How to Get Rid of Toxic Friends

We all have them. Those fair-weather friends who want you to give 110%, rarely reciprocate, and don't take a hint when you try to sever ties. It sounds harsh, but if they're bringing you down, maybe it's time to give them the boot once and for all. We asked consultant Janet Banks, a downsizing expert, how to properly fire a few common frenemies.

The G-Chatter. If your day is spent dodging IMs about her latest diet when she bailed on that reference you needed her to write, don't just block her screen name. Businesses have performance standards, and the same goes for friendships. Enumerate grievances about how she's failed you. Then keep your good friends close, like these famous celeb best friends.

The Facebook Stalker. She could mistake your de-friending as a computer glitch instead of a purposeful deduction from your friendship payroll. Being straightforward is important. The first time I handled mass layoffs, I practiced with a colleague. After I finished my spiel, he said, "I still have a job, right?" I had tried to soften the blow so much that I hadn't been clear.

And before you're quick to judge, take this quiz to find out if you're a good friend.

The Casual Encounter. A good boss will fire the intern with the same professionalism she'd use on a veteran employee. If you've had it with your running buddy, tell her that you've decided to go in another direction - and hand her the name of another runners' group she could try. Did you know that some friends can even be harmful to your waistline?

Do you have any toxic friends? How would you handle the situation?

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Reprinted with Permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.