Are Toxic Friends Bringing You Down?

Do you have a Chronic Downer or an Underminer in your life? Time to let her go!
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A worried woman

When these five types of toxicity show up, they do so in abundance: 65 percent of women reported having a Narcissist as a friend, 59 percent a Chronic Downer, 55 percent a Critic, 45 percent an Underminer, and 37 percent a Flake. That’s a lot of toxic friends! Furthermore one-third of all the women surveyed actually said that their toxic friend was also their best friend. Surprising, though not as surprising as the number of people who admit to staying in a bad friendship just because it felt too hard to end it. The number? 83 percent. Wow.

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Now, here’s the big question: Do we actually need these venomous pals in our lives? The answer may be yes; often, a close friend’s good points will outweigh the bad. But how do you know when it’s time to let a toxic friend go?

Lucy Danziger, SELF’s Editor-in-Chief, says, “Women deal with stress from all over—the economy, their families, their bodies. Friends should be a source of strength, support and positive emotional well-being. If a friendship adds to the overall anxiety you’re feeling, it may be that you owe it to yourself to make a change there.” has some tips that may help you figure out whether it’s time to fish or cut bait. It’s not pleasant, but sometimes, it’s just what needs to happen—for everyone’s sake.

What about you, readers? Do you have a House, Moaning Myrtle, Buttercup, Hilly, or Phoebe in your life?

Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s associate editor.

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0 thoughts on “Are Toxic Friends Bringing You Down?

  1. I have a friend(!) who’s about 10 years older than me (I’m 51 and she’s 62) and I’m not sure which of the 5 categories she fits…I think it’s a coin toss between Critic and Chronic Downer. I’ve gotten to where I purely hate to talk to her sometimes; besides the fact that she interrupts and jumps to conclusions before hearing the whole story, she rarely validates my feelings and even says stuff to make me worried or stressed out (adding, “I don’t mean to worry you” or like that). Half the time I go to her with a problem and come away feeling worse than I did before, and my blood pressure up about 10 pts. (at least!)

    Sometimes I’d really like to drop her. I love her like a sister and she CAN be fun at times. She has a lot of health problems and really not very many friends and at times we have been there for each other. Other times, I wonder if this is a friendship even worth keeping.

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