We all know a friend who basically dates the same person over and over again – to her detriment – and that’s just one type of damaging relationship. Here are the ones to avoid, avoid, avoid…
Attraction to bad boys
Doesn’t call, you think he’s messaging other girls, he’s certainly liking other girls on Instagram – yep, bad boy. We all know the psychology behind it: wanting to be THE ONE who changes them. Spoiler alert, they rarely change, and if they do, it’s because they wanted to, not because you wanted them to. You can waste years on a string of men who give you just enough to keep you interested (the odd date), but refuse to make room for you in their lives. Know the signs, and avoid.
A controlling partner
If he doesn’t want you to see your friends, it’s a warning. If he wants to know where you are all the time, it’s another warning. There’s a line between being caring and being controlling, and it’s pretty obvious. You shouldn’t feel you have to sneak around behind your partner’s back, and you should question a partner who makes you act that way. Emotional, financial and physical control are all wrong.
An enabling friend
It’s fine to have your boozy friends, your walking friends, your good advice friends. Basically, we all have different people for different purposes, and that’s OK. What you shouldn’t have are enabling friends – those who encourage the behaviour in you that you know is self-destructive and you later regret. Whether it’s encouraging drink, drugs or simply acting in a way that feels uncomfortable to you, a good friend would never push you to act in ways she knows will bring out your less than positive side.
It starts with you picking up a bit of their workload when they’re going through a bad time, then them taking credit for a project you’ve done. Suddenly, you’re staying late and arriving early and you’re not sure why. Manipulative bosses can be even more destructive than awful bosses, because they can convince you things were your idea, or confuse you as to what is actually going on. It’s important to know your worth in the workplace, and have clear guidelines on what your boss’s role is. Don’t overshare, and don’t expect to be overshared to.
The me me me friend
You know those friends who leave you feeling worse than before you met them? And who sap your energy moaning about their own lives, never ask you about your own, and always expect you to be free to listen? That’s a damaging relationship. If it’s a friendship you value, have a frank conversation about how you’re starting to feel used or taken for granted, and how it feels less like a friendship and more like a therapy session. The way they respond will tell you everything you need to know.
Basically – spot the signs and steer clear. Get help with the Mental Health Foundation, if need be.
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Charlotte is a London girl through and through. She sweats through spin and puffs through Pilates to justify trying the latest restaurants and devouring copious amounts of sweet potato fries, burrata and bread – preferably on holiday. Her favourite destinations include Italy, the Maldives and anywhere where the sun’s shining and there’s a strong breakfast buffet. She’s obsessed with walking, visiting farmers’ markets and reading. She’s also learning to cook. Wish her (and her husband) luck.