Ever since the book came out, I've received feedback about how it's made women think about friendships throughout their lives, as well as who is in their lives now. The goal of this blog is to open up and create a dialogue about friendships: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Each week I will post my thoughts, experiences, as well as various articles, topics or quotes that I feel are important when examining female friendships. Please feel free to leave comments; I look forward to hearing from you!

Email me: survivingfemalefriendships@gmail.com

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Toxic Friends

Do you have a toxic friend?  A survey conducted by TODAY.com and Self Magazine found that 84% of women have had a toxic friendship.

An excerpt from the article:
"Just how bad are our so-called friends?  Sixty-five percent of you have been stuck with a self-absorbed sidekick (easily recognized by their fondness for the words "I, me, mine") while 59 percent have been buds with one of those draining emotional vampire types.

"I recommended a woman I knew for a job and she'd come in and you'd say hello and she'd sigh and grunt and tell you she had a headache or a back ache," says Lucia Patritto, a 53-year-old educator from Ironwood, Mich.  "We're a positive bunch at work, but she was like this emotional wet blanket. She wasn't just a pill; she was a suppository.  You could practically hear the Debbie Downer music.'"

It's no fun being friends with someone who is negative, draining, judgmental and/or self-absorbed.  It gets old very quickly.  However, sometimes we find it difficult to cut ties because we feel guilty and/or we feel there's no other option.  More from the article:

"Still, in all, we're a loyal bunch, with 83 percent of survey takers confessing they'd held onto a friendship longer than was healthy simply because it was hard to break up with a buddy.  

"The reason it's hard to dump a toxic friend is the same reason people stay in all kinds of dysfunctional relationships," says Dr. Gail Saltz, associate professor of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital and a TODAY show contributor.  "There's something in it that you find compelling or familiar.  Depending on the nature of what's going on in the relationship, you may feel guilty [about breaking things off].  Or it could be that the person has implied you need them in some way — that you would be a bad person to walk away."

It's not that we have no standards at all.  One in three readers say they'd call it quits with a friend who wasn't trustworthy."

If you're constantly walking away feeling worse about yourself, you may want to take a second look at this friendship and think about why you have this person in your life.  You can try and have a conversation with her about your feelings or it may be simpler to cut ties if the friendship is not providing anything beneficial.  The idea is to look at those around you and make sure the friendships are healthy and positive. 

Have you had a toxic friendship?  Did you end it?  Or are you still friends with the person?

See the full article: Toxic Friends? 8 in 10 people endure poisonous pals by Diane Mapes

Also see the video: Why do women put up with toxic friends?


  1. I've had a few of these. The negativity usually seems to stem from insecurity. I generally start off keeping quiet, trying to be polite. However, if the negativity (whether about themselves, their lives, me, or third parties) continues to the point where I start to dread hanging out with the person, I gradually begin to call them out on it - not trying to be mean or needlessly confrontational, but simply pointing out their negativity and making them justify it. It seems like either the friend recognizes and attempts to decrease their negativity or eventually gets tired of constantly being questioned (some people just like to gripe!). In the latter case our friendship tends to dissolve, usually leaving behind some bitterness. But it's still better than being tied to a truly toxic and negative "friend".

    What are your thoughts on how to break up with a friend? Let the friendship just fade away or have an actual "break up" conversation? I've always done the former but recently heard of a friend doing the latter. Actively breaking up with a friend seems very bizarre to me.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Blair! I think it depends on the friendship - some people try to have (like you wrote) an actual break up conversation, while others feel more comfortable letting the friendship dissolve. It's up to the person and her comfort level. However, both ways don't feel good and have their pros/cons. For example, having that break up conversation could lead to more hurt feelings or it could lead to a resolution.