Alex's Antics

 

HOW TO SPOT TOXIC FRIENDS

The Bickersons

She's bitching about why he chose this restaurant. He's grumbling under his breath that he works longer hours and making dinner reservations isn't his job. Then one long silence. Uh, check please. Spending just an evening with leaves you stressed. Come up with something to say that snaps them out of it: "So, how about them Giants?" or "Wait... are you guys fighting so you can have makeup sex later? We knew it!" If that doesn't do it, say you'll be calling it a night -- they'll get a clue.

The Competitive Couple
They're the couple that uses every opportunity to tell you how great their lives are. While, really, you could care less if she got a sparkling diamond necklace, or that they're vacationing at a five-star, luxury resort in Buenos Aires next summer, or that he's having sex 10 times a week. But somehow you find yourselves playing into their one-up game. You don't need that kind of energy in your life or friends who can't be happy for you unless their lives are somehow better. Also, console yourself with the knowledge that a couple who feels the need to compete is insecure about their own marriage. Who knows? Maybe the only sex he's having... is with himself.

The Flirty Spouse
You'd think that once a person walks down the aisle, they'd leave a lot of their shady behavior behind. Nope. Some marrieds even feel that they can flirt more freely, playing it off like, "Huh, what? It was innocent; I'm married!" Funny, but if you're at a party and your friend's spouse is trying to give you a back rub while slurring in your ear that you're, "Soooo soooo ssssexy," it certainly doesn't feel all that innocent. Stay away from situations where the flirt is out of control (anytime there's alcohol involved). So if you're all out and see them start to get drunk and slide up to you, make up an excuse to go home with your spouse...for a private party.

The Jet-Setting Bachelor/Bachelorete
Over at the singles' table, your friends are busy being unattached, having crazy hookups, and moving to London for six months (just because). On one hand, you say to yourself, "Thank God that part of my life is over," but hearing your pal constantly talk about their entertaining life only rubs it in more. Change your perspective. You had your own days of swinging single fun (hopefully), but you were lucky enough to find someone to give all that up for.

The Single-and-Hating-It Pal
Maybe her last boyfriend cheated on her, or she recently got dumped. Maybe after a lot of bad luck with men, she just feels like she's never going to get married or have children. Yep, it's your bitter, single friend who's always complaining about her solo status yet doesn't want to hear that everything's going to be okay. If you're one-on-one and she starts harping about how lucky you are, mention how lucky she is -- with her career, her sense of humor, or hell, her gravity-defying boobs.

Phase Out a Toxic Friend

First phase: The E-freeze
Don't email back. Got a second message? Wait three days to one week to respond.

Second phase: The "three weeks from Tuesday" evasion
if the offender asks about your dinner plans, say your calendar is packed, but you can meet... then cancel.

Third phase: The "So busy" defense
By now, the offender may be on to you. Say you'll call once your schedule frees up.

Fourth phase: Full disclosure
Should the offender be unable to let go, you'll have to come clean. Really, who would want to still be your friend at that point? 

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