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.

RELATED: The 8 Most Annoying People In Your Life

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

May 14, 2015

The right (wo)man for the job (contd)

Beware of negative people”Never accept someone’s negative opinion of you because it will drain you of your strength,” warns Sarina. “Have the positive attitude that whatever they say about you it is only their opinion.”

Quoting a well-known phrase she says, “It’s not what happens to you but what you do about it that counts.”

When as a child Ms Russo was teased for her Italian-style salami and Parmesan cheese sandwiches she didn’t dwell on whether the treatment was fair. She simply saved up her pocket money to buy a jar of vegemite to make her own sandwiches. When a bank turned her down for a loan to buy her first building – despite her success at that stage – she went to another bank.

Job seekers need to be well prepared

While a positive attitude is vital to the job hunt so is discipline, says Sarina.

“If you are going to an interview with a biscuit company then you need to research all you can about the company, the industry and their competitors. You need to give some thought to why you would be an asset to that particular organisation.”

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

“When I started my school (in 1979) I was a fired legal secretary so I needed a qualified teacher to help me develop the curriculum. I am not threatened by someone having specialist skills I do not,” says Sarina.

“As a business leader, you need to have a group of talented people around you that represent different areas of expertise then you as the leader must unify that group as a team.”

However, Ms Russo says everyone needs help from time to time no matter what level they are out so don’t be afraid to ask for it whether it be from family, friends or colleagues.

Look the part

Dress the part. Make sure everything you wear is cleaned, iron and neat. Take care with your appearance. You don’t need to spend a fortune to ensure you hair looks good, your nail polish isn’t chipped and your good health shows on your face.

Be an A+ person

Do everything with energy and enthusiasm. Always answer the telephone with a smile so it will transfer to your voice. Use a firm handshake; deliver on your promises and value honesty and integrity.

Celebrate your wins

Sarina celebrates all her big wins at the Sarina Russo Group with lavish parties for staff. She urges individuals to reward themselves too whether that is a cheap and cheerful dinner with friends or a massage, facial or new piece of clothing.

Sarina Russo spoke to Kate Southam, editor of Go to for more career related articles. Send job hunting and workplace questions to

Sarina is also the author the motivational book: “Meet me at the top!” published by Crown Content.

February 3, 2004