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Friendships are like romantic relationships.
They require the same amount of respect, attention, and love for them to work. However, we often talk about romance and dismiss the fact that friendships are equally vital and needed.
Because we have little awareness of the qualities of a good friend, we might become friends with people who don’t truly respect and value us. Even if we think they do, if we look closer to their actions and behaviors, we might actually discover they’re not who we think they are.
Now I know that no one’s perfect, and we can’t possibly tick all the right boxes. We all lead busy lives and struggle with many personal issues that sometimes take a heavy toll on us. However, there are some behaviors that go beyond busyness or a few simple mishaps.
I’ve had my share of friends who are inauthentic and occasionally fake. The presence of genuine friends in my life have taught me so much about those who aren’t. And trust me, I know how tough it is to be aware of our filters. It’s challenging and downright painful to finally choose to see someone as they are. The truth might surprise us—maybe even hurt us.
Nevertheless, the longer we keep one-sided friendships in our lives, the more they might impact our mental and emotional health.
Here are six obvious warning signs that a friend might not be right for us:
1. They don’t reciprocate your efforts. Maybe you keep inviting them to your place, but they never invite you back to theirs. Maybe they don’t reciprocate your kindness or thoughtfulness. Maybe you listen to all their problems, but they never listen to yours. Maybe you always get them presents, but they never return the gesture. The point is you feel the friendship is unbalanced and you’re more invested than the other person in it.
2. They’re opportunists. If you have access to an opportunity that might benefit them, they will dive in headfirst without assessing the consequences. They might even be pushy and not consider your boundaries or thoughts. They’d do anything to get what they want. So beware of people who take advantage of you. You never know what someone’s really thinking until you see their destructive actions at play.
3. They contact you when they need something. We might get excited to see a new message from them, but the moment we read the message, we might be disappointed to know they have reached out only because they need something from us. Genuine friends never do this.
4. They don’t respect your boundaries. When a friend violates the boundaries they know you have, it’s a sign of disrespect. No matter how close you are or how long you’ve known each other, good friends who respect you would never cross the line.
5. They’re selfish. We’re all a little selfish, and that’s okay. However, a friend who constantly does what makes them happy and comfortable without taking your own needs into account is surely not the friend you want in your life.
6. They’re controlling. A controlling friend is someone who doesn’t respect our choices. They might control our plans, dating life, social life, and even our own thoughts and emotions. Saying no to them could seriously upset them, so we might find ourselves agreeing to everything for fear of losing them.
If you find yourself in a friendship you don’t deserve or that’s continuously impacting your self-worth, don’t be afraid to set clear boundaries. And if the other party still doesn’t respect you or exhibits behaviors that don’t align with your values, please love yourself enough to leave or communicate your needs.