How Can You Recognise a Bad Friend and Change Your Life?

How to recognise a bad friend?

Since we all know where the good resides, the evil is just across the street. That’s the thing with every relation – and here, it’s “Friendship” that we are talking about. Yes, many amazing people truly have fantastic nature and they do care about us and love us. But at the same time, we cannot deny that we live in the 21st century, and it’s the era of social media and many other distractions and deceptions. 

There are many people whom you call friends from the heart, however they are your friends from the mind but not heart, and are bad and negative people in disguise.

So without wasting any time, I’ll share some prominent traits and points  to recognise a bad friend.

1. A Bad Friend Gets Jealous of You

A bad friend gets jealous when:

It’s not like a bad friend won’t praise you or say congratulations to you; they do. But he or she is not happy inside and hides their real emotions. Actually, they will put up a facade. Hence, learn to read their emotions — as you may notice that a glint is missing in their eyes, restricted body language, comments are not appreciative, and smile is not genuine — and you may recognise your jealous friend.

Growing up means realising a lot of your friends aren’t really your friends.

— Unknown

Example: Once, I bought a sofa for my home — not a costly one, just a sufficient one.   So, one day a friend visited our home, he noticed the sofa and asked where I bought it. At that moment, I could feel from his face that he was not quite happy about it. A few days later,  he came back and showed us some pics of his new luxurious sofa which he bought after selling his old one, and was praising its cost, quality, etc. In conclusion, I gave it a thought and observed that an immediate need to buy the same thing was just a simple case of jealousy.

2. A Bad Friend Criticises You

Constructive criticisms/feedback are always welcome. However, nobody likes destructive criticism. If your friend always focuses on problems only while criticising, you know something is not right.

Criticism should have value, it should let you know how you can improve a certain problem/habit/behaviour which you may not be aware of or maybe you are neglecting it. Solutions or a hint of it should be there. 

When a friend criticises you and you feel from her tone that she is genuinely concerned about you, there is love, there is empathy…you should consider and act over it. However, when a criticism devalues you, humiliates you, blames you, tries to control you…you should better be away from such a friend.

Example: In destructive criticism, a friend would say something like: “We talked yesterday that you would call me and I was expecting your call. Why didn’t you call me yesterday? You always do that.”

In constructive criticism/feedback, it would be like: “I understand that you must have got into something so you couldn’t call me yesterday. It would be great if you drop me a message next time for any program change.

3. A Bad Friend Lacks empathy

Good friends sense your emotions very well. To put it another way, they know when you feel sad, happy, not well, don’t want to talk at the moment etc. And they behave adequately in such situations.

However, a bad friend who lacks empathy won’t be able to connect with your emotions that much. She would rather be interested in doing or saying something she wants, instead of understanding how you are feeling from inside. You may give your bad friend a couple of hints that you are not interested, but she won’t care.

Example: Take an example where a person named Jane had a bad day due to arguments with her boss/team leader. In the evening, her bad friend named Maria comes and the conversation goes something like this:

Maria: Let’s have a party, Jane, it’s the weekend!
Jane: We can’t do it today as I’m not feeling well. Sorry!
Maria: Come on! Just forget whatever happened. Don’t spoil the mood, buddy.

As you have noticed, Maria just wants to have a party and doesn’t have enough empathy to listen to Jane to have a conversation with her and figure out what exactly Jane is going through. That is to say, a good conversation and making Jane feel relaxed is the priority here, not the party.

4. A Bad Friend is Self-centred

Friends are self-centred when:

Example: See the conversation below:

Jane: Ouch!
Philip: What happened?
Jane: I just got a cut on my ring finger while cutting vegetables.
Philip: This cut is nothing compared to mine! See the big scar here? I got it last
month and it hurt a lot. Also, a lot of blood came out!

5. A Bad Friend is Untrustworthy

An untrustworthy friend is dangerous for you. You trust a friend that he or she won’t spill your secrets or weaknesses to others. When such secrets are out to people whom you don’t wish to know, you can get in an embarrassing situation or you can be a target of disrespect. 

Your trust in that friend is immediately broken.

Example: Consider an example where you are having a secret affair. A friend of yours got to know about it. You request him or her to not tell anyone as you will say it yourself when the right time comes. 

However, your words are not taken seriously and they just spill it to someone. Eventually, the secret is spread to some people who know you. You are embarrassed now and have bad feelings for this untrustworthy friend.

It’s always better to identify such persons who are habitually untrustworthy and take action accordingly.

6. A Bad Friend Shows-off

Bad friends show off
Photo by Tyler Harris on Unsplash

You can find friends who show-off in almost every friend group. We all show-off things, friends, partners, success etc. However, if someone shows off just to make you feel little or to put you down, it’s a sign of a bad friend.

Example: Have a look at the below conversation among friends in a restaurant for paying the bill:

Ryan: Let me pay this bill, friends!
Philip (Laughingly): Leave it, Ryan. You don’t generally have enough money to pay. I’ll pay as I have no tension about the money!

Such situations can be embarrassing among friends. You lose confidence and self-respect. 

7. A Bad Friend is a Pessimist

Pessimist friends mostly talk about the negative sides of everything. They find evil better than good. They drag you down by telling you not to do this or that or reconsider something as there is something wrong/nasty there. Positive thinking is not their trait.

Example: Take this conversation here:

Maria: I am going to open a Youtube channel.
Jane: Maria, everybody is doing a Youtube channel today. 
Maria: But I believe I can do it better as I have great ideas!
Jane: (sigh) I still won’t suggest it. You can’t earn more through this. Better to think of something else.

Talking negatively about something straightforwardly without discussing the pros and cons is a bad sign. If your friend talks most of the time pessimistically, you know such a person will affect your positivity here and there. 

8. A Bad Friend is a Liar

It’s OK if we all tell a couple of lies to our friends due to different reasons, and maybe we plan to tell them about the things at a later stage. But a liar friend habitually tells lies to you. They try to deceive you and manipulate you by not telling the truth. They have hidden agendas and don’t want the best for you.

Example: One of my friends used to lie a lot to me. When I would ask him what you’re doing nowadays, he would just tell me that he’s not doing anything. He would tell different stories. Later on, I found out that he was hiding about joining a particular course and preparing for its entrance test.

9. A Bad Friend is Resentful

A resentful friend feels bitterness inside, and he or she holds grudges against you. 

They will look for opportunities to put you down or say hurtful things, reminding you again and again that you have said something or done something wrong to them. It won’t matter to them if you didn’t do that deliberately and have already apologised.

Example: Consider an example where there are two friends Sarah and Jane. Sarah invited Jane to her wedding. But Jane couldn’t make it due to some personal reasons. Sarah got very upset, and though Jane apologised for it, Sarah couldn’t let it go. 

Sarah would display her resentment to Jane whenever she would get an opportunity. 

If your friend resents you like this for different reasons, clings to things, and is not ready to forget past things/situations, you know that such friends will not understand it like a mature person. For your better well being, let go of such a friend. 

10. A Bad Friend is One-way talker

Do you have any self-obsessed friend who just talks his or her way only and has no genuine interest in listening to what you want to say or how you are feeling? You are dealing with a one-way talker friend. 

Example: take an example where Sarah has come back from a long holiday. Her friend Maria comes to meet her. Maria starts to talk about what happened with her in the past few days. What she did, whom she met, etc.

A good friend would be more interested in having a two-way conversation. She would ask about Sarah’s holiday experience, and as the conversations go on, they would be sharing the things of their respective lives, as real friends do actually.

11. A Bad Friend is Freeloader

Freeloader friends believe in taking and not giving. If they get to know that you are a generous person, they will look into opportunities to take advantage of you by asking you for money and other favours. And when it comes time to ask them for their help, they just simply don’t do it.

Example: Suppose Pete habitually asks for money from his friend John, and John is a lovely friend who always complies with his demands.

Later, when John was stuck in an emergency, he thought that Pete would help him. However, when John called him, Pete told him that he didn’t have enough money at this time and couldn’t help him. John knew that he was in a good situation, but he just refused to lend him money.

12. A Bad Friend is an Aggressive Jokes Teller

If someone in your friend’s group is pulling aggressive jokes to offend you, demean you, ridicule you, hurt you or embarrass you in front of others, you just recognised a bad friend.

If you tell them that please don’t make such jokes, they just say that you don’t have a sense of humour. 

Example: Consider this conversation:

Sarah: Today, I went for my first-morning run and got exhausted. I was sweating profusely.
Jane: Once upon a time, a fatso pig was sweating so much that it drowned!
(Other friends present there laughed)
Sarah: Don’t ridicule me!
Jane: Come on! It was just a PJ.

So, What Should You Do If You Recognise a Bad Friend?

What you foremost want is a happy life with friendly people around you. No one wants a bad friend in one’s life. 

So, if you have identified a friend, think of what is at stake. Do you really want this friend? Do you feel comfortable and at ease around him or her? If not, please stay away from such a friend. 

Life is short. Negative and destructive people can make your life worse and can hamper your progress and success in life.

Note: Top Photo is taken from Unsplash.

By Rajesh Sharma

Rajesh Sharma is a freelance IT Consultant who have found his new passion in writing. On this blog, he writes about Social Experiences and shares tips on improving them.

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