Take this quiz to find out if you’re in an unhealthy friendship — and what to do about it
A healthy friendship requires an equilibrium between individuals — where the needs of each are met.
Thriving friendships have many benefits including increased feelings of happiness, confidence and belonging. Paradoxically, a toxic friend will drain you, leaving you stressed, worried and anxious.
Founder of Smart Girl Tribe and author of The Smart Girls Handbook, Scarlett V Clark says: ‘Sometimes we accept emotional abuse from a friendship in a way we never would from a partner.
‘Friendships are tied to so many areas of our life — family, work and hobbies — so these negative feelings can permeate everything if you don’t do something about it.’
Take this quiz to reveal the warning signs of a manipulative, controlling relationship.
1. You have just got a promotion at work and you’re out celebrating. How is your friend likely to react?
a) She buys the first round and toasts to your success
b) She skulks in the corner and can’t quite bring herself to congratulate you
c) She’s too busy to come out and celebrate with you
2. Your boyfriend finishes with you during a Saturday night date. You call your friend to cry down the phone. Do they:
a) Ditch what they’re doing and come round with chocolate and wine
b) Say sorry but they’re round at their boyfriend’s and will call you the next day
c) They don’t answer, you leave a voicemail, but they still haven’t called you back 24 hours later
3. You’ve just had a night out with your friend. When you get home, do you:
a) Feel empowered and happy — she always makes you feel good about yourself
b) Feel relieved to be back home, it’s exhausting propping her up emotionally all the time
c) Feel insecure and down about yourself as she made fun of you in front of other people
4. Your friend calls up and invites you to a girls’ night in. How do you feel?
a) Happy and excited — you always have a fun time with them
b) Unsure — you don’t really want to go, but don’t know how to tell them
c) Terrible — you know you’ll be the butt of jokes and they make you feel bad about yourself
5. When you get tickets to a concert, your friend says:
a) You lucky thing, that’s amazing!
b) Nice — I got front row seats at the last tour
c) I wouldn’t waste my money
If you scored mainly As:
Congratulations, you have a healthy, supportive and empowering friendship! Your friend is clearly a positive influence in your life and will help you to flourish and be your best self.
If you scored mainly Bs:
There are a few issues you need to address with your friend that are bothering you and could be the first signs of an unhealthy relationship.
Take some time to talk to your friend about their behaviour and explain how it is hurting you, set an intention together about how you can move forward avoiding any further troubles.
If you scored mainly Cs:
You are in an unhealthy friendship and you should end it. Out of courtesy, you should consider talking to your friend first but, given your results, your friend is clearly detrimental to your mental health and overall wellbeing — so don’t feel guilty about leaving the relationship and blocking them on social media.
If you choose to talk to them beforehand, bring another friend along for moral support. You have clearly given them many opportunities and they have failed to rise to the occasion, but instead have tried to manipulate, control or hurt you.
Scarlett says: ‘Cutting an unhealthy friend from your life could be one of the most empowering and liberating things you ever do. It means recognising your self-worth and taking action.
‘Given that close friendships can still hold the same intimacy as romantic relationships it doesn’t make it any less heart-breaking, but ultimately you can only gain from getting rid of the toxicity in your life.
‘Healthy female friendships are full of joy and happiness, both of which you are fully deserving of.’
The Smart Girls Handbook by Scarlett V Clark is out now.