I want to talk about good friends, and toxic friends. Please share your stories in the comments below, I’d love to hear your experiences.

I’ve spent most of my time the last few years with a group of friends I’ve known for 10 years. One of them, let’s call him A, has been the source of much unease the past few years. He’s never interested in me. In fact, he talks over me. He once asked how I was when i thought we were close and I started to confess that the guy I’d been seeing had raped me and he started talking over me about something else.

He’s a huge gossip, can’t keep a thing to himself. And I get the impression that now that I live further away and struggle with travel arrangements he simply doesn’t like me any more. He doesn’t want to accommodate me by doing things on the weekend or Fridays where I don’t have work the next morning so it’s ok if I’m late back. He constantly tells me that my journey shouldn’t take as long as it does because he won’t consider waiting and walking times. He barely listens to a word I say anymore, getting bored during the conversation and starting to talk to someone else. Last week I went invited to his house for a get together (a long journey back for me) and he said when I got there that I had to leave by.8.30 because he’d made other plans.

Over the last few years I’ve come to see myself as a boring person who no one would want to hang out with. Low self esteem for sure. He doesn’t find me interesting and we were close before, so I must be crushingly dull.

And then last night I met up with a group of friends that I’d known since school. And it just felt so... natural. We talked about both trivial things and deep things. We joked around and took nothing too seriously. Some of the things I said made my friends laugh! I can make people laugh! They were interested in me as much as each other. I felt validated. I value these friends so much. If moving back home means I get to see them again I’m so happy. I can be a person again.

I can’t cut the toxic friend out of my life completely because I still like some of the other people in that group. I can only try and minimise our interaction. I feel depressed when I come away from seeing him but I felt so alive coming away from my old friends. Truly, who you spend your time with can make a huge difference to your life.