There’s too much drama
Adult friendships shouldn’t involve drama. If the dynamics of your friend group resemble something you thought you’d left behind in high school – or possibly even in grade school – it’s probably time to move on. Life is too short for endless cycles of “he said”….”no, she said”, fallings out, and over-emotional rapprochements.
They thrive on negativity
Whether for good or ill, friends affect your mental health. If your friend group consists of people who seem to thrive on negativity, there’s a strong chance this will rub off on you. Even if you’re usually mentally strong, you can easily find yourself second-guessing your own decisions, feeling gloomy or depressed.
They condone your self-abuse
Everyone makes bad decisions some of the time. However, some bad decisions are worse than others – and these are the decisions that we need our friends to hold fast against. If you’re drinking to excess, abusing drugs or self-harming, you might not be in the right frame of mind to help yourself. If your friends condone your actions – whether directly or indirectly – they’re not true friends.
They condone your abusive partner
It’s hard to see a beloved friend with an abusive partner. Plenty of people have sad tales to tell of how they tried – and sometimes failed – to convince a friend to leave and start afresh without that partner. Whether they succeed or not, this is how a friend should behave. Consequently, if you have friends who make excuses for your abusive partner or suggest that you might be to blame in some way, you have the wrong friends.
They only ever talk about their kids
Kids can be all-consuming, particularly in the early days of parenthood. Most people, whether they’re parents or not, are happy to make allowances for new parents and parents going through tough times with their kids. However, if kids are all someone ever talks about, it’s hard to sustain a genuine two-way friendship.
They’ll only go to restaurants with play spaces
Maintaining adult friendships can be hard work once you have kids. Sometimes it is necessary to take your kids with you when you meet your friends. However if you always take your kids, never leaving them with their other parent or a babysitter, your friends – even if they have their own children – may start to get annoyed.
They organize vacations without you
Discovering that your friends have planned a vacation without asking you along is hard to stomach. Whatever their reasons, you’re bound to feel excluded – and these feelings are even more profound if you learn about the vacation via happy photos on social media. You could also them why you weren’t included but, really, what would that achieve? It might be better to ask yourself if they’re really the right friends for you.
They never pick your choice of restaurant
Finding a restaurant that suits a group of people can be hard work, especially if that group includes disparate tastes, dietary needs, and budgets. However, if the rest of the group never bends to accommodate your tastes, dietary needs, and budget, you have to question how much you matter to your so-called friends.
They pick a restaurant that doesn’t serve anything you can eat
Raw paleo is one thing. Gluten-free or Kosher are entirely another. If your dietary needs are niche or extreme, you must expect friends to be reluctant to pick restaurants that accommodate you. However friends who won’t agree to restaurant that serve dishes that really aren’t out of the mainstream are saying they don’t care whether you come along or not.
They gossip behind each other’s backs
Are you a gossip? Be honest: most of us indulge now and then. However, gossip that gets out of hand is very tiring. Even if you’re a Queen gossiper, you’ll always be wondering – at least a little – if the others gossip about you behind your back. (The answer, by the way, is: yes, they do.) Ultimately, a friendship group that gossips has dysfunctional dynamics.
They don’t support your plans
If you can’t rely on your friends to support your plans, who can you rely on! They say you can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends; make sure you choose your friends wisely. Pick people who will lift you up and encourage you, not those who’ll equivocate or trash your plans.
They want you to live their way
You and your friends don’t need to be the same in every respect for the friendship to work. Sure, crossover points are helpful but so too is respect for the differing opinions and choices of others. If your friends can’t give you that respect, and expect you to live according to their choices, you need different friends.
You always drive to see them
It’s pretty common to get into a pattern in which the same person puts in the legwork (or the driving miles) to meet up with their friends. Sometimes, a gentle nudge is enough to remedy the problem and remind the others to take their turn. If this doesn’t work and there’s no really good reason for you always being the one to do the travelling, ask yourself if the friendship means more to you than to them.
They don’t reply to your messages
Some people are hopeless at replying to messages. Now and then they might have a good reason – but all of the time? Alternatively, they could just be very disorganized, in which case it’s up to you to decide if this bothers you. And, of course, you might be low down their list of priorities. Again, you must decide if this is sufficient for you to make the break…
You’re always the one to suggest meeting up
If you’re always the person who suggests meeting up, it’s valid to question how much your friends value the friendship. Perhaps they’ve simply got into the habit of letting you initiate meet-ups. If you’re feeling brave, test this by holding off on suggesting any more get-togethers. See how long – if it all – it is before they contact you.
You live a very long way away
Distance in itself doesn’t have to spell the end for a friendship. However it certainly makes it trickier and usually changes the dynamic to some extent. To overcome the tricky part, you’ll need to be happy with emails, phone calls, social media messages and even old-fashioned letter writing. Without this, the friendship is over, no matter the sentiment behind it.
They always suggest activities that don’t interest you
Part of being good friends means accepting that your friends may enjoy different activities. Part of being very good friends is being prepared – sometimes – to join in with some of those different activities. Friends who won’t ever do this aren’t good friends. And friends who always suggest their own choice of activities are very bad friends indeed.
Your politics are very different
If recent times have taught us anything, it’s about the very polarizing nature of politics. Different political viewpoints don’t have to spell the end for a friendship but they often make it more difficult to sustain. Agreeing to disagree can work. So, too, can avoiding the flashpoints. However, if you can’t do either of these things, the friendship probably isn’t sustainable.
Your morals are different
If anything, different morals are even trickier than different politics. Morals are so fundamental to who we are and how we see the world that it’s very hard to spend significant amounts of time with anyone who sees things differently. As a result, widely different moral viewpoints usually mark the end of a friendship.
You like different TV shows, movies, and books
Wouldn’t life be boring if we all liked the same things? Well, yes, it would but, when it comes to friends, having something in common is really important. Movies, TV and books are such significant cultural touchstones that if you find yourself liking very different ones from your friends, it’s likely to weaken the foundation of the friendship.
They laugh at your clothes
Friends don’t need to dress like each other but they do need to respect each others’ choices – and make appropriate, and preferably heartfelt, compliments every now and again. If your friends don’t do this and, worse, if they actually laugh at you, they perhaps don’t respect you as a person.
There’s a big wealth disparity
Sustaining friendships with people in very different financial situations has specific challenges. If you’re the wealthier person, you have to be very sensitive to the feelings – and the disposable income – of your friends. If the situation is reversed, you’ll be hoping your friends are similarly sensitive and don’t always make you feel like the poor relation. Sadly, this frequently spells the end of friendships.
They always insist on “going Dutch” when eating out
Do your friends always insist on splitting the bill when you go out? Worse, do they always pick the most expensive items on the menu? If you find yourself constantly subsidising the steak and champagne of others, when you’ve eaten the vegetarian special and you’re the designated driver, you’re a sucker who needs better friends.
One of them got together with your partner
It’s sad but true to note that it’s not uncommon for people to hook up with a friend of their partner. If this happens to you, you certainly need a new partner and at least one new friend. However, if your entire friend group knows about the cheating – and was complicit in it via their silence – sadly you also need a whole new set of friends.
They look down on you
No matter what they say, people who look down on you aren’t your friends. They might tell you they’re trying to “raise you up” or “help you be the best they can be”. Bluntly, though, this is garbage. What they’re actually doing is making themselves feel better, more important or more successful at your expensive. Get rid of them.
You change your plans to accommodate them
Everyone changes their plans occasionally to suit a friend. It’s part and parcel of being a flexible and understanding person. However if you’re always the one who has to shift to accommodate the needs of others, it’s time to ask yourself whether those others value your time and plans less than they do their own.
They are “friend poachers”
Have you experienced a friend poacher? A friend who moves in on your other friends and, in the process, excludes you, isn’t a friend. Even worse, they’re a thief. And, yes, the “friends” they’ve moved in on are at least as much to blame. It’s a bitter pill to swallow but sometimes all you can do is walk away.
You’ve outgrown them
As the saying goes, some people are friends for a season and others are friends for life. It’s not always easy to know which is which – and, even when you do work it out, the realisation can be painful. Acknowledging that some people are “seasonal” friends isn’t to deny their significance in your life. Accepting the natural end of the friendship is important for future growth.
You’ve moved away and they haven’t
If you’re someone who moved away for college or left your college town for the big city, there’s a good chance you also moved away from friends. Moving away won’t always signify the end of a friendship but it’s frequently the case, especially if the move coincides with significant life events, such as starting your first job.
They post everything on social media
If you’re a naturally private person or just someone who’s wary of posting their entire life on social media, it can be difficult to remain friends with people who are the natural opposites. Even if they’re courteous enough not to post your photo or tag you in every image of every “yummy” meal they’ve enjoyed, it’s annoying having to scroll through reams of their content.
They’re your kid’s friends’ parents
Some people go all out in an effort to befriend the parents of their kids’ friends. While this can work very well, it has inherent potential disadvantages. For instance, what happens if the two kids have a bust up and decide they’re no longer friends? Some adults do manage to navigate these choppy waters but, for others, the natural ups and downs of childhood friendships spell the end of their own.
They didn’t call when you were ill or bereaved
People who don’t call when you’re ill or have suffered a bereavement aren’t necessarily callous or uncaring. Frequently, their lack of effort is actually a reflection of their fear of saying the wrong thing or a manifestation of some reawakened pain of their own. All of that notwithstanding, from your perspective, it’s as if they don’t care. Even previously strong friendships can founder on these grounds.
They aren’t interested in the details of your life
For sure, no one needs to know every last detail of your day – and you shouldn’t expect them to want to. However friends who never display any interest in the small things are overlooking the minutiae of what makes you who you are. Ultimately, perhaps, what they don’t ask is a reflection of how they view your friendship.
They don’t celebrate your successes
It can be difficult to see others succeed where you’ve failed – or even where you haven’t yet succeeded. However, true friends will celebrate each other successes. People who are unable to do this or who do it only begrudgingly are saying volumes about the friendship – or its imminent end.
They leave you out of group chats
If it’s hard to find yourself left out of your friends’ vacation, it can be just as hard to discover that they have a group chat that doesn’t include you. Unless there’s a good reason for your exclusion – such as, they’re planning a surprise birthday party for you – it suggests they have things to say about you that you won’t like. If this happens, you’re right to reevaluate the friendship.
You feel drained by them
Friendships sometimes require you to give a little, and sometimes they require you to give a lot. If your friends constantly require you to do the latter, you’ll inevitably end up weary and drained. Without any chance to replenish your resources, you may find yourself reassessing the value of the friendships.
They always expect you to host
Are you a Monica? Even if you are and you love hosting, the expectation that you do so isn’t good for the health of your friendships. Friends who are happy to sit back and let others do all the hard work – and especially if they don’t offer to chip in on the cost – are taking you, and your friendship, for granted. Only you can decide how much this matters to you.
They don’t pay their way
No matter how much you like to host or to treat other people, it’s nice if they occasionally extend the same courtesy to you. If they don’t and, worse, if they take your hospitality for granted, you’re going to end up feeling taken advantage of. This is a very one-sided friendship and, in fact, it’s so one-sided it barely qualifies for the term.
They “punch down”
Fair enough, friends sometimes tease each other – and this is often a sign of a healthy relationship. However, teasing must never go far enough to tip into mocking or making fun. If people in your social circle do this, ask yourself why you need so-called friends to fulfil this unwelcome role.
They dominate conversations
Spending time with people who dominate the conversation is tiring. It’s also dispiriting as what you have to say, or how you feel, gets washed away in their torrent of words. Of course, some people are natural chatterers and others use conversation to manage their own anxiety but you matter too – and friends who can’t work that out might not be the right friends.