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Are You in a Bad Friendship? 6 Telling Signs

Friendship is meant to be a source of joy, support, and mutual respect. But sometimes, what seems like a close bond can turn out to be toxic and harmful. And this is more common than you might think: 84% of women and 75% of men report having been in a toxic friendship. If you’re starting to question whether your friendship is healthy, it might be time to keep an eye out for the warning signs and prepare to cut it short. Here are some telltale indicators that you might be in a bad friendship:

6 Telling Signs You’ve Got a Bad Friendship

Don’t let them continue taking your shine! Here are some instant red flags to look out for in any relationship:

1. Selfish Behavior

Is every meetup with this friend a nonstop discussion of what’s happening to them? It’s draining to have to focus exclusively on someone’s own life and needs when what you really want to do is connect. That’s got to happen both ways! 

Pay attention to whether your friend asks about you, listens to your concerns, or ensures your needs are met. A healthy friendship should feel balanced and mutually supportive.

2. Constant Criticism

Do you find yourself constantly on the receiving end of constant criticism from your friend? Whether it’s about your appearance, behavior, or life choices, negative comments can erode your self-esteem and happiness. If it’s happened long enough, you may find yourself second-guessing your own wants and needs because you’re afraid of their judgment. 

True friends uplift and support each other, rather than tearing each other down. If this isn’t possible with the friend you have in mind, then don’t let a mismatch in beliefs and perspectives bring out the worst in you nor them.

3. Competitive Attitude

Friendship is not a competition, yet toxic friends may display jealousy or competitiveness when you succeed or receive good news. Instead of celebrating your achievements, they may try to one-up you or belittle your accomplishments.

Don’t hold yourself back just to let them move forward. You deserve to live your life, too! A true connection, be it platonic or romantic, will always help you develop the best version of yourself.

4. Emotional Drain

Interactions in bad friendships can leave you feeling drained, depleted, and worse off than before. Friendships are supposed to be a safe space to recharge, Whether it’s due to criticism, manipulation, or constant drama, if you find yourself feeling worse after spending time with them, it’s a clear sign that something isn’t right.

5. Manipulative Behavior

How many situations do you find yourself starting off with a “no”, but then slowly conceding after? Toxic friends may resort to manipulation to get their way or control your actions. They may guilt-trip you, pressure you into doing things you’re uncomfortable with, or dismiss your feelings when confronted about their behavior.

6. Lack of Trustworthiness

Trust is essential in any friendship, yet toxic friends may betray your trust by gossiping about you, sharing your secrets, or failing to keep their promises. Feeling like you can’t rely on your friend or that they don’t have your best interests at heart is a major red flag. Remember to judge a friend by their actions, not their intentions.

Are You in a Bad Friendship – Or Are You the Bad Friend?

Before concluding that your friend is toxic, it’s essential to reflect on your other relationships. If most of your friendships are positive and fulfilling, except for this one, it’s likely that the issue lies with your friend rather than with you. Trust your instincts and prioritize your well-being by setting boundaries and seeking support from healthier relationships.

But if you’ve been experiencing a pattern of bad friendships, try and reassess the situation. Anybody can become a bad friend. What’s important is we learn to take accountability for the faults we have and rise above them.

Recognizing and addressing a bad friendship can be challenging, but ultimately, it’s essential for your own happiness and mental health. Surround yourself with people who uplift and support you, and don’t hesitate to distance yourself from those who bring negativity into your life.

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