Red Flags To Look Out For In Your Friendships

Red flags in romantic relationships are extremely important to remember, but they aren’t the only types of relationships you should apply red flags to. Our friendships form the foundation of so many of our lives and experiences—and when it comes to the people you need in your corner, you want those relationships to be as healthy as possible. 

While one or two of these may not be a huge deal-breaker (context is always important!), if your friends seem to check off several of these boxes, it may be time to reevaluate the type of relationship you have with them.

When they don’t celebrate your wins with you

Friendships can’t be one-sided 24/7, and if your friends only ever want to celebrate when they are the ones who accomplished something but treat your wins as meaningless? It’s not a great sign.

When they always bring the conversation back to themselves

Relating a story back to yourself isn’t always a sign of selfishness or ego—many of us connect by sharing similar experiences. Yet if most of your conversation involves them finding some way to talk about themselves (even if it has nothing to do with the topic at hand), it can feel more like they want a sounding board than a real friend.

When they consistently center their feelings, even if they are in the wrong

Similarly, if you’re in an argument or disagreement and they are only willing to center their feelings (i.e., “Okay, fine, I said this, but it’s because YOU did this and made me feel bad”), then it’s a pretty decent sign that their priority is being right, not being a friend. 

If they never initiate communication with you

Sure, some people aren’t super talkative, and that’s more than okay. Yet if it appears that you are the only one ever initiating texts, conversations, or plans, then it’s something to pay attention to—especially if this person often initiates these things with other people.

If they always bail on you

Things come up, and sometimes canceling plans last minute is part of life. Yet if it’s happening all the time? Especially if they’ve had plenty of opportunities to tell you ahead of time, they don’t value your time or company the way they should. 

If you don’t reach out to them because you aren’t sure you can depend on them

While it’s never one person’s responsibility to drop everything to be there for us, there are also patterns that we tend to notice in our relationships. If your friend isn’t someone you go to because you know deep down they aren’t going to be there for you, ask yourself why you think that is. If it’s because you have tried countless times before and they were never there, then maybe it’s time to readjust the type of connection you share with them.

If they don’t tell you how they are really feeling

Communication is a two-way street, especially in friendships. If they get upset and passive-aggressive with you, but refuse to tell you how they are feeling, then how can you two ever fix the issue? (Spoiler: you can’t). 

If they shit talk people in the group chat—constantly

Listen, we are pretty much all guilty of this—group chats are sacred spaces for a reason. However, how often are your friends degrading and railing on other people? Are they so focused on tearing down a person (whether for a good reason or not) that it’s almost all they do? Because sadly, if they do it around you, they will often do it to you when you aren’t around.

If they have a history of fallouts/blow-ups with other friends

This pattern is one that shouldn’t be ignored. If they tell you countless stories about their terrible ex-friends and how it was “all their fault” but never admit any part they could have played in it? It’s important to keep in mind that they may not have the healthiest track record of reliable, dedicated friendships.

If they get jealous/possessive of you when you aren’t with them

If they act as though they are the only friend you should have, then this doesn’t bode well for you or your relationship with them. Friendships require give and take, and you are likely someone with other important priorities in your life. If a friend acts jealous or possessive when you talk about things that happened without them, be aware.

If they invalidate you or your feelings when you try to be honest

Your feelings matter, and should be respected by your friends in most cases. If you try to be honest with someone about how they hurt you, and they respond by minimizing or invalidating your feelings, then it’s important to keep in mind that they will revert to this way of thinking anytime you’re in a disagreement.

If they cross your boundaries/don’t consider your feelings 

Boundaries aren’t always easy to discuss or enforce, which is why in healthy friendships, people do their best to respect those boundaries. However, some people are more tempted to prioritize their feelings and comfort about your boundaries, and that’s just not a great foundation to build a friendship. 

If they try to make you feel small

If when you’re together, they constantly put you down with little digs, minimizing your experiences, talk over you, or ignore you, then you know they aren’t concerned with being a good friend. Sometimes people prefer to have an entourage that agrees with them than do the work that real friendships involve, and it’s important to notice the difference between the two.