As you become more and more “adult,” you realize that making friends becomes far more difficult than it ever was in grade school. As such, you learn to value the friendships you do have and hold on to them dearly.
By the same token, you also lose your patience to tolerate other people’s bullsh*t, and you’re less likely to stay in contact with social vampires who simply suck out all of your happiness whenever you hang out with them. We often stay in toxic or unbalanced friendships because we feel guilty about ditching someone who’s technically our “friend.”
Here are some “friend” types you should definitely be wary of (and cut ties with, if they keep up with their bad behavior):
6. The friend who bails on you more than they show up for you.
It’s totally understandable for someone to cancel plans when they’re sick or have a more urgent commitment—but, come on. If someone is constantly flaking on you, isn’t it more likely that they just got a “better” offer for the evening and are consciously choosing to bail on you? It’s normal for plans to fall through, but friends who allow plans to fall through on a regular basis probably don’t deserve your energy.
Like, why are they bothering keeping up the pretense of friendship at all if they clearly have no desire to hang out with you?
5. The friend who makes you feel like you aren’t quite good/smart/sophisticated enough.
Hanging out with people whom you admire for their intelligence or worldliness is pretty irresistible—and it can cause you to become blind to the way that they treat you. Sure, they made a subtle jab about the fact that you don’t know your European geography super well, but they also make you feel sophisticated, so isn’t it a fair tradeoff?
Well, no, it really isn’t.
Here’s the thing: friendship, like all good symbiotic relationships, is about equality. If you’re constantly hanging around someone who views you as a lesser-than, you aren’t their friend — you’re their fan. Over time, this kind of relationship can take a toll on your self-confidence, and no friendship should ever make you feel actively bad about yourself.
4. The friend who never needs you … until they do.
You invited them to several different hangouts and got no response whatsoever, but as soon as they’re in a social slump they come crawling back. This is one of the most classic behaviors of a fair-weather friend, and this kind of friendship is pretty much the platonic equivalent of dating a f**kboy who only hits you up when all of his regulars are busy.
If you wouldn’t tolerate it in a romantic relationship, why the hell are you tolerating it from a friend?
3. The friends who rag on you maybe a little too much.
Okay, yes, it’s a friend’s duty to occasionally tease you and joke around. However, it becomes a bit more mean-spirited when you’re constantly the butt of the joke. This sort of dynamic works on TV sitcoms, but in reality, it makes for a pretty warped relationship. Do these people even like you, or do they just like a punching bag?
2. The friend who takes way more emotional energy than they give.
If your friend is in trouble or hurting, of course it’s your duty to be there for them and listen to their problems. That’s the mark of a good friend.
But … does it feel like you’re always listening to their problems? Do they constantly unload on you, and then completely neglect to ask you anything about your personal life? Do you feel more like their therapist than their friend?
At that point, it’s not really a healthy friendship anymore—you’ve simply become a depository for their negative feelings. And while that’s admirable in its own way, you also have to consider that it isn’t particularly good for your mental health. A friend should, more often than not, make you feel good. You should enjoy their company. And if it gets to the point where you’re dreading one of their multi-hour venting sessions, it’s time to get some space.
1. The friend who ditches you whenever they’re dating somebody.
But, if you make plans with a so-called friend and they bail on you as soon as they learn that their boyfriend got off work early, that’s definitely concerning. Part of a good friendship is feeling like you matter to the other person—and if you’re just a substitute for whenever their significant other has to go to work, that’s a little unfair.
A good friend doesn’t make you feel like a commercial break.