A good friend supports you, is loyal and makes your life better. A bad friend, among other things, utters dismissive, judgmental or downright hurtful phrases. From suggesting you’re overreacting to something that means a lot to you to guilt tripping you for having to reschedule plans, here are eight things your friends should never say to you.
8 Things Your Friends Should Never, Ever Say to You
1. “I can’t believe you’re bailing on drinks tonight.”
You made plans and for whatever reason—an extra project at work, a babysitter who had to cancel at the last minute—you have to take a raincheck. Life happens. We’ve all got a lot on our plates, but the pal that makes you feel bad about it? Nope. Of course, it’s on you to make plans you can stick to (a marker you also a good friend!), but if the occasional cancelled drinks causes a pal to lay on the guilt, it’s worth re-examining that friendship.
2. “I don’t know, I mean, breastfeeding was so easy for me!”
A friend who constantly tries to one-up you isn’t a friend at all. Let’s say you open up about having a hard time breastfeeding or recent work drama. A true friend listens, supports you and offers advice if they’re asked. They certainly don’t rub it in how wonderful their breastfeeding experience was or how incredibly their job has been going.
3. “Everything comes so easy to you.”
OK, Debbie Downer. Work/life/the world is the worst, per this womp-womp-minded pal. Sure, not every day is sunshine and rainbows, but this friend has a way of making even the sunniest Friday feel bleak. If you find yourself being pulled down by all that doom and gloom, it’s time to cut your losses—or at least limit your catch-ups to texts.
4. “I probably shouldn’t say this, but…”
Sometimes gossip can be fun and harmless. But if you notice your friend taking digs at other friends behind their backs, that’s a red flag. After all, if she’s comfortable gossiping about your other friends to you, what makes you think she won’t gossip about you to them? So, when she starts prattling on about Kate’s husband and the nanny, don’t bite the gossip bullet and jump in (we know—it can be tempting). Instead, offer a neutral response and pivot to a new subject. Once she realizes you’ll never take part in her bad-mouthing bouts, she’ll probably start looking for a more receptive audience).
5. “I’m sorry you felt that way.”
This is not a real apology. According to couples therapist Kaitlin Kindman, “It’s likely well-intended and meant to acknowledge the emotions of the other person or to diffuse conflict, but it’s way too vague to communicate what you’re really thinking and feeling about the other person’s experience,” she says. Instead, your friend should ask questions about why you’re feeling the way you do, and offer support via a simple, “I’m sorry. This sounds so hard.”
6. “You’re overreacting.”
Drumroll, please…This is gaslighting. That’s the term for when a person makes you doubt your thoughts or feelings without giving evidence why. After all, your emotional responses are yours alone, and those feelings can’t and shouldn’t be belittled. Let’s say you’re devastated by the death of your beloved dog. Your friend doesn’t understand why you’re making such a big deal of it. They don’t have to understand, but saying “you’re making too big a deal out of this” is grade-A toxicity.
7. “We need to find you a boyfriend.”
Unless you’ve expressed a deep desire to be in a relationship, your friends don’t need to make it a personal mission to find you one. There’s nothing wrong with being single, and no one should make you feel bad for riding solo.
8. “I’ll do it…Again.”
Martyr alert! That Friday night dinner reservation? This friend volunteered to take care of it, but then spent the first 30 minutes of your catch-up passive-aggressively complaining about the volume of work that went into nabbing the coveted 8 p.m. slot. It’s not that you’re not grateful, but saying thank you should suffice. If it doesn’t—and you’re constantly feeling indebted to her for all her “selfless” deeds—it might be time to move on.