As we go through life, it’s not uncommon to lose friendships as we get older. Our childhood “BFFs” that we thought would be our bridesmaids at our wedding one day slip away into the abyss of our memories. People who used to be at your house every weekend to hang out don’t even know that you moved out of your parent’s house and into a studio in the city. The friends who used to be the first ones you dialed rarely call your number anymore. As we get older, things in life change and many of our friendships don’t withstand that test of time.
When a friendship ends or has a rift, we’re more likely to blame the other person–calling them every name under the sun–than take a look at ourselves and ask if we’re the ones who caused the problem. According to Mayo Clinic, friendships are vital to our mental and emotional health–having a network (small, or large) of people we can rely on and trust truly helps us thrive as individuals. But, having a circle of jealous, toxic, and unhealthy people in our lives can take a toll on us–so, we push these people away. Sometimes, we don’t realize that we’re the unhealthy friend in the circle and our broken friendships can be the result of our poor behavior over time.
If you look back on your life and realize that you’ve lost more friendships than gained, it may be time to take a look in the mirror and do some serious evaluations of who you are and how you treat those who mean the most to you.
12. You’re constantly trying to change your friends.
If your friends with someone it should be because you love and accept them for who they are, not who you want them to be. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule–like, if your friend is going down a toxic, self-destructive path–but for the most part, trying to change your friends is a sign that you have some problems. Susan Heitler Ph.D. says that trying to change your friends without recognizing you, too, have shortcomings is a sign of a toxic friendship.
11. You try to one-up your friends.
When friends come to you to talk or ask for advice it means that they trust you enough to open up to you. That doesn’t mean you should try and one-up them and play tit-for-tat with your problems and situations. Suzanne Degges-White Ph.D.tells Psychology Today calls this kind of behavior a friendship rule breaker:
First up is the friend who seems driven to top every tale of woe you share with an even bigger and badder tale of their own. You had a lousy day at work and will be facing three unfinished projects on your desk in the morning; your friend had an even lousier day and may not even have a job to return to in the morning. Your tween-aged daughter didn’t turn in an assignment at school and ended up in detention; your friend’s teenage daughter is two months pregnant. These friends seem to work from the principle that their larger share of bad luck somehow “undoes” or “disqualifies” your own despair. It’s not even that this friend is trying to seek your sympathy—simply winning the “bad luck battle” is their goal.
If your friend comes to you trying to seek advice, or even just to vent, let them talk without you making it about you.
10. You aren’t present when you’re with your friends.
In the days of modern technology and every social media app in the world at our fingertips, it’s easy to be distracted by our cell phones when we’re out and about. If you’re the type of friend that’s always on their phone and “somewhere else” when your friends are trying to spend time with you, it’s a bad look. Why would people want to go out of their way to see you and hang out with you if you’re more concerned with what other people are doing on social media? Ditch the cell and be in the moment.
9. You’re judgmental in a negative way.
We always look to our closest friends for support and reassurance. Usually, this means asking their opinions on everything from an outfit choice to a job choice–the big and the small. While we expect our friends to be upfront with us and honest–which sometimes means hurting our feelings–we also expect them to lift us up along the way. A bad friend is someone who uses this opportunity to put us down in order to lift themselves up. According to psychologist Nikki Martinez:
“An unhealthy friendship is one that makes you feel bad about yourself. “The person builds themselves up by putting you down and is always pointing out things about you to make you feel badly about yourself.”
If you’ve ever put your friends down to make yourself feel better or looked at a friend’s bad situation to justify your own place in the world, it could be a major sign that you’ve been a horrible friend to this person–especially in their time of need.
8. You’re untrustworthy.
Obviously, we don’t want to be friends and close to someone if we know we can’t trust them. Gossiping and having a reputation of having a “big mouth” can drive a wedge between you and your friends. If a friend comes to you in confidence and wants to talk to you about something, they should be able to feel comfort in knowing you’ll keep things between you two–not tell the entire world. Suzanne Degges-White Ph.D. tells Psychology Today that many friendships end over trustworthiness. If you’re wondering if you’re a trustworthy friend, these are the signs.
Trustworthiness is comprised of several components, including honesty, dependability, and loyalty, and while each is important to successful relationships, honesty and dependability have been identified as the most vital in the realm of friendships.
7. You can never admit when you’ve screwed up.
Like every relationship, there is a person to blame when something goes wrong. Maybe you did something to piss your friend off–like judged her when she just needed someone to listen to her vent. When you do something wrong, being able to take accountability for your actions is a vital lesson everyone should learn in life. If you can’t ever admit when you’re wrong, and can’t find it in your heart to apologize, not many people are going to want to keep you in their lives.
Samantha Daniels, professional matchmaker and founder of The Dating Lounge dating app tells Bustle that a good friend should be able to admit when they’re wrong and “be able to take the blame for their actions.” If you’re someone who struggles with this, it’s something you need to work on.
6. You think friendships are competitions.
We all grow up with multiple friendships in our lives. No matter who you’re friends with, everyone has more than one friend in their life. If you’re someone who gets easily jealous and angry when a friend of yours spends more time with someone else, it’s a toxic habit that needs to be broken. Friendships aren’t competitions and you shouldn’t be basing the value of your friendship with someone off of their friendship with someone else.
5. You let your relationship take priority over your friendships.
Inevitably, we’re going to end up in romantic relationships throughout our lives. While our romantic partner is a huge priority in our lives and should sometimes come first, it doesn’t mean that you should neglect your friendships altogether. Many times, people in relationships have a hard time balancing their love life with their social life and, because of this, their friendships start to fade away.
4. You never go out of your way for your friends.
In many friendships, things are give and take. Sometimes, you give more, other times you take more–but at the end of the day, things are a two-way street. If you’re the type of friend that won’t go out of the way for the people you “love,” but, expect them to go out of their way for you, it’s a pretty obvious sign you’re being a sh*t friend. Sometimes you have to take the hour and a half commute to grab dinner with a friend closer to their apartment to see them–so what? You can’t expect your friends to always do what is good for you and never do what’s good for them. According to Bhavesh Joshi, creator of “Knowledge of World” organization:
These types of people will always ask for favors, but when you ask for a favor, they will always say no, or they are too busy. A true friend will always be there when you need him or her.
3. You’re flakey.
There’s a universal understanding in today’s generation–through memes and jokes–that flaking is a totally common and hilarious occurrence in friendships. Sure, canceling plans once in a while is not a huge deal. But, when you’re the friend who is constantly blowing everyone off and finding something better to do–or just staying home instead of seeing your friends–people are going to stop making plans with you altogether. And, being the one who’s left out is not a good feeling.
2. You don’t know how to be happy for your friends.
Seeing our friends succeed should be a feeling of sincere and genuine happiness for us. However, there are a lot of people in the world who feel threatened by successful and happy friends. If you look at your friend’s success and accomplishments as threatening and allow it to make you feel bitter towards that person, you’re not being a great friend. Sure, it sucks to see everyone around you moving on when you feel as though maybe you’re at a stand-still, but that doesn’t mean you should be a complete d*ck about it. Lift your friends up, don’t drag them down.
1. You mooch off of your friends.
There are going to be times in life where we’re in between jobs, or things are a little tight with money. Good friends will love and support you–and pick up the bill every once in a while. But, if you take advantage of your friend’s generosity and are stingy with money when the tables are turned–you’re wrong. Taking advantage of your friend’s and their selflessness while never being able to do the same for them is a sign that you’re someone who uses people and, not many people want to be friends with someone like that.