Is it just me, or is it getting harder to find people who actually want to be friends?
There are so many people who label their acquaintances as “low maintenance friendships.”
Yet so many people engage in codependency as well – self-sacrificing a lot of their values in the name of Friendship.
Not only that, but authentic friendships can be hard to find if you have once struggled with low self-worth or other issues that affect how you trust.
That’s why discernment is key.
And as someone who has had more than their fair share of friendship breakups, I know how complicated it can all be.
So here to make it a little less complicated, are 8 behaviors of a person who is difficult to be friends with.
1) They weaponize their incompetence
This is that friend who blames their lack of accountability and growth for why they aren’t able to reciprocate in the friendship.
For example, it’s that friend who makes you do all the planning because they are too busy and you’re just “better at it.”
I had a hard time recognizing this as an issue because I used to not feel like I deserved a friendship where I’m not expected to overgive.
There’s also usually an element of guilt-tripping when you confront them about how you feel about the inequality.
Not to mention, I felt like I was invalidating their struggles.
Everytime you overthink this, remember that a friendship is a two-way street. And you should gravitate towards people who share the same expectations as you.
Meaning you can’t make yourself responsible for how someone is unable to show up for themselves the way you can.
2) They struggle to show up for themselves
This one might upset some people, but it must be said.
If you want to make authentic friendships that are mutually fulfilling, you have to seek them in people who have a similar relationship to themselves as you do.
These types of friends may also engage in self-destructive behaviors and unhealthy relationships.
Which will require you to do a lot more emotional labor than you are prepared to ask for in return.
So this isn’t about wanting low-effort friendships that aren’t abundant in emotional intimacy. It’s about wanting reciprocation and understanding for your own experiences in life too.
And wanting to be around people who have the same values as you – especially regarding your attitudes towards friendships.
3) They don’t prioritize their friendships
Like I mentioned before, this can be that friend who lacks effort and makes the relationship one-sided.
But it can also be that friend who prioritizes their job over their friendships, and therefore won’t have the emotional capacity to make time for you.
That’s right, emotional availability is a thing for platonic relationships, too.
Now – as a young adult who is also career-oriented, I should mention that it’s okay to have friendships that fluctuate in how much time you have for one another.
I understand that having children can get in the way of how you spend your time, too.
Everyone should always prioritize themselves first, and it’s the quality of the connection that really matters.
And it’s the communication regarding those fluctuations, a willingness to compromise, and how understood you feel by the other person that makes the difference.
This is where discernment is key.
The more you’re able to meet your own needs, the easier it will be to see who truly values you (and themselves).
4) They disappear and reappear
“Friends” that engage in all the behaviors above will have a tendency to come in and out of your life as they please.
These kinds of people make it harder for you to rely on them, and therefore make no room for real vulnerability.
Or healthy communication!
Instead, you might use the time you do share to trauma dump and create a false sense of intimacy where no one feels encouraged to grow.
Because the truth is, being an uplifting presence in someone’s life requires an element of consistency.
This usually happens when one person’s motivation for connecting is solely to use the other person for selfish reasons.
For example, if someone only contacts you when they need something but never checks up on you.
Or they only want to spend time with you when they’re single because they can’t be alone. But as soon as they’re in a relationship, you’re getting left on read.
Whatever it may be, the pattern here is that they don’t care about your well-being, and have a negative impact on you when they do reach out.
5) They are overly negative
People with an overly cynical view of life will have a tendency to spread that negativity onto you.
These are the kinds of people who will criticize you for winning the lottery because the lottery is exploitative.
Which is fair – but come on man, you couldn’t be happy for me? Not even for a second?
Or people who are quick to check you in front of others instead of pulling you to the side and telling you in private.
Whether their motivations are jealousy or not, friends like these shouldn’t be kept in the long-term because of their tendency to project their fears onto you.
Meaning your shortcomings will validate their negativity while your successes will be a threat to their way of being.
I truly did not see how negative energies impacted me until I outgrew my own negativity.
Just know that if someone’s logic exceeds their ability to be empathetic and supportive, that’s on them and not a reflection of you.
6) They talk about people behind their backs
Maybe you’ve heard of the saying how if someone is talking about everyone to you, they’re probably talking about you, too.
I was personally in denial of this for so long – I truly believed that my friend simply trusted me the most out of all of her friends.
But not incapable of growth.
Because I realized: if someone is comfortable gossiping about all those people in that way, they likely have a lot of insecurities.
So take off those rose-colored glasses with me and see people for what they show you.
While a little gossip here and there is harmless, feeling safe to trust each other with secrets and appreciating each other’s authenticities is a huge part of any healthy friendship.
Now you can’t do that if you’re paying more attention to other people’s businesses now – can you?
7) They struggle with boundaries
Whether it’s setting them, keeping them or respecting them, these friends are the type to be overly defensive when it comes to structure or serious conversations.
I once had a friend who I also lived with, who didn’t want to have a cleaning schedule because she believed that “you shouldn’t need a schedule to clean.”
Yet she left the house a mess and avoided other suggested solutions. Neither did she suggest her own.
In other cases, a lack of boundaries looks like a person who has a hard time dealing with their own conflicts.
These are the friends that talk about their problems with people with everyone but the people they have a problem with.
Which will make you feel like you have to work overtime to anticipate their needs because you don’t know if you’re ever bothering them.
These are all signs of emotional immaturity. And the reality is that they make a relationship unsustainable and lack respect.
So while communicating honestly and constructively might feel awkward at first, they are necessary.
And will help you cultivate healthier and more mature relationships where people feel free to be honest.
8) They put you on a pedestal
This is something I recently learned.
And I know – who doesn’t want to be admired and be seen as inspiring?
But if you want friendships where there aren’t any weird power dynamics, it’s better to keep these people at a distance.
These are the kinds of people who are on a completely different path in life than you and possibly struggling.
That immaturity and insecurity can make them want to be you, rather than be there for you because they have yet to believe in themselves.
Not only that, but it will be hard for you to feel understood by them.
And I don’t know about you, but compliments aren’t enough to keep me warm when the going gets tough.
So beyond the pedestal, choose friends who effortlessly understand you because they are willing to put effort in other ways.
If you want to make real friendships that are committed and long-lasting, you can’t be afraid to be picky
And I should mention that just because you aren’t friends with someone, doesn’t mean you can’t be civil with them.
I, for one, love my acquaintances.
A lot of the points above are also behaviors I clocked within myself as I outgrew them over the past few years.
So it’s normal for you to lose some friends if they aren’t willing to match your level of accountability.
All in all, friendships should be mutually fulfilling, adaptable and encouraging.
And not just when you’re sad and relatable, but when you’re evolving into who they always knew you could become.
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