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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCU chapter.

We have all had “friends” that we realize later simply were not as involved in the relationship as we were. Maybe they talked behind your back, didn’t put as much effort in, or did you wrong somehow. Whatever situation occurred, I’m sure you realized too late that this person was not a lifelong friend. Maybe you had devoted a lot of time to that relationship that could have been time used to build a better, lasting relationship. I have come up with some signs that a friend is not deserving of your time, friendship, and loyalty.

Sign 1: They take advantage of your kindness. I personally am a bit of a pushover, which I am working on, and can often end up doing things for people that are completely out of my way and inconvenient for me. I do not have a problem doing these things for people I love, but I can be easily taken for granted. A huge red flag in a relationship is when a friend realizes this people-pleaser mentality and uses it to their advantage.

Sign 2: They do not do things for you. This is a huge tell if a relationship is one-sided. If you are constantly doing favors for them and they never offer to do things for you, they do not prioritize you or the relationship as much as you do. I wish I could say “Well, maybe bigger empaths just take it too much to heart and read too much into it. Maybe those other people really do care but just don’t think about doing nice things…” You should never, ever feel as if you do not deserve the same amount of effort you put into a relationship. You deserve relationships that fill you up as much as you fill others up.

Sign 3: They cannot admit fault. Problems and arguments are bound to come up in relationships. How your friend reacts to these problems will tell you a lot. If they will not accept their side of fault in the problem or even ghost you instead of dealing with it, they never really cared about you in the first place. If you standing up for yourself is a problem, it’s because they see you as someone they can walk all over to get their way. This is a hard pill to swallow, but the way people react to conflict is telling of their character. If they consistently never see faults in any of their actions even when you say they hurt your feelings, there is a problem. A mature relationship involves listening to each other’s feelings and being able to see both parties’ mistakes.

Sign 4: They consistently talk negatively about others. We all do a little bit of gossiping now and again. We sometimes need to vent about people we do not get along with. I am not talking about that. I am talking about when someone constantly belittles and puts down others. It is likely because they themselves are deeply insecure, and feel talking about someone else’s flaws will make them feel better about their own. This is often presented as critiquing others’ appearance especially.

Sign 5: They make everything a competition. Your friends should want you and be rooting for you to succeed. A relationship is about building each other up. If your friend reacts negatively or unenthusiastically to positive things happening to you, that is an issue. Jealousy is poison in relationships. Another way fake friends make things a competition is between mutual friends. They constantly want to be the favorite and will do things in group settings to put you down or make you feel alienated.

Sign 6: They isolate you from other relationships. This is something we see a lot in romantic relationships and we know it as a sign of emotional abuse. What people don’t know is that the same thing can happen in friendships. This can present a lot of different ways. One way is criticizing your other friends and saying they don’t like them. The goal here is to make you feel guilty for hanging out with that person again as if you are being disloyal. The goal of isolation is that you eventually rely on only them for connection and you are always available to them for their emotional needs. This is part of the insecurity this person often has; they want someone constantly there to feed their ego.

Those are just a few signs I have seen, but there are more. If you are ever feeling undervalued in a relationship, there is a reason, and you should not ignore it. Sometimes, you can address your concerns. Although, the type of person I have talked about in these signs is the type that can not see any wrong they do (as I referred to in Sign 3). If you find yourself in a friendship like this you only really have 2 options: stay in and suffer or get out. The best option is to get out, and often this choice is made for you if you ever stand up to that person. They will not tolerate a friend they cannot control.

When the relationship ends, I wish I could tell you that everything is better, but it is not. You will mourn the loss of that friend, even if they did hurt you. You loved them, which doesn’t go away no matter how badly you were treated. It is okay to be sad about that loss. You must remember that the relationship ended for the better. You will find friends that value you and deserve you. You will find friends that support you, give to you, treat others around you with kindness, and love you. Do not settle for less just because you think you don’t deserve the effort you give: you do.

Senior Economics major and political science minor from Germantown, Tennessee graduating in May.