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Making friends is really hard. However, putting the work in to find your perfect fit is better than being stuck with the Barbie Doll Friend.

With thousands of comments and hundreds of thousands of likes, TikToker and podcaster Brandon Edelman’s (also known as @bran_flakezz) video coining the “Barbie Doll Friend” term has taken the platform by storm, sparking conversation and self-reflection from viewers and commenters. But what is a Barbie Doll Friend? Sadly, it has nothing to do with the Barbie movie.

As mentioned in the viral TikTok, posted on May 14, the Barbie Doll Friend is the type of friend who gets possessive over one specific friend for a few months or so, before eventually — just as children get tired of their toys — dropping that friend and picking up another “Barbie doll” to obsess over. (Think of Toy Story when Andy drops Woody for Buzz, tragic.)

Pulling from his own experience, Edelman explains the Barbie Doll Friend as such: “Those [kinds] of friends are scary because you will always be disposable to them,” he says. “They hyperfixate and idolize [one] friend, they end up, honestly, a lot of times, copying that friend, trying to be that friend.”


the barbie doll theory of friendship relatable friendship barbiedolltheory

♬ original sound – bran_flakezz

The end of the friendships tend to happen on bad terms, with a blowup fight or a sudden cutting off of all contact, but it never seems to matter to the Barbie Doll Friend. After all, a Barbie is disposable; they’ll find another plaything in no time… In fact, they probably already have their next shiny toy ready and waiting for them. 

Just because the Barbie Doll Friend is called the Barbie Doll Friend, this does not mean it’s exclusively something young girls do. Whoever you may be, you have the possibility of being the Barbie Doll Friend… or the Barbie.

I’ve been the Barbie, and it’s not fun. You’re left questioning yourself: “What did I do wrong?” “I thought we were friends.” “Am I that replaceable?” And since the Barbie Doll Friend often isolates their Barbie from the rest of their friends, once the friendship ends, you feel like you can’t share your thoughts and feelings with anyone else — you’re left alone, trying to piece it all together.

Many in the comments of Edelman’s video have shared their own Barbie Doll Friend stories. “This is so validating that this is a universal experience,” TikToker @lil_.yapper wrote. “AND THEY’RE SO MEAN WHEN THEY’RE OVER YOU,” @perhapsbrooke added. And for those looking for some advice on how to avoid the Barbie Doll Friend, @r1verrap1dz commented, “Pro tip y’all if someone says ‘I don’t know why all my friends leave me after a while… you probably will too’ go head n leave just then.”

Other commenters shared some iconic examples of “Barbie Doll Friends” from pop culture, including Alison DiLaurentis from Pretty Little Liars and Felix Catton from Saltburn (that haunting line, “He’ll get bored of you,” must have really hit home for the masses).

It seems that being the “Barbie Doll Friend,” or being the Barbie doll, is a somewhat common experience — past generations went through this too; they just called them things like “fair-weather friends” or members of the “friend of the month club.” Whatever you call it, the “Barbie Doll Friend” is a type of friendship that’s honestly pretty toxic, no matter how cutesy it may sound.

Eliza Disbrow

Washington '26

Eliza Disbrow is a sophomore at the University of Washington with a plan to major in European Studies with a double minor in Spanish and business. Eliza is a writer, covering a variety of topics, from music, to books, to anime. Beyond Her Campus, Eliza serves as the co-vice president of the University of Washington Euro Club. In her free time, Eliza can be seen taking in the sights of Seattle on any of the available forms of public transportation, normally with a book in hand and headphones in her ears. She plays guitar and bass, mainly as an excuse to play either Fall Out Boy or Ghost to family and friends.