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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor

Toxic friends erode health

After yet another parent lecture on responsibility, sibling fight or break-up, there is only one person to run to.

At this point the word ?friend? possesses heightened importance, ranging from a refuge to a seemingly nameless body who exchanges shallow pleasantries while passing through the hall. However, all relationships have the capacity to either nurture or erode self-esteem.

While many assume friend’s opinions merely shape CD selections or clothing choices, a survey by nationalhealthmuseum.org (NHM) found friends influence health behaviors like drinking, smoking and seeking medical help for troubling symptoms.

In addition, they have ?effects on mood, self-esteem and coping mechanisms in times of difficulty, conferring a positive physiological effect on the body in the same way that stress confers a negative effect.?

The nature of a friend often dictates one’s own mood, but in some cases lifestyles as well.

According to the same study, a person with an obese friend has a 57% chance of obtaining the same disease. This percentage surpasses a sibling’s influence, 40%, as well as a spousal effect of 37%.

Some seem to recognize a friends’ impact, yet experience difficulty while identifying whether the relationship is potentially harmful.

NHM says “You should not sever your friendships…there is a ton of research that suggests having more friends makes you healthier.” Despite this finding, the emphasis should not be placed on quantity rather than quality.

Healthy relationship are often determined by the conversation and activities while together. Just as positive friendships boost confidence, morale and mental stability, negative bonds create stress, jealously and anger.

An article by Joy Stevens describes the nine warning signs of ?toxic friends?, characterized as a user, judge, control freak, betrayer, promise breaker, gossip, competitor, leaner or self-centered.

No one is perfect, but repeated offenses only cause harm. The ending of a harmful friendship seems daunting, however, the benefits outweigh the momentary pain.

Many seem unable to establish separation, either due to fond memories or years of investment. However, clinging to “good times” means sacrificing other friendships, emotional stability and self-esteem.

Although in the beginning, the loss of a friend can cause stress and an overwhelming sense of loneliness, those in such a position must focus on existing positive friendships. Strengthening those relationships eases the release into independence from the addiction of intoxicating friends.

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    Sarah SchonemanMar 12, 2010 at 6:54 am

    What an awesome view of Hong Kong. I never knew the city was so colorful at night!