Tag Archives: unhealthy friendships

On friendship pain

Sometimes it can be hard to tell if a friend’s taking advantage of you, or if you are just being overly sensitive. However, there are some infallible signs to be on the lookout for that will give you answers.

Here are 8 signs that you’re being taken advantage of in a friendship.

1. They don’t listen to you, but always expect you to listen to them.
If your friend expects you to listen to them vent for 20 minutes straight, then they should let you vent to them, too. If you always provide a shoulder to cry on, but they dismiss you or don’t give you their full attention when you have a problem or are feeling down, that’s not a true friendship.

2. They only want to hang out when it’s convenient for them.
If they want your entire schedule to revolve around their appointments or commitments, something is wrong. When making plans in healthy friendships, you should both discuss your schedules and compromise to figure out what dates, activities, and times work best.

3. They’re constantly asking you to do favors for them.
If your friend is sending you out on errands as if you’re suddenly their Personal Assistant, it’s time to reassess the relationship. Sure, friends with healthy relationships will do favors for one another, but if it’s one sided and the person is constantly asking you to go out of your way for them, they’re taking advantage of you.

4. They only reach out when they need help.
This is one of the surefire easiest ways to spot whether someone is taking advantage of you. Does it seem like your friend only hits you up when they need something? It may feel like they’re always needing your help, whether it’s borrowing money, career advice, or “brain picking” with nothing to offer in return, or a place to crash when they’re in town (but they never talk to you regularly throughout the year).

5. They are always making you pay for things.
It’s pretty common for a friend to offer to foot the bill once in a while, and it’s expected that the other friend will get the bill the next time, right? If you notice your friend is conveniently always “missing” when the check comes, they never offer to pay for anything, they’re just taking your money, and it’s definitely time to have a serious talk with them.

6. They’re using you to get ahead.
The sad truth is that a lot of people will use others just to get ahead in life, whether that means to gain popularity in a certain social circle or in a work environment. You don’t have to be rich and famous for people to try to use you and your friendship to their advantage. Manipulative people will keep “friends” just so they can step on you to climb on up to the top.

7. They don’t show interest in your personal life.
Friends care about their friends. Think about it — you want to know how your friends are doing, right? You care about your friends’ well being, how they’re doing, and you’re curious about their daily life. If your friend never asks how you’re doing, doesn’t show interest in your life, and only wants to talk about themselves, you are less than significant.

8. They are not happy for you.
You may have had a major win at work, lost weight, had a great date, or accomplished a personal goal. If they don’t take the time to appreciate your victory, they brush it off or minimize it, or switch the subject to their own life, you do not have a real friend.

Don’t let your “friends” take advantage of you, your kindness, or your time. Your true friends will never want to take too much from you or be manipulative. They genuinely desire your company, through good and bad times. They don’t forget about you when things are going well for them. if you feel like somebody’s taking advantage of you — they are.
Also see Friendships Are Good For Your (Mental and Physical) Health.

On Friendship and Mental Health

Connecting with true friends is one of the best things we can do for our health and happiness. The research unequivocally shows that having true friendships is good for our medical and mental health, decreases stress, helps manage depressive and anxious symptoms, and contributes to overall life satisfaction. Friends help us live longer: Seniors with a strong connection to a network of social support live longer and healthier lives.

Like any powerful relationship, friendships can hurt and harm.

Transactional friendships
Some people are friends with you because of what you can do for them. Red flags include friends who repeatedly try to sell you something, ask to borrow money, ask your help to buy things or services, or keep tabs on favors. These friends routinely cross the line between friendship and business. Unlike business, friendships can emotionally hurt you, because what you regarded as care or love was actually convenience.

Narcissus friendships
This friendship works great, initially, because you have a common factor: you both adore the narcissist. As long as you are both on the same page, aligned on the superiority of one, you get along well.

When needs become mutual, the relationship breaks down. The relationship might also be more subtle — they may love you back when you consistently admire them, and they validate you with heart emojis. In return you get a shot to your self-esteem.

Mutually unhealthy friendships
In 2007, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine tracked the spread of obesity through a “deeply interconnected social network” of more than 12,000 people, underscoring that social ties link to health behavior. Healthy (or unhealthy) habits can circulate within any friend group, too. For instance, unhealthy psychological habits like a tendency to put each other down, self criticize or denigrate, or to complain constantly can spread from friend to friend. Over-eating, substance abuse, and even overworking can become an acceptable and approved part of a friend group.

Emotional labor friendships
This is where you do all the emotional work — talking them down, shoring them up: “Of course you’re amazing. Sure, let’s talk about all the ways you rock. Again. Tell me about your terrible week.“ If you’re doing all the work in the relationship, you’re an employee, not a friend. Of course, over time the balance will shift back and forth — you will inevitably have a major life crisis at the same time your friend gets a promotion or falls in true love, but good friends are there to share in your successes and your struggles. You should feel sure in your friendship; winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call.

Historical friendships
Historical friends are those who have stayed in our lives as we’ve grown up, for whatever reason. They are not necessarily the closest friends we have, but they have stood the test of time. These are the friends we usually meet in school. We bond with them and the bond may fade but never disappear. We may meet up with these friends only once in awhile, but when we do, we fall back into the rhythms of the relationship in no time at all. Then after the meeting we all go ou own way until our paths cross again. But historical friends make up a piece of our identity. Lifestyles, interests, and values may have drifted apart, but it’s OK to hold them in your heart without having to force time together.

True friendships
Your “friends of the heart” are the people you can call at two in the morning when you have a problem. They listen to you, give you their full attention, and are on your side no matter what. They know everything, or almost everything, about your life. With them, you feel confident and don’t need to hide your true self because the foundation of your friendship is acceptance.

They make time to be with you. You may disagree, even argue, but neither one of you exits the relationship. They tell you when you have messed up, and pull you up at the same time. Research on friendship indicates that most people generally only have between four and six ‘true’ friends, because friendship requires dedicated commitment, time, communication, and growth.Our brains are only dedicated to a special few people.

Also see:
Nine Reasons Why Cross-Cultural Friendships Are Great for Your Brain
The Ingredients of Friendship

Embolden Psychology
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