How to deal with a toxic friend

Dr Jessamy Hibberd and Jo Usmar have advice on how to manage a friendship that might be doing you more harm than good

by Psychologies

Knowing you have people around you who won’t judge you and care about you no matter what isn't something you should take for granted - it’s also a great self-esteem booster.

You should nurture the friendships and relationships that are important in your life, just like you should be wary of those that aren't.

If someone is making you unhappy, and it’s really affecting your life then you have to deal with it. Avoiding the issue or putting off facing up to it will only make it seem bigger and more insurmountable.

Also, the things that annoy you or upset you about this person will become more annoying or more upsetting the longer it goes on, making it more likely that one day you'll just explode and say something you regret.

Dealing with a toxic friend

  • Talk to them about it. Organise a time to speak face to face. And yes it does have to be face to face, because you can't read tone in an email so things can be misconstrued
  • Explain calmly why you feel upset by their behaviour and listen to what they have got to say. Try not to confrontational
  • Leave it up to them to make the next move. The truth is, you are probably better off without them in your life, as hard as that is to hear. Unless they acknowledge what they've been doing, it's not going to stop. You don't have to accept their bad behaviour
  • If they want to talk, hear them out. Maybe they have some home truths to tell you too. You can then decide whether you want to keep them in your life, and either do or don't. It's up to you
  • If they don't accept any responsibility for their actions, then cut them out and move on. A toxic friend is no friend at all

Excerpt from This Book Will Make You Confident by Dr Jessamy Hibberd and Jo Usmar

Photograph: iStock

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