These Are Things To Avoid Doing To Your Friends
You don’t get to choose your family, but you do get to choose your friends – so it’s important that you treat them right, if you want them to stick around. Sure, no one’s perfect, but there are a few bad habits that can damage a friendship beyond repair. Here are some shady friendship practices to avoid if you want to hold on to your friends…
Don’t Share Your Friend’s Secrets
Never reveal your friend’s secrets to anyone. If your buddy or best friend tells you something in confidence, you should take it to your grave. Unless there’s a possibility that your friend could cause serious harm to themselves, say nothing.
Don’t Use Their Secrets Against Them
By using the secrets they’ve trusted you with against them, you’ll damage your friendship in a way that may be irreparable. You wouldn’t continue to be friends with someone who tried to control you or blackmail you. Don’t betray your friends by leveraging their trust.
Don’t Get Them Into Trouble
It’s fun to get into a bit of trouble every now and then with a friend. That trouble shouldn’t involve physical altercations, law enforcement, or criminal activity. What a person does, even in their free time, can have a huge impact on their livelihood. Please don’t put your friend (or yourself) in a compromising situation.
Don’t Put Them In Awkward Situations
Speaking of compromising situations, don’t put them in any awkward ones either. Sure, it’s inevitable that a few awkward things will happen, but don’t argue with your significant other in front of your friend and ask them to choose sides. Doing things like that can easily breed resentment.
Don’t Bring Your Drama Into Their Lives
Everyone has a little drama now and then, and that’s okay. It’s also okay to talk about your problems with your friends. What isn’t okay? Roping your friends into problems between you and other people or making poor choices that affect how good of a friend you can be.
Don’t Throw What You’ve Done Back In Their Face
One of the worst things you can do is to throw something nice you’ve done back in your friend’s face. Doing that will make it seem like your actions weren’t genuine or that you do favors just to hold it over their head.
Don’t Compete With Them Aggressively
Friendly competition should always be welcome – it’s fun and can challenge you and your bestie to do and be better. But when it gets aggressive, it needs to stop. Aggression and friendship don’t mix well, so aim to keep things light and fun.
Don’t Bail On Them
Things come up – that’s just how life works. However, if you’re constantly bailing on your friend, you’ll probably be labelled a flake. Your friends will lose trust in you and learn they can’t count on you. If you can’t make it, let your friends know ahead of time, apologize, and make plans to hang out again… and actually follow through.
Don’t Repeatedly Ditch Them For Your Significant Other
The most annoying reason to constantly flake on your friends is ditching them in favor of your significant other. Your friends were there before your partner, and they’ll be there to help you pick up the pieces if it fails. Remember they’re just as important (if not more so) than your S.O. – so treat them like it.
Don’t Call Only When You Need Something
Your friend shouldn’t be treated as if their sole purpose is to serve you, listen to you, or back you up. They ought to be worth more to you than the help they can offer. You should of course support each other, but it’s also annoying to feel like your buddy only calls when they need something.
Don’t Speak Only About Yourself
On that note: share the spotlight. It’s common for people to make themselves the center of everything. Sure, your friend will want to hear about what’s new in your life, but they’ve probably got some things to share with you, too. Instead of talking, listen.
Don’t Put Them Down
Unless you’re secretly a robot, you know how bad it feels when someone puts you down or insults you. There’s no reason on earth why should do it to your friend, even if they’ve done something that makes you mad. Verbal abuse is not something a good friend – or good person – ever does.
Don’t Put Them Down In Front Of Others
You shouldn’t put your friends down to begin with, but doing it in front of others takes it to a whole new level, and not in a good way. If you have nothing nice to say, especially about your friend, don’t say it in a group setting. Opt to address grievances or frustrations in private.
Don’t Forget To Celebrate Their Achievements
When someone succeeds or achieves their goals, nine times out of ten they’d like to be congratulated. As a friend, it’s your job to make your buddy know that they did a good job and that you’re proud of them. Wouldn’t you want the same?
Don’t Talk About Them Behind Their Backs
Gossiping about your friend is a big no-no, and it has nothing to do with sharing their secrets. You should never talk badly about your friend to anyone. Don’t laugh at them, start rumors about them, or comment on the things they’ve done that you don’t like. Stay away from participating in negative conversations about a friend, unless you’re talking to them directly.
Don’t Be Disingenuous
It’s hard to fathom why people act insincere. Maybe this behavior stems from insecurity, or because they’re trying to hide something. Either way, it’s a waste of time and your friend is bound to get hurt. Be real, be honest, and be vulnerable. You’ll be a better person for it, and your friendship will blossom.
Don’t Disappear When They Need You
There will probably be a time when your friend will need you, and you won’t be able to be there for them. Although you can’t be there every time, don’t make it a habit. Ditching your friend when everything isn’t rosy will probably get you branded as the unreliable friend.
Don’t Let Them Date No-Good People
Your friends will date whoever they wish to date, but it’s okay to share your concerns with them if you notice some unsettling behaviors. If they’re with someone who shouts at them, puts them down, is using them for money, or is just an all-around scumbag, let them know. Part of being a good friend is looking out for their best interests.
Don’t Exclude Them When You Hang Out With Mutual Friends
Deliberately excluding someone is harsh. Even when it’s not intentional, it can feel like other people are bullying you. You don’t have to invite a particular friend out whenever you spend time with your mutual friends. On the other hand, if you never invite them to tag along, they’ll probably begin to feel left out and doubt their importance to you.
Don’t Confront Them Aggressively
Disagreements will happen in any friendship; it’s how you approach and handle them that’ll determine whether your friendship will last. Even if you’re furious with your friend, there’s no reason to approach them aggressively. Treating your friends with respect should be your number one priority.
Don’t Shut Them Out
Sometimes life hands you lemons that you can’t make lemonade out of. When that happens, it’s okay to want some time for yourself. Be sure to give your friends a heads-up and tell them that you’re not okay. By letting them know what’s going on, they won’t think you’ve disappeared. And who knows, maybe they’ll be able to offer support in ways you hadn’t expected.
Don’t Judge Them
When your friend tells you they’ve done something that you don’t necessarily agree with, it’s very important to not judge them. Tell them that their actions sometimes worry you, but you love them and want the best for them. Make it clear that you’re not judging them – otherwise they may stop sharing with you altogether.
Don’t Discourage Their Goals
The world is a difficult place to live in and, chances are, your friend already has enough naysayers in their life without adding you to the list. If you think their goals aren’t realistic, you can voice your concerns, but don’t outright discourage them. If you feel compelled to make them see where you’re coming from, suggest things you’d think they’d be better suited for. Offer helpful solutions or alternatives, if you can. Don’t make them feel bad or stupid for wanting to achieve something.
Don’t Lie To Them
Lying to your friends is never good, even when it comes to little white lies. Don’t tell them that their outfit looks great when it doesn’t or that they were right when they were wrong. Believe it or not, you might be inadvertently setting your friend up to look like a fool or to fail. Besides, you can learn tell your friend anything if you say it the right way: with love and compassion.
Don’t Act Jealous
Jealousy can strike even in the tightest of friendships – after all, you’re only human. When this happens, it’s okay to let your friend know how you feel, but it’s important that you own your jealousy. Reflect on how you feel and determining where those emotions are coming from and if they serve you. It’s not your friend’s fault that they got a promotion, have more money than they know what to do with, or met the person of their dreams. Be happy for them and know that your time will come.
Don’t Act Petty
Pettiness can destroy even the most rock-solid of friendships. You have to learn to let the small things go, especially when it comes to someone you care deeply about. Don’t be passive aggressive or make snide comments. If you can’t get over the little things, how will you deal with bigger disagreements?
Don’t Hold Grudges
Speaking of big disagreements, you also need to learn how to deal with these as well. If there’s something that your friend has done to upset you, let them know. Sit down and talk to them about it. The last thing you want to do is sweep your concerns under the rug, where your bad feelings will fester. After you’ve spoken about it, pull an Elsa and let it go.
Don’t Be Just A “Social Media Friend”
Being a good friend is more than just posting memes to someone’s timeline and tagging them in your stories. If you’d rather comment on your friend’s picture than spend time together in person, then maybe you aren’t that close.
Don’t Cut Them Off When They’re Speaking
Can you imagine being cut off every time you opened your mouth? Chances are that this has already happened to you and you didn’t like it. Why would you do it to someone you care about? There are instances where you could be doing this without even realizing it, so try to be more self-aware when you guys are talking.
Don’t Post Embarrassing Pictures Of Them
Unless you and your friend have an agreement where neither of you minds the other posting crazy pictures of yourselves, then doing this is not okay. You also have to be careful that you don’t post pictures where you look good, but your friend doesn’t.
Don’t Be Silent When They’re Doing Stupid Things
This is more about dealing with reckless behavior, as opposed to annoying behavior. You can’t call yourself a good friend if you let your buddy drive drunk or call an ex who didn’t treat them well. You don’t need to control what your friend does, but speak up if you see a trainwreck heading straight for them.
Don’t Hold Back From Giving Them Strong Advice
Be the one who lets their buddy know when there’s a booger in their nose. Reassure your friend that they have more potential than they realize. Tell your best friend that they might be wrong in the fight with their roommates. Not holding them accountable or giving them advice will hurt both of you.
Don’t Count Every Penny
Some friends have more money than others. It’s just how life works sometimes. If you’re well off and your friend isn’t, you shouldn’t throw your wealth in their face, or expect them to keep up with you. There’s nothing wrong with buying two or three rounds while your friend buys one, because they’re not in the best place financially- especially if it was your idea to hang out.
Don’t Expect Them To Pay For Everything
On the flip side, just because your friend is financially well-off doesn’t mean that you should take advantage of them. It’s wrong on many levels and it’ll make your friend feel used. It’d mean a lot more if you could take them out once in a blue moon instead, or create new experiences instead of riding along all the time.
Don’t Ignore Them In Favor Of New Friends
Making new friends is something that’s bound to happen. As exciting as budding friendships are, you should never ignore your old friends in favor of your new ones. If you find yourself growing and changing and no longer have the same connection with your older friends, let them know. Or, if you still feel connected to your old friends, make sure to plan time for them, too.
Don’t Blame Them For Everything
Playing the blame game has probably ended more marriages and friendships than people care to admit. Can you imagine being blamed for everything that goes wrong in a friendship? The truth is, friendships are a two-way street. Issues that arise are rarely one person’s fault alone.
Don’t Flirt With Their Significant Others
No matter how comfortable you and your friend are with each other, flirting with significant others are absolute no-nos. Don’t touch them in an overly affectionate manner, wear little to no clothing around them, or make comments you know can be taken the wrong way.
Don’t Brag, Excessively Or Otherwise
If your life is going better than your friend’s – financially, relationship-wise, or professionally – it’s unkind to brag about it all the time. Sure, your accomplishments should be acknowledged and celebrated, but don’t talk about it to the point where it makes your friend uncomfortable.
Don’t Ghost Them
Communication is key to the survival of any relationship. If your best friend has done something to upset you, talk to them about it. Don’t hold it in and then stop talking to them all of a sudden. They’ll be confused, you’ll be upset, and your friendship will wither.
Don’t Expect More Than You’re Willing To Give
One-sided friendships are tiring (at best) for the friend who gives more. The two of you should have the same amount of love and respect for each other. Don’t expect your friend to cross oceans for you if you’re only jumping over puddles for them.
Don’t Force Your Opinions On Them
People are allowed to have their opinions, and it’s wrong to force what you believe on your friends. You and your friend will care about different things and come from different backgrounds. Deciding that you’re right and they’re wrong devalues their experiences. It’s okay to have a conversation, but agree to disagree instead of shoving your opinions down their throat.
Don’t Make Them Feel Stupid Because Of Their Opinions
Most people never forget the face of the person who tore them down. The sad part is that, that person can sometimes be a “friend.” If your friend is wrong or doesn’t think the way you do, you won’t be strengthening your bond by laughing at their ideas or ignoring what they have to say.
Don’t Embarrass Them With Your Actions
If you’re deliberately trying to embarrass your friend or make them look bad, it’s way past time for you to stop. Not only is it inappropriate behavior for a supposed-friend, but it’s plain mean. Are you their friend or a bully?
Don’t Be Absent Even When You’re Present
In an age where we’re often consumed with technology, it’s important to be in the moment when you guys are together. There’s nothing more annoying than having a one-sided conversation with someone who’s constantly on their phone.
Don’t Give Them Ultimatums
The great thing about having a close friend is that you can be vulnerable and ask them to help you out. It’s still a friendship though, so if your friend is unwilling to help, don’t resort to giving them an ultimatum. Respect their boundaries and move on.
Don’t Avoid Trying To Relate To Their Situation
The beautiful thing about friendships is that people from totally different backgrounds and upbringings can find each other and form a bond. If your friend is going through something that you don’t know how to relate to, try to put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself how you would feel if the same thing happened to you. If you’re really struggling, then choose to be upfront and let them know you still care, even if you can’t relate.
Don’t ‘Silver-Line’ Their Situation
Sometimes, all your friend needs is for you to listen to and empathize with them. While it’s great to be optimistic, it can be incredibly hurtful to point out the bright side while a friend shares their troubles. Instead, it’s often alright to leave it at, “I’m so sorry this happened to you,” or, “I’m here for you if you need me.” That way, you don’t downplay the situation or negate their feelings.
Don’t Try To Control The Friendship
A lot of people like being in control because it can be easier to get what they want. Friendships should never be like that. In fact, those bonds should be almost effortless. Two people who love each other or share enough in common should be able to get along without one of them holding the reigns.
Don’t Try To Control Their Life
While it’s great to give your friends advice, it’s not great to control their lives in the process. Even if you’re just trying to look out for them, it’s not okay to dictate who they can talk to, hang out with, or date. You’re their friend, not their parent.
Don’t Leave Them On “Read”
Leaving someone on read means that you’ve read their message and didn’t respond. There are definitely exceptions, of course. Personal well-being, alone time, work, or school can stop you from replying asap. While you can get busy sometimes, don’t make a habit of not responding for days at a time.
You now have a pretty good idea of what habits to avoid in order to be a model friend. If you can nail down the majority of this list, you’re likely to build and keep strong bonds with all of your friends.