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Friend Or Foe?

Women, Beware Frenemy! crack

Going on holiday with your girlfriends always sounds like a great idea. But, like doing your own fake tan, the results can be hit and miss.

At best you’ll come back glowing. But at worst, you’ll suffer from being overly optimistic - and once you’ve seen your best mate close up for a fortnight, the flaws can start to show.

Moaning minnies
Despite the sunshine, lack of work and a regular supply of cocktails, some friends will always find something to moan about while on their hols.

If it’s not her mother-in-law or her man, it’s mutual friends or health worries. Basically anything to stop you blissing out on the sun lounger.

Relationships counsellor Gladeana McMahon says that friends who use you just to offload their problems and don’t ask you about yours may not be worth keeping.

“Friendship has to be a two-way process. It’s not only about what you give but also what you get back. We all offload our problems on to our friends from time to time, but are they there for you when you’re not so happy?”

Ego busters
There’s always one friend who can make you feel bad. The sort who always shows up looking great, whose children are well-behaved and never has to stress about her house being a mess - because it never is. While not every friend blessed with ‘perfection’ is out to get you, McMahon points out that some women do like to lord it over others.

“Some friends have a subtle way of criticising you,” says McMahon, “making you feel like you don’t look good enough, or they’ll use you to make themselves feel better. Often a pretty friend will go shopping with the not-so-pretty friend just to boost her own ego.”

Real pals will be honest with each other. If you’re planning on wearing a bikini to the beach that would look better on a slightly smaller lady, she won’t tell you to go on a diet. Instead she’ll talk you into wearing something more flattering and reassure you about all your good points, whether it’s your legs, your boobs or your bum.

Sarcastic sisters
If your mate makes you the butt of all her jokes while on holiday, it might be time to cut the cord.

“Dodgy friends often use humour to try and get away with it,” points out McMahon. “They’ll say things like, ‘Don’t give her a drink, you don’t know what she’s like when she’s had a few’, in front of a new man, or making some cutting comment in a jokey way.” So if your mate’s always putting you down in front of others and it makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s time to ditch her.

“Yes, there are in-jokes between friends, but if your so-called friend says something in front of others in a pub, club, or at a party which makes you feel embarrassed and uncomfortable, then she’s no mate.”

Constant put-downs can also affect how other people see you, says McMahon. “People may feel sorry for you or just think you’re a pushover and want to shake you into standing up for yourself.”

Wild women
Of course you want to have fun, especially while away from work and family pressures - but most people don’t want to go out every night.

“Letting your hair down on a night out with the girls is one thing, but work out if the bigger social life your friend is wanting is going to be destructive for you. If they’re out all the time getting drunk, how’s that going to affect your other relationships? Maybe you’ve got to be more assertive and say no a bit more.” says McMahon

Holidays are time to recharge your batteries and relax. Remember you need time for yourself - true friends will understand that. If you agree to go partying all the time to keep your mate happy, then something’s got to give.

Man magnet
Not every girlfriend can be good for your love life. Some women are great at helping you snag your man, while others put themselves first every time.

“If she’s run off with someone else’s partner before, there’s nothing to stop her doing it again,” warns McMahon.

“Some women can flirt with your man without harming anyone because it’s honest, open and innocent. It’s the stuff behind closed doors that’s more of a worry.

You have to think, ‘is this comfortable?’

If it isn’t, put a stop to it.”

Real friends will...

• listen to you.

• trust you and you’ll trust them back.

• enjoy sharing experiences with you because you have things in common and will share thoughts, feelings and history.

• be honest with you but in a supportive way, not a bitchy one, and will look out for your best interests.

• be loyal.

• offer to lighten the load of your problems if they can, helping out with the kids or doing favours for you without moaning about it. And if you’re a true friend, you’ll do the same for them.

• won’t put you down in front of others if they think it’s going to hurt you.

...stick up for you when others put you down, but tell you when you’re in the wrong and why.

• won’t let silly arguments get in the way of friendship. You’re both big enough to patch things up and move on.