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Friends should be warm, supportive, and fun to be with, right? Uhm…ideally. There are some “friends” who seem to make you feel miserable and guilty, or cut you down with sarcastic or insulting comments and then laugh it off. These are very toxic relationships, and it may make us wonder why we bother even hanging out with them.

While some “frenemies” should just be ditched, there are those that can be saved by a good heart-to-heart or the ability to handle their remarks. Read this article for tips.

How to deal with critical friends

It seems like this friend has the gift for zeroing in on the 10 pounds you just gained or how your new haircut makes your ears look bigger. When you look hurt, she’ll say, “Just being honest!” But this kind of criticism can be hurtful, especially if it is said in an insensitive way, or stems from envy and insecurity. She doesn’t want you to be better, she wants to make herself feel better!

The best way to handle this is to ask, “Why are you telling me this?” so that the conversation refocuses on your friend’s intentions and motives.

How to deal with a drama queen

She is always running to you with problems and expecting you to drop everything while you hold her hand. This kind of relationship is very emotionally draining and demanding—especially since she’s usually so engrossed in her own dramas that she never supports you when you need her.

The only way to handle a drama queen is to draw personal boundaries. If you’re not in the mood to talk, say, “I’d love to chat, but I really need to finish this report right now or I’ll be dead tomorrow morning. Can we talk at (name convenient time and place)?” You’re not shutting her out but you’re protecting your personal priorities and needs. Also encourage her to develop other friendships so that she doesn’t just rely on you to for help.

How to deal with competitive friends

You could be named Time Person of the Year and this person would still find a way to do something better—or make you feel that what you got was no big deal. Her life is always bigger, better and more glamorous, and you end up feeling like an underachiever. Over time, you may even develop a fear of failure,because you’re constantly trying to match her impossible standards.

Try making her feel aware of how her competitiveness is affecting you. You can talk to her directly, or try telling her, “Yeah, I guess you are so much better at things than I am,” then sigh. If she’s actually nice but isn’t aware of her actions, she’ll apologize. If she doesn’t then you know that she’s just after a sidekick. Ditch her now.

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