You can spot a good friend a mile away. But you can’t always tell who’s a bad friend.
Or even if the bad friend in your group is you.
Want to be a better friend to the people in your life? Check out these 14 behaviors you need to ditch ASAP.
1) Not messaging first
You know those people that you always have to message first? Because if you don’t message first, you don’t talk?
Yeah, they’re probably not that great of friends.
Good friends check in with each other. They don’t always rely on the other person to message them first.
It’s low effort and it doesn’t feel good for the other person.
2) Not checking in if you haven’t heard from them in a while
When I haven’t heard from a friend in a while, or if they’ve been particularly quiet in the group chat, I’ll drop them a quick message to check in.
For me, that’s just what you do when you’re a good friend.
But I’ve had many friends in the past who never extended me the same courtesy. And it sucked.
3) Talking about yourself all the time
Friendships require some give and take. When I’m with a good friend, sometimes we mostly talk about what’s going on in one of our lives.
But most of the time, we talk about both of us.
I’ve had friends before who’d only talk about themselves. If you asked them a question, they’d answer it, but they wouldn’t ask you back.
They’d also spend all your time together talking about themselves – with little regard or interest for what you’re up to.
4) Expecting them to book all the plans
Think about the friends you see the most. Are you always the one booking plans? Or does the burden always fall on them?
As we mentioned earlier, friendships require some give and take.
One person shouldn’t always be responsible for booking tickets, paying the fees, or organizing the next date to meet.
Even the most organized of friends will get annoyed eventually if all you do is sit back and wait for them to do everything for you.
5) Getting jealous when their life is going well
Jealousy is a normal emotion we all feel from time to time, according to experts.
But when we don’t keep our jealousy in check, things turn sour very quickly.
Good friends should be happy for one another when life is going well.
Sure, you may feel a little envious when you hear a friend is engaged when your partner has just broken up with you or doesn’t want to get married at all.
But the primary emotion you’ll feel is joy – and you won’t rain on your friend’s parade or say something nasty out of spite.
6) Not remembering what’s going on with their lives
Have you ever been out with a friend who knows nothing about your life – even though you talk about it with them frequently?
I know I have. And those people aren’t good friends.
I have some great friends who are always following up with things I’ve said. They’ll ask me how that wedding went or what happened with that problem I had at work.
It makes me feel listened to and like they genuinely care about things I’ve said.
The friends that don’t remember anything – or care to ask about it – (and not just as a one-off, but constantly) don’t make me feel quite as good.
7) Making fun of their insecurities
Bullying is a harsh word to use, and most people won’t like being called a bully by someone they consider a friend.
But when you make someone a butt of the joke all the time – or poke fun at their insecurities (which they told you in confidence, most likely) – that’s a form of bullying.
And it just isn’t something you should do if you want to be a good friend.
8) Not paying them back quickly (or waiting until they ask)
Money is the root cause of most problems in friendships.
I once had a friend who was notorious for not paying people back.
When we booked an event, she wouldn’t transfer you the money. If you lent her money to buy a Starbucks, she’d never buy you one back.
One time, when someone asked for their money back, she “joked” that she “Thought she’d gotten away with it”.
Which, needless to say, didn’t go down well.
Spending your friend’s loaned money with no intention of paying them back is disrespectful. And it’s not something a good friend does.
9) Ghosting when they’re going through a tough time
When I went through a particularly tough time in college, most of my “friends” completely disappeared.
They were busy getting boyfriends, going out clubbing, and generally living their lives. Which is lovely, really.
But good friends make time for each other, even when they’re busy. Especially if that friend is going through something.
My circle got smaller after that, but the people who stayed were true friends.
Because no matter how busy they were, they always made time to send a quick message or be a listening ear when it was needed.
And that was more than enough.
10) Not remembering important dates for them
Being a good friend is all about making an effort. When friends remember dates that are important to you, it feels good.
Knowing that they’ve made time to remember or add it to their calendar shows that they care enough to do that for you.
When your closest friend forgets important dates, like your birthday or something else major (like the date of your driving test or due date), it’s not nice.
And it’s poor etiquette from someone who’s supposed to be a good friend to you.
11) Not offering help when they need it the most
When I asked my partner what makes someone a good friend, he said it’s offering help when they need it (not just waiting for them to ask).
He said one of the best things his friend did for him years ago was when he lost his job and didn’t have any (literally, any) money to see friends.
When his friend invited him out, he said he couldn’t make it because he was skint.
His friend told him not to worry about it. He’d get him a drink (no repayment necessary) so he could come out and see everyone.
It was a small gesture, but it made a huge difference to his entire weekend.
And even though you don’t need to lend your friends money to be a good friend (boundaries are important, especially financial ones), small gestures when they need it the most make a big difference.
12) Prioritizing everyone else in your life except them
We all have varying priorities at different stages of our lives. When you first get into a relationship, it’s fairly normal to see your friends less.
If you’re planning a wedding or moving house, you may not be as active in chatting with your friends as you normally are.
But these phases should be temporary. Because if you care about your friends, you’ll always make time for them.
But if you’re constantly prioritizing everyone and everything else in your life except them, then you’re probably not being a great friend.
I remember going through a tough time a couple of years ago. I messaged a friend to ask if she had any spare time soon to meet for a coffee or a quick walk.
She gave me a date in six weeks’ time.
And this wasn’t the first time she did this. She was always giving me dates for months in the future.
I know she’s a busy person, but to not have an hour or two on any weeknight or weekend for that long? Even if it’s just to talk to a friend who’s having a hard time?
Yeah, it doesn’t feel good. And it’s not something a good friend will do all the time.
13) Spilling their secrets (even if they haven’t explicitly said it’s a secret)
Friends tell each other things. And there’s a general expectation that the things you say to a friend should be kept confidential.
Telling everyone you know the things your friend has confided in you isn’t the behavior of a good friend.
Even if the person didn’t explicitly say it was a secret, you should know what should and shouldn’t be spread around.
14) Not looking out for you when you’re in trouble
Good friends look out for each other, especially when you’re in trouble.
Imagine you went out for the night and drank too much.
And your closest friends ditched you at the club to go to an afterparty, leaving you to (drunkenly) make your own way home.
Or they stuck you in a cab and kept going with their night.
Those aren’t good friends. Because anything could happen when you’re in a bad way, and a good friend should be willing to miss out to make sure you’re OK.
Being a good friend isn’t always easy. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the good of the friendship. Not too many or too often.
But sometimes it has to be done.
And provided they’re a good friend too, it’s well worth it. Because few things in life compare to having true, genuine friendships.