8 signs that your friend is a bad person, according to psychology

We all have friends we adore and others that leave us questioning their motives. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether a friend is genuinely good or bad for you.

Psychology can offer some insight into this. It provides us with telltale signs to help identify those who may not have our best interests at heart.

In this article, we’ll explore eight signs that your friend might be a bad person, according to psychology. These aren’t just random guesses, but rather signs grounded in psychological research.

So, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let’s dive into some serious friend screening.

1) They’re consistently self-centric

Friendships should be a two-way street, right? Well, not always, according to psychology.

One significant sign that your friend might not be as good as you thought lies in their constant self-focus. This trait is commonly seen in individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

If your friend’s conversations always revolve around them, their achievements, or their problems, it might be a red flag. This isn’t about occasional self-centeredness – we all have those moments. It’s about a consistent pattern of one-sided conversations.

If they rarely show interest in your life or your feelings, it could be an indication that they value their needs over yours. This kind of imbalance can be harmful to your mental health in the long run.

So, the next time you’re chatting with your friend, pay attention to how often they shift the focus back to themselves. It could reveal more than you think.

Remember, a good friendship should be about mutual support and understanding – not just one person’s monologue.

2) They’re often dishonest

We all tell little white lies from time to time, but there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed. If your friend often tells lies, even about small things, it might be a sign of a deeper issue.

Take my experience for example. I had a friend who lied about everything – from trivial things like what she had for dinner, to bigger issues like why she couldn’t make it to our meet-ups. Initially, I brushed it off thinking she just wanted to appear more interesting.

But over time, these lies piled up and it became harder to trust her. I felt like I was friends with a stranger, never knowing when she was telling the truth or spinning another tale.

Dishonesty strains the bond of friendship and erodes trust. So, if you’re constantly catching your friend in a web of lies, it might be time to reconsider that relationship. It’s not easy, but sometimes it’s necessary for your own peace of mind.

3) They don’t respect your boundaries

Boundaries are a fundamental aspect of any healthy relationship. They ensure that each person’s needs, space, and individuality are respected. However, not everyone understands or respects this concept.

A friend that constantly oversteps or completely ignores your boundaries is showing a lack of respect for you. This could manifest in various ways – from continually borrowing your things without asking to sharing your personal information with others without your consent.

In a study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, researchers found that people who fail to respect boundaries are more likely to have poor social skills and low empathic concern. This disregard for personal space and privacy can be a sign of a bad friend.

So, if you’re continuously feeling uncomfortable because your friend doesn’t respect your personal space, it might be time to have a serious conversation or reconsider the friendship.

4) They’re always negative

We all have our bad days, moments of self-doubt, and periods of negativity. But if your friend is always negative, it can begin to take a toll on your own mental health.

If every conversation you have is filled with their complaints, criticisms, or pessimistic outlook, it might be a sign that they’re not a good influence in your life. Constant negativity can be draining and bring down your own mood and outlook on life.

A friend should be someone who can offer a positive perspective, lift you up when you’re down, and celebrate life’s joys with you.

Remember, it’s okay to distance yourself from people who consistently bring you down. Friendships should be uplifting and positive experiences for both parties involved.

5) They’re not there when you need them

One of the most beautiful aspects of friendship is knowing you have someone to lean on during tough times. But what happens when that person is missing in action precisely when you need them most?

A friend who disappears or becomes distant during your time of need might not be as good a friend as you thought. A cornerstone of friendship is support – being there for each other during both the highs and the lows.

I’ve seen friendships where one party was always there to support their friend, but when they needed support in return, their friend was nowhere to be found. This one-sidedness can be incredibly hurtful and damaging.

True friends stand by your side through life’s storms, offering a shoulder to lean on, a listening ear, or even just their silent presence. If this reciprocal support is missing in your friendship, it may be time to reevaluate.

6) They constantly belittle you

In any friendship, there’s room for jokes and friendly banter. But when playful teasing turns into constant belittling, it crosses a line.

I remember a friend who always seemed to find a way to put me down. Whether it was about my career choices, my style, or even my dreams, she always had something negative to say. It took me a while to realize that this wasn’t friendly teasing – it was undermining my confidence and self-worth.

A good friend should uplift you, not make you feel small or worthless. If your friend is always criticizing you or making you feel inferior, it’s a clear sign that they’re not the kind of person you need in your life.

Remember, true friends celebrate each other’s uniqueness and individuality. They don’t use it as fodder for constant criticism.

7) They’re always competitive

A bit of friendly competition can be fun and even healthy in a friendship. It can push you to be your best and achieve more. But when every aspect of your friendship becomes a competition, it can be tiring and emotionally draining.

If your friend is always trying to outdo you, whether it’s with career achievements, personal milestones, or even trivial matters, it’s a sign of an unhealthy dynamic. A friend who views your accomplishments as a challenge to be beaten rather than celebrated can create a toxic environment.

Friendship should be about mutual growth and support, not constant one-upmanship. If you find yourself feeling more like a rival than a friend, it might be time to reassess the relationship.

8) They don’t apologize or admit when they’re wrong

One of the most significant signs of a bad friend is their inability to admit when they’re wrong and offer a sincere apology. This stubbornness can create an impenetrable wall in your friendship, preventing growth and resolution of issues.

A good friend understands that they’re not perfect. They can make mistakes, hurt you unintentionally, and they’re willing to accept this, apologize, and make amends.

If your friend never admits they’re wrong or refuses to apologize after hurting you, it shows a lack of empathy and respect for your feelings. This behavior can cause emotional harm over time and is a clear indicator of a bad friend.

Remember, everyone makes mistakes. But it’s how we acknowledge and learn from these mistakes that defines our character and the quality of our friendships.

Final thoughts: The essence of friendship

The complexities of human relationships, particularly friendships, can often be traced back to our inherent need for social connection. We are, after all, social creatures.

One of the fundamental elements of a healthy friendship is reciprocity – a balance of give and take. This applies to everything from emotional support to respect and understanding.

While it’s essential to recognize the signs of a bad friend, it’s equally important to remember that nobody is perfect. We all have our flaws and shortcomings.

However, consistent patterns of disrespectful or hurtful behavior are clear indicators that a friendship might be more harmful than beneficial. And it’s worth considering whether such a relationship is worth maintaining.

The renowned psychologist and author, Dr. Robert W. Firestone once said, “A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself – and especially to feel. Or not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them…”

So, reflect on your friendships through this lens. Are they uplifting you or bringing you down? Are they giving as much as they’re taking? Are they respecting your boundaries and celebrating your individuality?

Remember, you deserve friendships that nourish your soul, respect your individuality, and enrich your life journey.

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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