5 Signs Of A Bad Friend

We’ve all been there, maybe your friend blew you off. Maybe he or she wasn’t there to answer your phone call when you got dumped, and you just needed someone to talk to. And in that moment, you wondered just how much of a “friend” he or she really was. You don’t need to wonder anymore, because there are ways you can tell whether or not your friendship is genuine or phony. This article will give you 5 signs of a bad friend.



1. They Are Always Negative

Negativity is a tricky fellow because it is easily overlooked. If you aren’t paying careful attention to the tone of a conversation, it’s easy to get caught up in a discussion and not be conscious of the fact that it is primarily negative. If your friend often leads a discussion to a negative topic, that’s a really bad sign.

You don’t want to be around someone who is constantly bringing you down, directly or indirectly. It is emotionally draining and contagious. Before you know it, YOU will have adopted negative thought patterns and this does not lead to happiness or success. On the contrary it will hinder you, it will become an obstacle for you. Make it a point to surround yourself with positive, uplifting people.

Some easy ways to tell if your friend is inclined to be negative is to take a mental note of the topics that arise during a discussion. Once you make the effort to become aware of the general tone of a talk, you will quickly be able to judge whether a conversation is mostly negative or positive. Some common subjects that are almost always negative are complaining and gossip. Most negative discussions consists of one these two things or a mixture. Keep your ears open.


2. They Don’t Reciprocate

Friendship is a relationship that consists of reciprocation, give and take. There is a balance. If one party is just taking and not giving, this is an unhealthy friendship. If your friend doesn’t make the effort to call or text you back, they just aren’t a good friend. It’s as simple as that.

There are absolutely no valid excuses for your “friend” to not get back to you. If they really care about your relationship they will make time for you. They will make you a priority.

Actions cannot hide someone’s true motives, always pay attention to what someone does. If your friend does not make an effort to invite you to an outing or a party–or whatever kind of gathering they may have planned–they are not your friend. A true friend will make use of any opportunity they can to connect with you because they will want to. That is what friendship is!

So, if your friend hasn’t returned your phone call yet, forget about them. It’s time to turn your energies towards finding someone who can give you a genuine friendship.

3. They Aren’t There For You When You Need Them

One of the most reliable ways to tell if you have a real friend is to see if they are there for you when you are at your lowest; when you are in your greatest need. In the end, it is only you who can pull yourself out of your own abyss, but having friends to support you is a tremendous help.

Friends are a dime a dozen when things are going great for you and you have a lot of assets built up that they can ride off of–but a friend who will stick by your side when you have absolutely nothing to offer but yourself, now that is one of life’s treasures. Hang on to these ones, because they are the ones who genuinely care about you.

When I got out of a bad relationship with nothing but debt, two kids and a couple of suitcases my friend of 12 years took us in. I had nothing to offer her, but despite this she gladly opened her doors to my family and I. That was the moment that I experienced the mark of a true friend.


4. They Only Want To Talk About Themselves

This one is pretty obvious. If all he or she wants to do is talk about themselves not only are they self-absorbed, but they’re a bad friend.

As I pointed out previously, friendship is about reciprocation. Your interactions should involve both of you and you shouldn’t just feel like a verbal dumpster for someone every time you hang out with them. A real friend will want to know what is going on with you and will naturally be curious about your life. If they don’t care about this, they don’t care about you.

Note: In some cases, your friend may be going through a rough patch in their life, and if this is the case it is normal for him or her to want to talk about their problems a lot. If this situation arises, it’s an opportunity for you to be a good friend by listening and providing emotional support. Use your best judgement to discern whether or not this is the case.


5. They Mooch

There is a fine line between burrowing something from a friend and just downright mooching. Not only is this a sign of a bad friend, it’s a sign of bad character. If your friend is constantly burrowing things/money from you and they’re not paying you back, they’re a leach. They’re trouble and you’re looking down a long road of an unfulfilling, parasitic relationship.

Money and friendship usually do not mix. It can often lead to tension then escalate to a full-blown fight, and perhaps even a rift in your friendship. If I ever did lend out money to a friend, I did it without the expectation of getting it back. That way if they didn’t pay it back, I wouldn’t be angry. I wouldn’t allow it to potentially start an argument and jeopardize our bond.

Ideally, neither you nor your friend should have to burrow money from one another–but if the situation should occur, set a limit. It is not your responsibility to support someone. You are not obligated to hold someone’s hand through life if they are not making an effort to improve their situation. Do not feel guilty about saying no when you know that you have to.

[Tweet “Life is too short to chase friendships that you know aren’t genuine.”]

Have you ever had any friends that you had to move on from? Feel free to leave your comment below.





Comments (2)

  1. Nick Hilden

    Great post. This is something that I grappled with a lot up until a few years ago when I realized that my friends’ negative habits were becoming my own. I ended up having to cut off a lot of ties in order to move forward. It can be difficult to escape, especially when you’ve be friends for a long time, but in the end it’s usually good for growth.

    1. Lyra (Post author)

      They say that you are the average of the 5 people that you spend the most time with. I always keep this in mind when I’m thinking about my social life. I know the feeling of having to let go of a friendship with history too, it’s really difficult and often a painful process. However, it is for your own good as you stated, and I don’t think it’s a decision that you end up regretting. Thank you for your comment 🙂


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