Which friends are good and bad for you?

A recent study discovered that people who have 10 good friends are likely to be happier than those with less than five.

But how do you know if your friends are good or bad for you? What makes a good friend and how can you tell if your friendships are bad for you or not?

We spoke to Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist and author of Straight Talking, and Ingrid Collins, Consultant Psychologist at the London Medical Centre in Harley Street, to get the answers.

What makes a good friend?

We all talk about our friends, but what qualities actually go towards some mates being higher in the pecking order than others?

1. Someone you can count on: ‘It doesn’t matter that you may not see a good friend that often,’ says Linda Blair. ‘If you need them, they’ll be there.’

2. You feel good around them: ‘If someone energises you, rather than drains you, that’s always a good sign,’ says Ingrid Collins.

3. They won’t take offence: ‘You don’t have to worry about what you say around a good friend,’ says Linda Blair. ‘You should be able to disagree with them and it doesn’t matter. You each respect each other’s opinions and don’t worry about offending them or not.’

Many people assume that a good friend is all about having similar interests or being on the same wavelength, but not according to Linda Blair.

‘Being a good friend is not really about having shared interests. Having so much in common makes it easy to spend time with someone, but doesn’t necessarily mean that person is a good friend,’ she says. ‘That’s more what you expect of your acquaintances.’