Dear therapist, 

My friends are driving me nuts. I am all about friendship and I don’t like being critical of my friends but they have no trouble saying horrible things about each other, and me for that matter. I sound like I’m in my teens but the worst part is, I’m in my 40s! 

What can I do to make friendship a healthier thing?

I love that you’ve asked. Of course you sound like you’re in your teens— we all have inner-teenagers on some level. You could start by showing them this correspondence. Take responsibility for any of the critical talking you may do. It’s easier to critique than to praise and friendship culture sometimes needs a revamp. You could start by saying something generous— comment on what you like and appreciate in them. If there’s an ongoing negativity I think it helps to make your feelings about it clear. 

You value friendships and you value the quality of your relationships and it’s a horrid feeling to sense that you’ll be disparaged the second you leave the room. Own the fact that you want more kindness in your life — giving and receiving. 


Charlotte Fox Weber is a verified Welldoing psychotherapist and the author of What We Want: Understand Your Deepest Desires and Live a Fuller Life