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Ask HER: Toxic Relationships

Dear HER,

I’m a freshman here at UK, and I’ve already made a lot of friends in my classes and dorm, but I’m having trouble telling which ones are the true friends and which ones aren’t. How can I tell the difference between a good friendship and a toxic friendship?



Dear TiredOfFakeFriends,

Friendships are something every girl needs to take seriously. You’ve heard the saying “You are who you hang out with,” right? Well, take that saying to heart, because it’s absolutely true.

And, since you’re just starting college and making those new friendships, you want to make sure these are the friends who make you feel good about yourself and challenge you to become a better person.

On the other hand, toxic friendships can destroy you.

Here are some key characteristics to look out for when searching for a quality friend:

  • Genuine personality.  This is the first step to finding any good friend. You don’t want to make a mistake by picking a fake friend in college. That same friend may end up stabbing you in the back down the road. Fake friends tend to have a hidden agenda when befriending another person; friends who are genuine will actually be interested in getting to know you and wanting to hang out. These types of girls tend to be honest and care about others. Plus, they will definitely be easier to talk to than someone who’s fake.
  • Contagious positivity. Being friends with a Positive Polly is so much more appealing than a Negative Nancy. When you’ve got a friend who only talks about all of the things going wrong in life and is pessimistic about everything, it brings down your mood and starts to influence you and how you view the world. Find people who are enthusiastic when it comes to life, in general. Surround yourself with this kind of positive energy, because it will eventually start to rub off on you.
  • Always loyal. A good friend is supportive whenever her friends need her. Watch out for those friends who make plans with you, then flake out at the last minute or talk about you behind your back. You want a friend who you know will stick with you through thick and thin; someone who will be there for you whenever you need help or advice about anything. Most importantly, you want the friend who, if she hears people talking about you, either defends your honor or agrees with them (that is if they’re saying good things about you).
  • Doesn’t constantly take the spotlight. We all know at least one person that loves to talk about herself (honestly, probably more than one). While some of those people may have great personalities, no one wants to be friends with someone who only cares about what’s going on in their own life. Good friends will not only let you talk about your own life and problems, but they will actually listen and not tune you out until it’s their turn to talk. Avoid friends who only leave room to talk about themselves as this shows how little they actually care about you as a person.
  • Boosts your confidence. Toxic friends will do everything they can to crush your self esteem. They will find whatever they can about you, whether it’s how you walk, talk, dress, etc. and they will point out how it’s somehow an imperfection that you need to work on. This constant criticism will start to eat away at you and crush any confidence you have. On the other hand, good friends will do whatever they can to build you up instead of tearing you down. They will continuously compliment you, reminding you of all the good things you’ve got going on.
  • Quality versus quantity. It’s very important to realize the difference between hanging out with a group of friends as opposed to being in a clique. A clique is almost like an exclusive club that are often not real friendships; they’re based on the insecurity of individuals that lack the confidence to be their own persons. Instead, a group of friends are just girls who sincerely like one another and enjoy each other’s company. It’s not about how many friends you have, it’s about the quality of each of those friends. Think about it: would you rather be in a clique where in the back of your mind you’re not sure if they’re going to shun you the next day for no reason, or would you rather hang out with a group friends who expect nothing from you other than to show up and grace them with your awesomeness?

I hope these tips help you out as you start your first year of college. And, just remember that when looking for good friends, if you’re not a friend every day, then you’re not a real friend. It’s as simple as that.

Good luck!




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I'm a Georgia peach, born and raised in ATL, but ended up in Kentucky working towards a degree in Integrated Strategic Communication. Apart from marketing and writing for HC magazine, I'm also a runner, a former soccer player (knee surgery veteran), and a bookworm. The quickest way to become my best friend: bring me cookies n' cream ice cream or kill a spider for me.
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