What does friendship mean to you?
We all have our expectations and standards when it comes to the friends we choose, but common underlying factors tend to be honesty, respect, loyalty, and trust.
So what happens if you’re in a friendship where you feel like the respect has gone (or was never there to start with)?
Is your friend intentionally disrespecting you or are they just going through a rough patch in their lives?
We’ll be looking at the top signs to look out for and what you can do if you think your friendship has taken a turn for the worst.
But first, let’s look at what makes up a healthy relationship and how things can turn toxic:
Healthy vs toxic friendships
When we think of a healthy, happy friendship, we imagine that both people are there for each other and support each other through good and bad.
Real friends will have patience and understanding for you, and won’t judge or belittle you.
They’ll make compromises and even when you face difficulties in your friendship, they would never intentionally try to hurt you.
From children into adulthood, friendships are essential for our wellbeing – they help us grow, learn, and develop into the people we are.
But unfortunately, not everyone gets blessed with great friendships.
And some are downright toxic.
In this unhealthy arrangement, you won’t find support or understanding from your friend, nor will your feelings ever be taken seriously.
Because they, for one reason or another, don’t respect you, and regardless of your efforts they’ll continue to treat you unfairly.
So why do they bother pretending to be your friend?
It usually comes down to a lack of self-esteem.
Your friend could be masking their insecurities by belittling or manipulating you and using your friendship as a way to appear strong and confident.
It indicates that they may have experienced trauma in their life, or be suffering from a personality disorder like narcissism.
But regardless of the reason, it’s not your job to take on their rudeness and total lack of consideration. You deserve a friendship where you can both flourish, support each other, and enjoy life together.
Whether the friend in question is someone new you’ve just met or a lifelong pal from your childhood, you have a duty to stand up for yourself when it comes to your friendships.
So let’s get straight into the signs that respect is not being served, and then we’ll look at what you can do going forward.
Signs your friend doesn’t respect you
1) They’re jealous of you and your successes
When something good happens to us, the first thing we tend to do is call up our friends and loved ones to share the happy news.
But if your friend isn’t genuinely glad to hear about your achievements, regardless of how small or big they are, it’s a sign that they don’t have your best interests at heart.
Instead of celebrating with you, you’ll feel them acting withdrawn or even commenting negatively on your good news – two very obvious signs they don’t respect you.
2) The friendship is very one-sided
Do you ever feel like you do everything to keep the friendship going?
Perhaps you go out of your way all the time for your friend but they never do the same in return?
I used to give my (ex) friend a lift home all the time, agreed to meet wherever he wanted, and would always help him out if he had a problem.
But I remember numerous times asking for a favor in return, or a lift when my car broke down, and he was never free to give me a hand.
It was the ultimate sign of disrespect, not to mention selfishness. I only wish I had recognized these signs sooner, but it’s never too late to learn who your true friends are.
3) They don’t have your back
A real friend will defend you even when you aren’t around.
But a friend who doesn’t have any respect for you won’t care enough to stick up for you – they might even join in on all the gossiping and backbiting.
A sign that this is your friend is if they’re always creating drama and telling you what others say about you behind your back.
Because if they did have your back – other people wouldn’t gossip to them about you.
It’s only because they encourage or take part in it that they seem to know all the crap people say about you.
4) They never apologize or acknowledge their behavior
The fact that you’re reading this article indicates that something is up with your friendship – maybe your friend has hurt you a few times now and you’re wondering if it’s normal?
Well, the good news is that there will be challenging or hurtful times even in the best of friendships…
But most people apologize for their mistakes and work hard to rebuild trust again.
The bad news is that if your friend has never apologized for the way they treat you or hurt you – whether intentional or not – they certainly don’t have any respect for you or your feelings.
5) They don’t respect your boundaries
Boundaries are essential in every relationship – with family, friends, and partners.
Your boundaries are your values, they tell people around you what you care about, what you’re willing to put up with, and what isn’t okay for you.
Without them, people would walk all over you and take advantage of your time and energy.
For example, you make it clear that punctuality is important to you.
Yet every time you meet, they’re ridiculously late and never care to apologize or change this habit to respect you.
You’ll know your friend has very little respect for you if they constantly cross those boundaries and refuse to acknowledge your feelings.
And, they might even go as far as blaming you by saying you’re acting “difficult” just because you’re trying to stick to what feels best for you.
6) They’re dishonest
What is the most important part of any relationship?
Without it, how can you rely on your friend, trust them with your business, and know that they’ll never try to deceive you?
Even though trust isn’t black and white and there may be times where good friends make mistakes – a friend who is always dishonest with you isn’t a true friend.
By repeatedly abusing your trust in them by lying to you, it shows that they don’t feel any remorse for their dishonesty and they don’t respect your right to know the truth.
7) They can’t stick to their promises
And another aspect of not being trustworthy is if your friend can’t stick to their word.
Whenever you decide to meet up, they’re never on time.
When you make plans, they’ll bail at the last minute or even worse – leave you waiting without getting in touch with you.
Whatever the situation is, a friend who can’t keep to their promises is a major sign that they don’t have any respect for you (or for your time).
8) They put you down in front of others
Does your friend embarrass you in front of other people?
Do they make fun of you just to get the attention of others?
If so, your friend is simply using you to make themselves look good (although they probably achieve the opposite by being mean in public).
It’s their way of masking their insecurities.
And it’s downright cruel.
Any friend who does this doesn’t deserve your friendship – they’re using you with very little thought given to how you feel when they belittle or embarrass you.
9) They aren’t a good influence on you (and they know it)
Okay, we’ve all got that one friend who always ends up getting us into trouble.
For better or worse, we end up having a crazy time with them but we know they’re a good friend because they still keep your best interests at heart and it’s harmless fun.
But what happens when your friend pushes you to make bad choices intentionally that could have serious consequences for your life?
They know they’re setting you up for disaster, yet they seem to get a kick out of it.
They’ll talk you into making bad decisions, encourage you to engage in destructive habits, and then conveniently disappear when you need their help.
This type of friend is most certainly disrespecting you, even if it’s under the pretense of “just having fun”.
10) They never prioritize you in their life
And the fact that they don’t care about your wellbeing will be obvious because you’ll be at the bottom of their priority list.
Even though they expect you to drop everything for them, when you want to meet up or you need a favor, they’ve got better things to do.
By not putting you first, they’re giving you a clear sign that they don’t respect you, and they’re not even trying to disguise their lack of care for you.
11) They’re always trying to control you
A controlling friend is not a true friend.
Using control over someone is a form of manipulation, and it’s disrespectful to you because they essentially want to take over your freedom of choice, your opinions, and your desires.
Control comes from having low self-esteem, and by always calling the shots, it’s your friend’s way of feeling a sense of superiority over you.
Forget about fairness or taking into account your wishes, they’ll always find a way to take charge and decide what you guys do when you meet up.
Breaking out of a manipulative, controlling friendship can be tough, but it’s much worse to stay in it because over time, your own self-esteem and confidence will take a hit.
12) They don’t pay attention when you’ve got a problem
Do you ever get the feeling that your friend zones out when you talk to them?
Or, they interrupt you and start telling you their latest life updates?
It’s possibly one of the most annoying things someone can do when you’re reaching out to them for help or advice, and all they can do is talk about themselves.
After a while, you end up sitting there wondering why you bothered trying in the first place. Clearly, whatever they have to say is more important.
If this is the case with your friend, then there’s no mistaking that they lack respect for you – they’re simply using you to unload and whine about their issues.
13) They see you as competition
Friends are supposed to cheer each other on and support each other’s dreams.
When one friend succeeds, the other should feel happy for them and celebrate their hard work.
But if your friend sees you as competition, they’ll probably discourage you from aiming high in life.
The sad truth is:
They’ll want to see you fail.
Anytime you succeed, whether it’s in your love life or at work, they’ll see it as a personal blow to them and they’ll outpour a ton of negativity onto your happiness.
So whether you finally went on that first date, or you got a promotion at work, they’ll always find a way to top it somehow and try to overshadow your successes.
14) They are deliberately insensitive towards you
If your friend is outright mean to you and feels no remorse about it – it’s time to seriously reevaluate your friendship.
Not only is it disrespectful to your emotions, but it shows a complete and utter lack of kindness or caring on their part.
And the worst thing is:
Even if they act like they didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, they can only really get away with it once.
After that, it’s a deliberate act and it’s clear that they don’t intend to change their ways.
15) You feel mentally drained by their negativity
This final sign is one of the most brutal of all.
The effect a disrespectful friend can have on your mental wellbeing.
Let’s be honest, there’s nothing worse than trying to make a friendship work with someone who doesn’t give us anything in return – it’s soul-destroying and painful.
On one hand, you care about them, but on the other hand, you feel used and taken advantage of, and deep down you know it isn’t a good friendship.
And whilst you’ve got this internal battle going on, your disrespectful friend is still piling their crap on to you too, using you as their emotional punch bag and never offering any support in return.
The truth is, it’s chaos for your mind and your emotions.
They’re an emotional vampire and you’re their favorite victim.
So if you feel tired or irritated after you see a friend like this, it might be time to recognize that they are disrespecting you in many ways.
And, it’s abundantly clear they don’t care about your mental health or overall wellbeing.
How can you deal with a disrespectful friend?
So, before you rush off to block them, delete their number and forget their existence, there are a few steps to take before cutting a disrespectful friend out of your life.
Firstly, make sure that your friend isn’t just going through a tough time. Look out for signs such as:
- They’ve recently experienced grief or the loss of a loved one
- They’re going through relationship issues like a divorce or break up
- They’re stressed with work or their home situation
- They’re dealing with an illness that could cause them to be irritable
In some cases, if your friend is dealing with a situation mentioned above, their behavior towards you could be a result of it.
The easiest way to know this is by reflecting on the friendship – have they always been disrespectful or is it a new thing (possibly brought on by something else)?
In this situation, it’s best to communicate your feelings with your friend, try to understand where they’re coming from, and be there for them as much as you can.
But ultimately, even if they are going through a tough time, you’re still not there to be used as a release for their frustration, so some form of compromise or change still needs to happen.
What if you’ve realized that your friend has always been disrespectful from the start?
Well, here are a few steps you can take to first, give them one more chance, and then secondly remove them from your life if they aren’t willing to treat you respectfully:
And by confronting them, I mean letting it all out (as calmly as you can though, take some deep breaths beforehand).
This is your chance to help them see how they make you feel and how their behavior affects you, so no sugar coating or downplaying your feelings.
Be as honest as you can, and calmly explain (even use examples if you can) why you feel disrespected, and what don’t let their excuses quieten you down.
Layout your boundaries
As much as it’s your friend’s fault and choosing to be disrespectful, it’s also your responsibility to make sure they don’t do it anymore.
That’s why after explaining how you feel to your friend, it’s a good idea to let them know the types of boundaries you want in place if your friendship is to continue.
This could be anything from having more of a say on where you guys go out together to them not being so negative and critical about your life anymore.
This is you taking back control over your life and standing up for your right to be in a respectful, loving friendship.
Give them time
After you’ve laid out your boundaries, give your friend time to think things over.
A good friend will acknowledge their mistakes and do their best to correct them. They’ll apologize and you’ll be able to feel genuine remorse for their actions.
But if they try to avoid the issue, never bring it up again, and refuse to apologize, it’s time to move on from this friendship.
There’s nothing more you can do, you’ve given them a chance and they haven’t acted upon it.
Ultimately, here’s where you need to take responsibility for your life and friendships and stand firm in what you expect from your friendships…
So going back to my original question, what does friendship mean to you?
Because I’m betting it doesn’t involve any of the signs we’ve mentioned in this article, so don’t settle for less when it comes to the friends you choose – be firm on your values.
Once you’ve got a clear idea in your mind about what you’re willing to tolerate and not, you’ll be able to cultivate much healthier, happier friendships where respect is a priority.
- 17 signs of disrespect in a relationship you should never ignore
- How to love yourself: 16 steps to believing in yourself again
- Toxic friends: 10 common signs and what you can do about it
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