Toxic Friend

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Hi, one of my friends that I have is becoming very toxic to me and I don’t know what to do.
She and I met over a decade ago when we worked in the same place.
She is on the one hand, tries to be nice, loyal, helpful if I have a difficult situation, knows me well, etc. but on the other hand, she is a very bitter, critical and harsh person- and lately doing it to me as well.

I can’t blame her, she is all alone except for her dh and her father (she doesn’t get along w/ her father). She has no children and no job, and has a hard life. However, every time I talk to her, she criticizes me, or the way I do thing, or she is the only one who knows how to do xyz, everyone else is stupid etc. As it is, I have low self confidence and this is very hard for me to take. For example- she’ll ask me how I make a certain dish, and when I tell her-she says in an amazed voice- ‘that’s how u make it. ugh’. (mind you, everyone says I’m a great cook.) And of course if she gives me advice or says I made a mistake, she says she tells me the truth to be helpful, because she cares- but she is so tactless, its almost nasty.
I don’t want to cut her off totally- firstly bec I feel bad for her, and also bec. then I will have no friends. So how can I become more immune to her comments?

A: It is time for new friends. While I don’t recommend a complete cutoff I do think that everything you’ve said indicates you need to find more people to connect with. Try taking a class, joining a group, volunteering, attending free lectures, etc. In other words, start increasing your contact and connection with other people so you have more choices. Once you have options it will be easier to deal with your friend.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 May 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Toxic Friend. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 17, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/05/19/toxic-friend/