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“When we think about relationships, we tend to focus on our romantic partnerships,” says today's special gues, licensed counselor Jessica Baum, “but our friendships are just as important, and the quality of those relationships is worthy of our attention.”
A healthy friendship is built on trust, and you should feel safe. If your friend is the gossip queen or king, be careful. You might enjoy their company, but having a good friend means being able to safely talk to them without the entire town finding out your business.
No relationship is 100% equal or balanced at every moment. We all go through hard times and lean on each other when we need to. Friendships are intended to support you, not to be a battle field of competition. We should be happy about each other’s accomplishments, but what often happens in unhealthy friendships is a battle of “one-upping” each other. This is not the nature of a healthy friendship, and jealousy towards someone is not ever supportive.
We all occasionally speak negatively about someone or something that bothers us. When this becomes the norm and your way of connecting with your friend, though, it’s a problem. Not only is it very unhealthy, it also keeps you stuck in a negative cycle of toxic bonding.
Jessica Baum, LMHC is the founder of the Relationship Institute of Palm Beach and creator of the Self-Full™ method — a therapeutic path to personal wellness and freedom from codependence. Jessica holds an undergraduate degree from Fordham University and a master’s degree in mental health counseling from South University. As a certified addiction specialist, her focuses are chemical abuse, codependency, and anxiety. She is also a certified Imago Therapist.