It can take a long time to realize you’re in a friendship that just shouldn’t be – and it sucks tremendously.
But how can you really know when you need to get away from someone vs when they’re just having a bad day?
What is a non-obvious red flag in a friendship? from AskReddit
Reddit has a few suggestions on just what to look out for.
This doesn’t refer to sharing their own story in response to yours, that’s pretty normal.
It’s more about how you can never have the focus remain on you, it always becomes about them.
2. When just being around them is tiring
Finding the right thing to say so they don’t get bored of you. Watching your acting so they don’t think something’s different. Deep inside, you don’t want to meet them. You just wanna disappear and make them forget you were there.
It just takes too much of my energy. Man you made me rethink all of my friendships right now. I guess I should thank you, cause now I know what’s happening.
3. It’s not me, it’s you
‘I seem to attract people who are sh**ty friends.’
Said to me by someone who boundary stomped, gossiped, talked about herself incessantly, Facebook stalked my other friends, got jealous when I spoke to people who weren’t her and tried to insert herself Into every part of my life during the 18 months we knew each other.
4. No consistency
When they can’t keep plans consistent.
If they’re consistently last-minute dropping/changing plans, then it’s a sign that you’re their second-best option.
You’re their backup if nothing else is better
5. When you have to excuse them
You make excuses for everything they do and say to you. They didn’t really mean it, they’re going through a hard time, they’re just tired, depressed, manic, anxious, dysphoric, etc.
Obviously these things can be valid. But when it’s all the time, that’s not good.
6. Who calls who?
It’s just a small thing, but really how difficult is it to pick up your phone once in a while and check in on someone?
My closest friend of many years live across the country and I recently realized that every single conversation I have had with her in the past 3 years have been initiated by me.. I understand getting caught up in your life such that you forget friends you do not meet everyday, but this hits me hard.
Since the pandemic hit us, I have been vigilant in catching up with all my friends, close and not so close, at least once a month or so.. Just to check in on them and see how they’re doing.. I spoke to this friend about a month back, and she was doing fine.. I spoke to her 2 days back to find that her dad was badly affected and she was with him at the hospital for almost 3 weeks.. It hurts me to think that someone I consider a close friend would not turn to me, even in the face of that terrible situation..
I read all these other posts about supposed friends who turn to you only when they need the support, but the exact opposite hurts too.
Feeling like they’re trying to micromanage you. I had a former friend who, among other things, would constantly be monitoring everything I said/posted on social media.
I already have to deal with a lack of privacy at home.
If I can choose not to associate with someone who doesn’t respect boundaries, then I won’t.
8. When they’re obsessively competitive
Such as when you share a bad experience, they go and say “That’s it?” then say that their experiences are worse.
Like, come on man lemme bitch about my cheating father who chose to stay with his woman instead of making me feel like s**t then rant about your grandmother taking your laptop away because you failed Science.
9. Being unpredictable
If you are uncertain of how an interaction of you guys are going to go. If you get an erratic or wild card sense from them, that’s a problem.
Each time I go to hang out with friends, I look forward to doing it and I have a gist of what will go down.
If you can’t say the same about someone else whether they are moody, asking for stuff, or just not looking forward to it, etc…you may want to reconsider where you stand with them
10. Leaving you out
When you go out together and they spend the entire time talking to others and discluding you.
Rarely (if ever) showing an interest in what you find interesting.
11. Not letting you in
They don’t tell you things and you dismiss it as they’re a private person or whatever and then you find out later that they’ve known something for ages that if they’d cared to share it you could have avoided some fairly painful stuff.
12. Hard to put in words
I cannot really point out a red flag in a few words, because the red flag is often set within a specific situation. In my case, I had a friend who was trans, he was actually a she and I had no issue with that at all. She would message me daily to talk to me, she had a few mental illnesses as well – which again, I do not judge against whatsoever – and I tried to help her see certain situations from different perspectives, so I saved her from a few fights with her mum and other people.
She would talk to me day in day out, even when my own mental health began to deteriorate and when she wanted to talk to me, sometimes I would let her know I was too tired or didn’t want to right now.
In the end she exploded at me after I had worded an issue I had with her rather poorly, saying how I had been nasty to her and was trying to manipulate her. She blocked me everywhere after that.
I guess in short, when a friend is only friends with you for what they can gain from you and won’t respect your boundaries, that’s a red flag, but it’s not always clear to see. These people can make you feel like you’re the bad guy instead and subtly push boundaries by making you feel like you should be better to them instead of vice versa. A true friend should be someone around whom you can be 100% yourself, with all your quirks and flaws included, who respects you if you need to take a step back.
13. “You should…”
Frequent use of the phrase “you should…”.
I had a friend who did this, and it was usually said kindly, but there was a lightbulb moment when I realized how judgmental they were, and then all of the you shoulds started to add up.
14. No effort at spreading joy
When you make plans with someone or you call a friend or you randomly bump into them and they never act like they are genuinely happy to see you or even talk to you.
Like give me a smile, some good news, or just a what’s up guy.. – anything.
I didn’t sign up to be the the right butt cheek to your s**t and misery….
Keep your friends close, and your enemies…not where your friends are.
Do you have something you’d add to this list?
Tell us in the comments.