6 Ways You're (*Gasp*) Accidentally Being a Bad Friend
Your pals were acting weirdly distant at the movies last night and you’re not sure why. Could it be—gasp—that you’re not being a good friend? Without even knowing it? Maybe. Read on for six ways you might inadvertently be pushing people away.
You Flake on Plans...All the Time
Sending a last-minute “I’m so tired, can we reschedule?” text is OK…every once in a while. If you get to a point where you’re doing it constantly, your friends are going to notice and think you don’t want to spend time with them (even if that’s totally not the reason). If you have been on a bit of a raincheck kick, try initiating a hangout of your own to show that it's you, not them, and try your best to bail last-minute only if you have a really good reason. ("Laziness" isn't a good reason.)
You Wait for Your Friends to Call You
Any relationship—be it with a partner or a friend—takes work to maintain. If your friends are always the ones reaching out to you to hang out, they might get the idea that you’re not as invested as they are. If you’re not usually the take-charge one in the friendship, switch things up. Next weekend, organize a dinner at that little Italian restaurant you’ve been meaning to check out. Bam, everybody wins.
You Expect Your Relationships to Stay the Same
Real talk: People change. If you refuse to accept the fact that your friendships are constantly evolving, you’re going to end up pushing your friends away. Obviously, if a relationship changes for the worse, it’s worth taking a closer look, but it’s only natural to go through periods when you’re each other’s rock and others when you struggle to find time to meet up. Go with the natural ebb and flow of the friendship and you’ll weather any storm together.
You Expect Too Much
As much as you might not want to believe it, your besties have lives outside of you, and you can’t always be the center of their universe. As such, you can’t get mad when they flake or do something you perceive as a slight, because you’ll probably end up holding it against them and, in turn, being a not-so-great friend yourself. Cut your friends some slack sometimes and try not to feel personally offended when they say they’re going to stay in on Saturday night.
You Cycle Through Friends Quickly
If you measure periods of time by who your best friend was (and you’re not in, like, sixth grade), you might want to rethink your friendship strategy. Friends are always going to come into and out of your life, but if you notice the turnover is in hyper drive, there’s a good chance you’re pushing people away. If that’s the case, evaluate your former friendships and try to figure out if there’s a common thread in how the relationships ended.
You Always Play Devil's Advocate
Obviously your best bud shouldn’t keep texting that guy who’s clearly wrong for her, and a little tough love never hurt anyone. But if you’re always critical, even if it’s for your friend’s good, they’re—understandably—going to feel like you’re not being supportive. If you feel strongly about something, make your case once. If your critique isn’t well received, accept that sometimes you have to let people learn from their own mistakes.