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How To Spot Toxic Friends

We’ve all had toxic friends. After you spend time with them, you feel down and deflated. You start doubting yourself and your choices. You’re wondering what happened to the wonderful evening you were looking forward to and why you feel like you’ve just unloaded a truckload of bricks.

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Here’s the good news: we get to choose our friends. We can decide how much time we want to spend with them or if we should let go of the friendship completely. But before we make that choice, how do we spot the toxic friends in our lives?

You feel tired after you’ve spent time with them

All of us have bad days now and then, but if you’re consistently feeling exhausted after spending time with someone, it’s a sign of a one-sided exchange. You’re spending a whole lot more energy than what you’re getting back and it feels like your time together is sucking the life out of you.

They see the negative in everything

If your friends are always complaining about their own situation and seeing the negative in everything you do, it’s a really good idea to limit your interactions. There’s only so long you can pretend to be entertained and not let their negative comments affect you.

It’s always about them

There’re many ways selfishness can show up. Maybe you know someone who always talks about themselves and when you finally manage to get a word in, they don’t seem interested. Perhaps they’re always late, or they change the arrangements you’ve made at the last moment because “they don’t feel like it,” but then get upset if you do the same. Whatever it is, if you don’t feel like there’s balance in your relationship, you don’t have to keep on falling for it.

They gossip

Are they telling you revealing stories and unkind things about their other friends? There’s a good chance that they’re doing the same behind your back.

You don’t feel safe around them

Do you watch every word you say for fear of being put down? Do you withhold your positive news because your friend might be jealous or negate your achievements? If you can’t relax in your friends’ company and you have to work hard to keep everyone happy, that would drain a lot of energy out of you.

You don’t have to break up with all of your toxic friends. In fact, no one is 100 per cent bearable all of the time. But being aware of what is really happening in your friendship will help you to decide just how much toxicity you’re willing to put up with, and when it’s time to let go.

Image via Pixabay

Should You Encourage Your Partners Bromance?

The bromance is a weird phenomenon isn’t it? It’s basically when heterosexual men have a platonic affair with a male friend. They chat on the phone like teenage girls, get excited about seeing each other and being able to spend time together. Plus some get pretty physical like play fighting, wrestling, slapping butts, hugging and kissing. It can be a lot like dating except your partner has another man not a women and there’s nothing sexual about it. I did say it was weird! The question is though should women encourage their partners bromance?

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Now having witnessed a few in action, elements of intimate relationships are present. They have highs and lows and peaks and valleys and sometimes there’s arguments or even fights. There are positive bromances which are supportive, but also negative ones which can potentially cause your relationship harm. So as you’ll read, not all bromances are created equal.

The positive bromance

These bromances are great and should be encouraged. Together men enjoy playing sport or watching a game, jamming, fixing things, hanging out, helping each other and will provide mutual support. In fact they maintain good mental and physical healthy. Plus if it makes him happy, it will be good for you in the long run.

When it comes to lifestyle, it can be tricky to have a positive bromance if one has a partner and the other doesn’t. Regardless of how well they get along or try to include you, it can lead to relationship issues between the two of you.

If your partner has a bromance with a single friend you’ll need to look at the individuals and the situation. If the friend respects you, your relationship and doesn’t encourage your partner to push boundaries, you’ll have nothing to worry about. Just because the other man is single doesn’t necessarily make him a bad influence.

Encourage the friendship by giving your partner the freedom to enjoy it. Men need to have good friends to discuss their problems and relationships with just like women do. If you find he is spending all of his free time with his friend, establish some boundaries about getting alone time together. If they have a partner or kids, encourage the families to mingle.

The negative bromance

When the bromance is negative, the two men just aren’t good for each other. They may drink too much together, gamble or engage in other behaviours that lead to relationship problems. This will often lead to altercations between the two of them as well. If your partner has continuous problems within the friendship, it’s usually a negative bromance.

Other signs can include if the friend disrespects you, treats you as an inconvenience, wants to spend all their time alone with your partner regardless of set boundaries, or encourages them to cheat on you.

They would like nothing more than to see the two of you split up so they can have your partner all to themselves. Their motives aren’t what good friends wish for each other and are purely selfish. Your partner may not see the friendship for what it is so you have two choices.

The first is to discourage the bromance. Your partner may be unaware of what’s going on and want to continue the friendship, so be aware of opposition. You’ll likely be seen as the bitch for not letting them spend time together. This has the potential to make it stronger and prolong the inevitable, so tread carefully.

The second option is to let the relationship run its course. Explain that you’re not keen on this person but understand your partners need for friendship. You never know, this person may have entered your partners life to teach them something, as negative experiences often do. Don’t encourage the bromance, but don’t discourage it by denying the friendship. Everyone deserves the right to make their own decisions even if they turn out to be mistakes.

After a time your partner will likely become bored, frustrated or aggravated with a negative bromance. This is when they generally end as abruptly as they begin. Be available when they experience the disappointment of their friendship not working out and treasure your time alone together until the next one comes along, as they often do.


Friends Are Like Lovers – Minus The Smarts And Looks

Good listening and communication skills, loyalty, and a sense of humour – these are the basic building blocks for long lasting relationships – not only of the romantic variety, but friendships too, according to eHarmony. In the second instalment of the online dating site’s Relationship Study, friendships come under the spotlight, focusing on the qualities that make for strong bonds, similarities between friendships and romantic relationships, and perceptions of best friends.

Friends are same as partners – sort of

eHarmony’s study finds that Aussies ultimately seek the same qualities in a friend as they do in a partner, with good listening skills and loyalty topping the list as the most valued qualities in both relationships. This also shows that a foundation based on friendship is essential to long-term romantic relationships. In fact, the study found that nearly 90 per cent of Aussies think a partner should actually be a best friend.

As for the differences, it seems it takes more to qualify as a partner, with Aussies preferring intelligence, attractiveness, strong morals and a hard working attitude much more in a romantic partner than friend. The only qualities we value more in a friend are a supportive nature and good listening skills.

Commenting on the findings, eHarmony’s Marie-Claire Ducharme Sayers says that the qualities we seek in a friend are not far off from what we seek in a romantic partner: “Our study finds that a solid foundation based on compatibility, trustworthiness and good communication is key when it comes to important relationships, whether it be with a best friend or a partner.”

Top qualities that make for good relationships:

Friend Partner
Good listener 76% 73%
Loyalty 75% 81%
Good communicator 60% 70%
Funny 60% 65%
Empathetic 59% 63%
Supportive 57% 65%
Fair 51% 53%
Good shoulder to cry on 51% 49%
Good moral compass 50% 62%
Smart 31% 50%
Hard worker 15% 46%
Attractive 4% 47%


Friendly facts

When looking at friendships more broadly, the research shows more than ninety percent of Aussies believe it’s better to have one friend than 10 acquaintances, with the majority (88 per cent) realising that some friendships are not meant to last forever.

eHarmony Relationship and Dating Expert Melanie Schilling says this is a trend that has come out of social media sites creating shallow connections. “With the rise of online networking, hundreds of thousands of interactions occur by the minute. But our research reveals we are overwhelmingly seeking deeper, more meaningful relationships with a core group of friends.”

“Although social communication is easier than ever before, our capacity for maintaining emotionally close relationships is finite. And while this number may vary from person to person, what holds true in all cases is that quality relationships, founded on compatibility, loyalty and empathy, are most important,” Schilling said.

When it comes to best friends, those aged 18 to 24 have phased out the notion of having a single best friend, instead defining this as a tier of people (75 per cent) – a feeling that consistently diminishes as people age.

Interestingly for some, work seems to double up as a social hub, with more than 60 per cent of Aussies having met some of their best friends in the workplace.

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