Readers often ask me if they should break up with their best friend. They’ll run me through a list of offenses–she’s draining, she puts me down, she expects everything of me but never returns the favor–and then ask if it’s time to end the friendship. It’s not really a question I can answer. On paper, it seems pretty obvious. Someone who makes you feel bad about yourself all the time isn’t exactly a friend. But I know there’s backstory, and more to it than that. And while I write about friendship, and have come to consider myself pretty knowledgeable on the topic of making new friends, I’m not a professional in the accredited sense. I’m not a therapist. I can give advice, but I’m not a relationship doctor or anything. Just want us all to be clear on that.
A month ago, I wrote about Self magazine and The Today Show‘s new survey on toxic friends. The gist of which was that 84 percent of women say they’ve had a toxic friend at some point. A companion piece in last month’s Self offers a quick run down of the questions to ask yourself to decide whether or not should sever the ties.
Break up with her if…
– When you’re with her, you mostly feel drained or irritable.
– This is not a phase, but a regular pattern. Things have felt not-quite-right for as long as you’ve known her.
– You put up with the friendship solely to avoid confrontation.
If, for example, your friend annoys you sometimes but mostly makes you happy, if she seems to simply be going through a rough patch, or if you stick with her because deep down you love her and there’s history, then a break up might not be the solution. But if the relationship meets the criteria above, says Self, you might want to board the train to Splitsville.
It’s a pretty good three-pronged test. How do you feel? How long has this been going on? Why do you stay?
If you have a relationship that’s been causing you grief, maybe now’s the time to rethink it.
Are you in such a relationship? Do this mini friendship test give you clarity? What’s the verdict?