The signs of a toxic friendship can be hard to spot and even harder to break. Make sure you understand what it means to be a good friend and what it means to be a bad friend before choosing the right friends.
Behaviors and Traits of Bad Friends
There are certain personality traits and behaviors that indicate a bad friend. The fact that someone is a bad friend doesn’t necessarily imply that they are a bad person as well. As a toxic friend, you don’t have to put up with their negative behavior, but you also do not have to be mean.
Talks Badly About You to Others
You can count on good friends to have your back when they are with you and when they are not. When your friend says one thing to your face and another less kind behind your back, one of those things is a lie. The foundation of every relationship, including friendships, is trust.
Pressures You to Do Things You Don’t Want to Do
Teenagers experience peer pressure sometimes, but it shouldn’t be strong from their friends. A good friend might ask you once to do something dangerous or inappropriate, but once you decline, they will move on.
In this scenario, a bad friend might keep asking you to do it, embarrass you for refusing, or stake your friendship on it.
Takes Advantage of You
Friend who only hangs out with you or talks to you when they want something from you is probably not a good friend. This type of person knows how to manipulate others in order to get what they want, regardless of how it affects you.
Friends who consistently “borrow” from you and never return them, ask for money all the time, or only want to hang when they are seen together in public are taking advantage of you.
Spills Your Secrets
It takes a lot of effort to keep a secret, especially when it’s a juicy one. Bad friends have no self-control and don’t care about the consequences of telling your secrets. An honest friend would never intentionally harm you or embarrass you by spilling these secrets.
Constantly Judges You
Do you constantly hear negative comments about the style of your hair, the clothes you wear, or the number of followers you have on Instagram? If you answer “Yes” to questions such as “Don’t your parents have the money to buy you an iPhone 10?” or “Where’d you get your outfit, from the thrift store?” then you have a bad friend.
Friends who accept you for who you are accept you as you are.
Knowingly Gives You Bad Advice
A friend who tells you a guy doesn’t like you and suggests you ask him out is giving you bad advice. It would never be a good friend’s intention to put you in such an uncomfortable position.
Puts You Down
It’s important to distinguish constructive criticism from putdowns. If you had a stain on your shirt, a good friend would whisper to you about it and offer to loan you another shirt, while a bad friend would loudly say something like “Geez, Jen, don’t you ever wash your clothes?”
In a caring way, good friends do offer you their honest opinions. Friends who put you down without caring about your feelings are bad friends.
Every time your friend lies to their parents, you, or other friends, it’s bad news. People who lie constantly are selfish and do not care about the consequences of their actions. The person will never be able to earn your full trust, even if they don’t lie to you.
Drags Down Your Fun
If your friend describes herself as a Debbie Downer, you may be in a negative friendship. Although it’s normal for people to feel down from time to time, it’s not okay to constantly ruin everyone else’s day. It doesn’t matter whether they’re at school, a party, or just hanging out with you, a bad friend tries to drag everyone down with them.
Frequently Changes Your Friendship Status
A friend who claims to be your bestie one day, then swears you were never friends the next, can be toxic to your life. Changing your friendship status frequently shows that they don’t care about your feelings. You should be proud that your friends are part of your tribe for the long haul.
Holds Long Grudges
Forgiveness is a key component of a healthy relationship. Both you and your friend are human, so mistakes are inevitable. Those who care about each other will find ways to forgive each other and move on. It is more important for them to be worried about their own feelings than your friendship if you have a bad friend who holds grudges for weeks, months, or even years.
Never There When You Need Them
It’s important to surround yourself with people who want to have fun with you and support you in good and bad times. Someone who doesn’t show up when your girlfriend breaks up with you, when your parents divorce, or when your pet dies is probably a bad friend.
Consequences of Negative Friendships
Both the bad friend and the person they hurt can suffer from negative consequences as a result of bad friendships.
- It is possible for a bad friend to become lonely and isolated eventually.
- Your other relationships and other areas of your life may suffer as a result of the negativity.
- There is a possibility that your self-esteem could be lowered.
- It is possible to experience higher stress levels, which can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health.
- Negatively following their lead could have harmful or deadly consequences.
- By association, you could be viewed as a bad friend.
Notice the Bad Friend Warning Signs
If you want to end a friendship, you can do so at any time and for any reason, but as a good friend, you will want to find a solution that works for both of you. If someone you care about is displaying warning signs of a toxic friend, talk to them openly before making any rash decisions.
Do yourself a favor and move on if it’s clear that they don’t care or can’t be your friend.