Do You Have Bad Friends?

Two women who are bad friends smiling and taking a selfie together with wine.

Everyone’s had a friendship that fizzles out or runs its course. Growing apart from people is a normal part of adulthood. But sometimes, you have to make the difficult decision to give a friendship some space or end it entirely. It’s never fun, but it’s not fun to have bad friends, either.

But how can you tell if you have bad friends? It may not be obvious at first. If you suspect a friend doesn’t have your best interest at heart, look for these telling signs and see if it’s time to call it quits.

They don’t listen to you.
Good friends are good listeners; bad friends are bad listeners. If it feels like a lot of your conversations are one-sided or that you’re the one doing all of the listening, it might be time to reconsider how much time you spend with them.

They only reach out when they need something.
Are you the one who always makes plans? Or, if they do call or text to make plans, is it because they want something from you? You should be able to lean on your friends and ask them for favors when you need them, but that shouldn’t be all that you do. A good friendship is not a transactional one.

They don’t celebrate your success.
Whether you land a new job or start dating a great guy, a good friend should be happy for you, lift you up, and make you feel empowered when something exciting happens. If they get jealous and competitive every time you share good news, it’s not a great sign.

They cause a lot of drama.
This isn’t high school; you don’t need people in your life who cause drama and stir up problems where there don’t need to be any. You don’t need people who are needlessly negative and gossipy in your life.

They put you down a lot.
Have you ever noticed that your friend disses you a lot, in public and/or private? Even if they say they’re joking, it’s not funny. So, for someone you consider a friend to do this is a major red flag. People put other people down when they feel bad about themselves. If they were a true friend, they’d come to you for advice rather than making you a target.

They gossip to you about other people.
We hate to say it, but if they talk about other people behind their back to you, chances are they do the same about you when you’re not around.

They exclude you.
Friends don’t have to do everything together. But it’s insulting when a friend invites all of your mutual friends to hang out—except for you—constantly. Actions speak louder than words, and as much as we don’t want to say it, they’re probably excluding you on purpose, which you absolutely don’t have to put up with.

You don’t feel respected.
If every conversation makes you feel bad about yourself, that person is not your friend. Good friends respect you. Period.

If something about your friendship with someone feels off, you’re probably not imagining it. If you feel in your gut that your friendship isn’t genuine, it might be time to consider spending less time with them and spending more time with the friends who love and support you unconditionally.

Brianne Hogan

Freelance Writer

Brianne is a Canadian freelance writer who’s been writing about dating and relationships longer than any of her relationships. She applies a “do what I say, not do what I do” approach to her articles, and believes you can find Your Person mostly when you aren’t looking. So enjoy your life, and eat lots of cheese (at least that’s her motto). Her byline’s been featured on Thrillist, The Huffington Post, HelloGiggles, Elle Canada, Flare, Awesomeness TV, among others.

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