'Like a grease mark on a white dress, some bad friends can prove hard to shift'

Have you decided who you want to spend your time with now that summer’s here and we are finally allowed to mix? This past year made me take a long, hard look at my friendships. Did it make you do the same?

If it did, here are my top tips for working out who you might want to delete from your friend list in real life, not just on your social media. Welcome to my “life laundry”.

Bad friends can be a bit like clothing stains but, unlike that household spray “shout it out” (other brands are available), I’ve discovered that post-pandemic you don’t need to have a bust up to get rid of someone in your life who is no longer bringing positivity to your table. We can actually just tell them.

Yes, you read that right – ghosting is not cool (we’ll get on to that in my next column) and with Covid effectively giving us a “restart” button, you might find that certain people who were once in your inner circle are actually quite ready to go, while others, like the proverbial grease mark on a white dress, will prove a little harder to shift.

If you are ready for a change of “friendery”, here are some examples of how to identify the pals you could easily live without and some examples of how to handle the “break-up”.

‘The time thief will often ring off without even once checking how things are with you’

1. The friend who never asks you how you are but constantly calls to tell you all about their lives, or latest dilemmas.

I call this type of person the “time thief” and you will have known them years. New friends wouldn’t dream of taking advantage like this, as they are new to your life and genuinely interested in how things are with you. The time thief, however, will often ring off after using up some of your precious day without even once checking how things are with you.

How do you deal with them? With absolute honesty. I use a 10-strike rule here. Get a diary, make a note of each call time (up to 10 times) and note down if they asked you anything about yourself or not (they won’t have). On the 11th time, pick up the diary, read them back the dates and tell them that you no longer have room in your life to be a soundboard for someone who clearly isn’t that interested in anything you may wish to talk about.

Several of my friends have used this on some people they’ve known for decades and, rather than try to change, they accepted it and went off to ring someone who wouldn’t criticise their selfish ways. The results prove you made the right decision.

‘Friend divorces are less common than the conventional split but are often as badly needed’

2. The jealous friend.

Suspicious that you might have a “frenemy” but are not sure? Then try this test: before a night out, invite said friend over to your house and come down the stairs in an unflattering outfit that you know does not look good, then ask them if it suits you.

The jealous friend will think all their Christmases have come at once and, hoping to grab all the attention if you go out not looking your best, will wax on about how fabulous you look.

Get changed, go out and dance the night away as they look on with envy – then be busy forever more when they call again.

‘When you get rid of the dead wood, trust me, you’ll be glad you did’

3. The old friend.

Sometimes, just like marriages, friends just drift apart.

Friend divorces are less common than the conventional split but are often as badly needed. You’ll recognise these types as you are really now only still in touch due to old habit.

They no longer bring any joy into your life and are actually the people you are more likely to find yourself arguing with – now this sort of irritation is a sure sign that it’s time to wield the axe.

And here ends my guide to brightening up your social life. However you choose to get rid of the dead wood, trust me, you’ll be glad you did. A few years ago, I ditched three old pals I’d been friends with for over 20 years and you know what… I never missed them at all.

So try my “life laundry”. Like all cleaning habits, it will be a bit of a pain to do, but you’ll be glad when it’s over. Let me know how you get on!

Follow Melanie online @MelanieBlakeUK on Twitter and @melanieblakeuk on Instagram.

Tell us if you agree – have you reevaluated certain friendships during the pandemic? Email notebook@reachplc.com


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