Lindsey Kelk
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Why do so many of us have toxic friendships?

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Why do so many of us have toxic friendships?

To celebrate the release of About A Girl, Lindsey delves in to the world of frenemies in this short story written exclusively for Cosmopolitan magazine.

“A few weeks ago, I was going through a rough patch with my Gentleman Caller and a friend, having sensed badness through the medium of social media, emailed to see if everything was OK. I confirmed that it was in fact the very opposite of OK and that I was sad and hurting and not nearly as drunk as I would like to be. Said friend replied with the following email ‘Well, it’s hard to be surprised and sympathetic because we always knew this was going to happen. We’re here if you need us.’

The ‘we’ referred to in this utterly heartless response was said friend and her new husband. Because what could be better for the recently dumped to pop round for a cup of coffee with the world’s most insensitive newlyweds? Especially when this lovely lady’s advice to me on my relationship, just before her wedding, was that ‘no one marries the amazing guy with the amazing sex – that relationship never lasts’. Can’t think why I didn’t want to sit in the same room as her and hubs while she told me how stupid I was.

Of course, this kind of toxic friendship is everywhere. We ladies often accept behaviour from those we consider to be our besties that we wouldn’t inflict on our own worst enemies but why we do it is a complete mystery. When I first got the email from my ‘friend’ all I saw was the ‘we’re here if you need us’ part and thought, well, that’s nice. And then I read it again and thought, what a bitch, no it isn’t nice. Because it really wasn’t. When I looked back over our friendship, I really couldn’t see a time this girl had been anything other than judgmental and unpleasant. She always had something snarky to say about the men I dated (including the time she turned to me, in front of my then boyfriend, and announced that I had to stop dating him immediately because he had made a joke she didn’t like. Which was thoughtful given that I’d only been seeing him for a few weeks and she was in no way putting my fledgling relationship in jeopardy) and she was never prepared to even consider my side of things. If a boyfriend had been treating me the way she was, I would have sent him packing months before, but I’d been taking this girl’s terrible attitude for years because, at the end of our lady dates, she would tell me how great it was to hang out and give me a hug. And once she helped me carry a Christmas tree. That was pretty great. But carrying a fir tree three blocks really doesn’t make up for constantly making someone feel stupid when all they really want you to do is make them smile…”

Read the full story at

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