03/27/2012 01:48 EDT

Breaking Up With Toxic Friends: A How To Guide

We've all had them -- the friends who take more than they give, who leave us feeling drained and resentful or who are constantly bailing on plans. According to recent research, up to 84 per cent of women and 75 per cent of men said they'd had a toxic friend in their lives. And worst of all? They might not just be making you feel badly; they could even be making you sick.

In the video above, author Melissa Kirsch ("The Girl's Guide To Absolutely Everything") details the ways to ease a friend out of your life, keeping hurt feelings at bay as best you can. She recommends a "slow fadeout" instead of a dramatic breakup talk, both to be respectful and keep the door open for the possibility of a future friendship.

Interestingly, both Kirsch and other experts encourage white lies in order to extricate yourself from the relationship. Making excuses like telling the friend that you're busy and can't get together are meant to protect their egos, but take a decidedly less than direct approach to the whole situation.

And as for advice on what to do if you're on the receiving end of the defriending? There's nothing you can do, advises Kirsch. "If somebody wants to break up with you, just like a romantic relationship, you don't want to stay with them."

SEE: The types of toxic friends. Which ones did we miss? Let us know in the comments or at @HuffPostCaLiv:

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