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Identifying Red Flags In Friendships

These signs are meant to help you distinguish whether you’re in a lasting friendship or not. In my experience, these signs do not necessarily pertain to all friends because every person and situation is different. It takes a long time to realize that there are friends who will come and go in your life, but it’s your job to decide who will stick around. Not every person will like your personality and the way you are, but you have to find the people that like you for you and don’t take advantage of your friendship. 

1.    Are you putting in more effort than you are receiving? 

     •    You find that you’re always the one asking to hang out, but they don’t ask you. (this doesn’t always apply; every friend is different)

     •    An individual that does not want to continue to be friends, may avoid spending time with you. 

     •    It is often difficult to distinguish your close friends from your acquaintances, which is why it’s important to recognize how much effort they are putting into you. 

2.    Do you find yourself more unhappy than happy?

     •    It’s difficult to identify signs of unhappiness when there are so many good memories from a friendship, but if you find that the bad outweighs the good, it may be time to distance yourself from that person. 

     •    Being unhappy in a friendship does not necessarily mean while you are with them, but more that you’re spending time crying or overthinking the friendship on your own time.  

3.    Have you been getting too close too fast? 

     •    This happens more than you would think; you share so much about your life and constantly hang out with this person, but it eventually leads to you both tiring of the friendship.

     •    Sometimes friendships are just not meant to be, and they only exist to teach you something or help you grow as a person during that period of your life. 

     •    If you want to save a friendship like this, remember you can always give yourself some much needed space; distance sometimes makes the heart grow fonder. 

4.    Do you feel as if they are using you?

     •    If he or she only seems to reach out to you when they need something (food, money, or your time) or have nothing else to do, this may be a sign they only want to see you when it’s convenient for them and don’t value your friendship.

     •    It may be hard to recognize you do this, but overtime, if you’re spending more time helping or taking care of this person than yourself, this may be time to reconsider the friendship.

5.    Are they not communicating when something is wrong or handling “fights” in an immature manner?

     •    Communication is key: if your friend doesn’t know how to communicate in person and your friendship mainly consists of online communication, then it is difficult to recognize whether the friendship can last in person.   

     •    If your friend is not apologizing or taking the responsibility for their actions that may have negatively affected you, you may need to have a discussion about how they made you feel.  

     •    Friends that you may not be as close to find it difficult to speak to you in person about problems with the friendship.

          •    Those who respect you enough to speak to you in person and tell you to your face are those that care about the friendship and want to make it last. 

6.    Do they value your time?

     •    If your friend is continuously canceling or delaying plans, they do not respect your time. 

     •    With a friend like this, you may find yourself waiting around for them to meet up and to text you, that can be a sign of inconsistency in a friendship and makes it hard for you to rely on them as a friend. 

          •    Some individuals are truly inconsistent and don’t know how to stay organized when it comes to making plans. 

7.    Do you find yourself making excuses for your friend’s behavior?

     •    Speaking to friends or family about problems you are having with a friend may help you to get more clarity.

     •    Your other friends can often notice something your friend is doing that may currently or potentially be hurting you. 

     •    Sometimes, when you are blinded by all the good memories you have with a friend, it’s difficult to not make excuses for the way they are treating you because you don’t want it to end. 

     •    Don’t let the fear of ending a friendship hold you back from doing what is best for your mental and physical health. 

If to some extent you are having any of these issues, it may be time you reconsider whether or not you want that person to be a part of your life. Remember that all friendships are different, and these issues can easily be fixed if you feel the friendship is worth preserving. Often having a discussion in person to talk about problems within a friendship can be more beneficial, and your friend may take better action to fix the problem. That being said, it’s important to remember that these red flags may not pertain to long-term friendships; there are friends that you can be a part from for weeks to months on end and come back to one another as if you were never separated.