Are you friends with a Debbie Downer? 8 in 10 people are. Here's how psychologists suggest you detoxify a negative friendship.
Researchers found that even though many of us say we wouldn’t put up with those horrible traits in a friend, the majority of us do often hold onto negative friends for life.
So, why do we stay B-F-F’s with meanies? Dr. Irene Levine is a psychiatry professor at New York University's School of Medicine. She says it’s hard to dump a toxic friend because their negative qualities instinctively make you feel bad for them and you feel too guilty to break things off. But experts warn being buddies with a toxic friend can be emotionally draining.
So, here’s how to detoxify your friendships.
First: Are you friends with someone who can’t go 2 seconds without saying “I?” Experts call that a self-absorbed sidekick. And the key is changing the subject to anything except them. The second they say “I”, or “me”, talk about something else. Over time, they’ll get the hint.
Is your friend a Debbie Downer? Experts say chronic downers crave sympathy, but they’ll be less likely to complain around you if they know you won’t give them that. So, every time they try to talk about how hard they have it, point out all of the positives in their life.
Then, if you’re friends with a big, fat critic, the next time they put you down, stand up straight, look them in the eye, and say “It’s OK that you feel that way, but I don’t.” Experts say critics thrive on people’s weaknesses, so if they know you’re confident, they’ll stop putting you down and move on.