friendship?

Note: If you recognize the signs of a toxic friend, then it’s time to move on and find a different friend. Being with this individual will wreak your happiness.

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