Fulfilling friendships can be an inspiration and a source of strength during difficult times. You share your heart and become vulnerable with those you trust and, in turn, you gain a sense of being loved and understood. The Mayo Clinic reports that good friendships can help reduce your stress, improve your sense of self-worth, help you cope with trauma and encourage you to change unhealthy habits. But what can you do when a particular friend always leaves you feeling drained? You might want to step back and see if you recognize the signs of a bad friendship.
Ask yourself if you feel true to who you are when you are around your friend. Do you like the way you are behaving, or do you feel out of place? Dr. Andrea Bonior reports in "Psychology Today" that if you are experiencing feelings of aggression, resentment, envy or competitiveness, and you do not feel these things around your other friends, it may be time to move on. These feelings signify that there is not a healthy foundation to your relationship.
Take note of the way you talk about yourself when you are with your friend. In a 2010 article in "Glamour," Sarah Jio shares her experience with a friend who compelled her to brag about herself. Jio came to the conclusion that this particular friend made her feel inferior, and that Jio tried to make up for her lack of confidence by constantly drawing attention back to herself. A real friend will not make you feel incompetent; if you feel the need to brag in front of your friend, you may not have a healthy relationship.
Analyze your relationships with other friends. Does this particular friend keep you from spending time with others? If so, you may need to cut ties with him. Dr. Ramani Durvasula states that one sign of an unhealthy friendship is isolation from other people who are important to you. One friend who demands all your time and energy may be manipulating you into focusing your attention on him, instead of having balance in your life and spending time with a variety of people.
Determine if you feel misunderstood. In "Psychology Today," Dr. Bonior explains that the signs of feeling unaccepted by a friend include censoring yourself around her or experiencing embarrassment for something you have no need to feel bad about. Bonior points out that this is the opposite of unconditional love, and not a good foundation for a healthy friendship. Instead of remaining friends with the person who makes you feel this way, try to find a friend who believes in kindness and respect and will give you the love and attention you deserve.
- Recognize your value when it comes to getting out of a bad friendship; you do not have to stay involved with someone who makes you feel inferior, nor should you.
- There is a difference between a bad friend and a dangerous friend. If your friend is showing any signs of abuse, whether physical, emotional or verbal, get out of her presence immediately and contact someone who can help.
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