Nobody wants to admit they’ve been a bad friend – especially if the person they’ve mistreated has been an exceptional pal throughout the entire friendship.
But unfortunately not all of us can follow suit, especially when life gets in the way and emotions run high. Without realising, you end up becoming distant and less supportive of your friend.
And while this is natural, what’s not okay is to avoid talking about the situation with your friend – or ghost them completely.
You may not even realise you’ve been a bad friend, as your actions have seemed so minimal that it doesn’t even cross your mind that you may have caused upset.
But if you’re in two minds as to whether you’ve been a bad friend or not, have a read of the 10 signs below that’ll help you make your mind up.
To you, it doesn’t seem like you’re ignoring them.
But if they’re messaging you on social media and you’re reading what they’re saying but completely blanking the message, that counts as you being incredibly rude.
Sure, you may plan to chat with them in person instead, but that little ‘read’ message from you may end up upsetting your friend, and wondering what they’ve done wrong for them to be ignored.
This is a no-brainer. If you’ve started slagging off your friend, you’re in the wrong, even if it’s just to tell another friend about an annoying thing they did the other day.
If you’re not saying it straight to them, you’re being unfaithful to your friendship.
It’s natural to poke fun at each other in a friendship, but it’s not so funny when you’re doing it in front of a crowd. This could make your friend feel belittled and embarrassed.
What may be funny to you, may not be so funny to your friend when they’re being laughed at by a group of people they’re not comfortable with.
If you feel as though you need to change your friend, you shouldn’t stay in that friendship.
Friendship isn’t about changing each other, it’s about accepting one another.
Minor changes to help them feel better, such as suggesting they try to relax and not be so highly-strung, are fine.
But if you’re attempting to change your friend’s personality – and image – entirely, you need to re-evaluate your motives.
If your friend is in a healthy relationship, you should be happy for them.
I’m sorry, but you are the toxic friend if you’re that person who’s constantly trying to make your friend think of their partner badly, putting negative situations in their head, or slagging off their partner at every opportunity when they have an argument.
Your friend is in a relationship, accept it.
If you can’t, you need to take a long hard look at yourself and wonder why you can’t stand your friend getting attention elsewhere.
(Of course, if you have genuine concerns about a mate’s partner, you should definitely tell your mate about them. Just be gentle in how you do it, yeah?)
Friendship is mainly built on trust. When you’re close, you tell each other everything and it should stay that way – with each other.
If you’ve told others your friend’s secrets, you’ve crossed the boundaries of friendship.
When your friend confides in you, they should be able to trust that the information they’re sharing is only shared with you – it’s not fair for you to go on to relay that information to other people without their permission.
I’m not talking accepting a free meal when you haven’t been paid, I’m talking about becoming so accustomed to your friend paying for you – expecting it, even – and feeling annoyed when they refuse to do so.
Friendship usually consists of a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ kind of thing.
If they were to buy you breakfast, you buy them lunch, and so on. If they’re buying both meals – and the rest – regularly, that’s not okay.
Don’t rely on your friend to support you, and never expect it.
It’s inevitable that within a friendship, there’s going to be some arguments.
The important thing when this happens is that you accept when you are wrong so that you can continue to improve your friendship.
But if you refuse to ever take the blame, you’re not learning anything, and all you’re really doing – while it may feel great to never apologise – is pushing your friend away in the process.
If your friend’s lipstick is smudged, tell them. Likewise, if they’re wearing their shirt inside out.
But if they’re wearing something – or doing something – that gives them confidence and makes them feel good, who are you to take that away from them?
Just because you don’t like something, doesn’t mean they won’t either. Don’t rain on their parade when there’s really no need.
While there’s sometimes going to be one friend that’s a little more outgoing than the other, it’s important to remember that a friendship – scrap that, any relationship – should be equal.
If you find that you’ve become the dominant one, making all of the decisions, judgements and in turn pretty much taking ownership of the friendship, you need to take a step back and evaluate things.