In some cases, friendships last for life. In others, friendships can be situational, lasting only through certain points in one's life. However, no matter what dynamic you are a part of, avoiding minor behaviors that can harm friendship may be valuable.
Often, fixes like habit changes and open communication can improve the quality of a friendship. However, some people may not notice an underlying problem in a platonic conflict until it's too late. If you are wondering why your friendships do not last or why a long-term friendship has ended, it may be valuable to look at the "little behaviors" that can contribute to significant relationship endings.
Elements That May Harm A Friendship
Every friendship can be different, so understanding what might harm a friendship is subjective. However, a few "minor" behaviors may lead to the end of a connection for some people. Keep an eye out for the following in your friendships, and consider communicating with your friends when you see one of these challenges arising.
It can be normal and healthy to love your friends and want them to be as close as possible in your life. However, try to maintain balance. Some friendships naturally involve constant communication, with both parties frequently checking in with one another throughout the day. However, if you or your friend want space, take time to focus on other aspects of life and trust that you can still talk and have experiences together when you are both ready.
Some people may prefer having some time for themselves or their other relationships. Maintaining boundaries in communication with a friend, no matter how close you are, can be vital. Regardless of how often you keep in touch, share your connection openly and be kind and understanding when your friend can't talk.
Not Talking Enough
Like too much communication can harm relationships, too little may also harm a friendship. If you are not getting to know your friend on a deeper level, meeting each other's needs can be challenging because those needs might not be voiced.
Quality time in adult friendships can be challenging to organize. Friendship may get last-minute attention due to the demands of a career, family, and personal obligations. If you believe you are too busy for your friends or are often thinking about how long it has been since you last contacted them, consider seeing where you can restructure your time and attention to maintain that support system.
A Lack Of Empathy
In friendship, it can be essential to distinguish between empathy and sympathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and identify with someone else's situation. Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone or wishing they had a different situation. While you may not know every detail of your friend's life or how a particular situation may affect them, try to put yourself in their shoes and be part of their support system.
A friendship that lacks empathy can quickly become a toxic friendship. Toxic friendships have no balance between individuals, allow negative criticism of one another's choices, and could cause individuals to feel they are walking on eggshells when they are together.
It may be difficult to point out a toxic friendship. If you engage in behaviors like rudely joking about your friend's clothing or relationships, expressing envy, attempting to reduce their joy, or frequently disapproving of their personal or professional choices, you might be laying the foundation for a toxic relationship.
Voicing Controversial Ideas Often
It can be possible to have a friendship with someone with whom you have little in common regarding cultural upbringing, religious beliefs, or socioeconomic status. The one time you may struggle to maintain a polar-opposite friendship is when moral values come into play.
Lacking Appreciation Or Balance
Friendships may require a certain level of appreciation to survive like any relationship. If you constantly ask your friend for favors yet aren't gracious or available when they ask for help, the friendship might not last. While it may not be necessary to keep a running count of who has done what for whom, try to balance the relationship between giving and receiving.
It may harm a friendship when obligation or coercion is an element in your relationship. Try not to imply that your friend must act a certain way or agree with you to keep your friendship. Asking your friends to partake in activities they aren't comfortable with may show them you don't respect them.
A successful friendship may require both parties to believe they hold equal positions in the relationship. Have the humility to sit back and listen to your friend. Learn what they have to teach you about life, even if you disagree on some areas.
How To Cope With Losing A Friendship
Each friendship is different; only the parties within can determine the boundaries. The friendship may be healthy if both people work to achieve balance, respect one another, and focus on their bond. However, if you're struggling to maintain friendships or have recently lost a friend, talking to a professional about why may be beneficial.
If you do not have time for in-person therapy, you can also try online counseling through a platform like BetterHelp. An online therapist can guide you in healthy friendship skills and coping with the loss of old ones. In addition, with an online platform, you can meet with a counselor at a time that fits your schedule and choose between phone, video, or live chat session formats.
Studies show that online therapy can be as effective as in-person therapy in treating various mental health challenges. However, even if you do not have a mental health condition, a therapist can help you develop strategies for managing your thoughts, emotions, and actions in relationships.
What are the bad habits that destroy friendship?
Several bad habits and behaviors can erode friendships over time. It's important to be aware of these habits and work to avoid them to maintain healthy and lasting friendships. Here are 10 common bad habits that can destroy friendships:
- Lack of Communication: Failing to communicate regularly and speak honestly are common mistakes that may impact a friendship. Spending time purposefully communicating with your friend may bring you closer.
- Being Self-Centered: Always making the friendship about yourself, your needs, and your problems without showing genuine interest in your friend's life can be detrimental. It may be beneficial to spend time focusing on your friend from time to time.
- Betrayal of Trust: Breaking your friend's trust, whether through gossip, spreading secrets, or dishonesty, can be difficult to repair. It may be beneficial to give your friend some alone time before making amends and rebuilding trust.
- Jealousy and Envy: Feeling envious or jealous of your friend's success or achievements can create tension and resentment. Supportive friends are happy when their friend is successful.
- Being Unreliable: Consistently canceling plans, showing up late, or not following through on commitments can damage trust and reliability in the friendship.
- Ignoring Boundaries: Failing to respect your friend's personal boundaries, whether physical or emotional, can lead to discomfort and resentment. Respecting boundaries is a two-way street, when you respect your friend’s boundaries they may respect yours.
- Negative Energy: Constantly bringing negativity, complaints, or drama into the friendship can be draining and discouraging for your friend.
- Unresolved Conflicts: Ignoring or avoiding conflicts, rather than addressing them and seeking resolution, can lead to unresolved issues and a breakdown in communication.
How can friendship be broken?
Friendships can break or deteriorate for various reasons. While some friendships naturally evolve or fade over time, others may end due to specific circumstances or behaviors. Here are some common ways in which friendships can be broken or damaged:
- Communication: Communication is the foundation of any healthy friendship. When communication breaks down or if you do not regularly talk, it can lead to misunderstandings and distance.
- Trust: Trust is a fundamental aspect of friendship. If a friend betrays your trust by spreading secrets, being dishonest, or not keeping their word, it can damage the relationship irreparably.
- Conflict: Frequent conflicts that go unaddressed or unresolved can create tension and strain the friendship. Working through conflicts can help strengthen a friendship.
- Changing Interests and Priorities: As people grow and change, their interests and priorities can shift. If you and your good friend have vastly different goals and interests, the friendship may naturally drift apart.
- Jealousy: Feelings of jealousy or envy within the friendship can create resentment and drive a wedge between friends.
How does jealousy spoil friendship?
When it comes to thinking about what can spoil friendship, jealousy may play a role. Jealousy can have a detrimental impact on friendships in several ways:
- Trust Issues: If a friend feels that you're envious of their achievements, possessions, or other friendships, they may question your loyalty and trustworthiness. Some friends with jealousy overcome the problem by communicating more and being honest.
- Resentment: Jealousy can lead to resentment, as you may start to harbor negative feelings toward your friend. It may be beneficial to understand that neither you nor your friend may spend all your free time together.
- Competitiveness: Jealousy often breeds competitiveness within a friendship. Instead of celebrating each other's successes, friends may view each other as rivals, leading to an unhealthy and stressful dynamic.
- Communication Breakdown: Friends may become guarded in their conversations and refuse to talk about personal details about their achievements or good news, fearing that it will trigger jealousy. This breakdown doesn’t allow friends to communicate openly and may easily ruin a friendship.
- Emotional Distance: Jealousy can create emotional distance between friends. Instead of feeling emotionally close and supportive, jealousy can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnect.
What makes friends jealous of you?
Friends may become jealous of you for various reasons, often stemming from feelings of inadequacy or a sense of competition. Here are some common reasons why friends might become jealous:
- Achievements: Your accomplishments, such as career success, academic achievements, or personal milestones, can trigger jealousy if your friend feels that they are not reaching similar goals.
- Material Possessions: Acquiring valuable possessions, like a new car, home, or expensive gadgets, may lead to jealousy if your friend desires similar items but can't afford them.
- Relationships: If you have a loving, supportive, or seemingly perfect relationship, it might provoke jealousy in friends who are struggling in their own relationships or are single.
- Attention: If you receive a lot of attention or praise from others, your friends might feel jealous if they are craving similar recognition or validation.
- Physical Appearance: Your physical appearance, fitness, or style might spark jealousy if friends feel they don't measure up to societal beauty standards.
- Talent or Skills: Exceptional talents or skills in areas like music, art, sports, or other hobbies can trigger jealousy if your friend wishes they were equally proficient.
- Social Circle: Having a wide and supportive social network can lead to jealousy in friends who feel left out or unable to establish meaningful connections.
- Lifestyle: A luxurious or carefree lifestyle, such as frequent travel, leisure time, or hobbies, can provoke jealousy if your friend desires a similar lifestyle but can't attain it.
What causes jealousy between friends?
Jealousy between friends can be caused by a variety of factors and circumstances, including:
- Insecurity: Feelings of insecurity within one friend can lead to jealousy when they perceive the other friend as more confident, successful, or attractive. They may worry that the more self-assured friend is a threat to their own self-esteem.
- Comparisons: Constantly comparing oneself to a friend or measuring one's achievements against those of the other person can fuel jealousy. This is especially common when one friend feels they are falling short in various aspects of life.
- Competitiveness: Some friendships may become overly competitive, with each friend trying to outdo the other in terms of achievements, possessions, or other life aspects. This competitiveness can breed jealousy.
- Success and Achievements: When one friend achieves significant success, such as landing a dream job, receiving awards, or accomplishing a major goal, it can trigger jealousy in another friend who hasn't reached a similar level of success.
- Attention and Recognition: Jealousy can arise if one friend receives a lot of attention, praise, or admiration from their social circle or other acquaintances, while the other friend feels overlooked or underappreciated.
- Romantic Relationships: Romantic jealousy can occur when one friend is in a fulfilling, happy relationship, and the other friend is single or dealing with relationship challenges. The single friend may feel envious of their friend's relationship status.
- Material Possessions: Having more valuable material possessions, like a luxurious car, home, or expensive gadgets, can spark jealousy if one friend covets similar items but can't afford them.
- Social Circles: Differences in the quality and size of social circles can lead to jealousy. One friend may feel envious if the other has a broad network of friends and acquaintances while they have a smaller, less connected social circle.
- Physical Appearance: Jealousy can stem from feeling less attractive or physically fit in comparison to a friend who is perceived as more attractive, according to societal beauty standards.
- Talent and Skills: If one friend excels in a particular talent or skill, such as playing an instrument or excelling in sports, it can induce jealousy in the other friend if they wish they had similar abilities.
How common is jealousy in friendships?
Jealousy is a relatively common emotional experience within friendships. While not every friendship is characterized by jealousy, it can manifest in various forms and to varying degrees. Feelings of envy, competitiveness, or insecurity can occasionally arise when friends perceive discrepancies in achievements, material possessions, relationships, or other aspects of life. These emotions can be natural responses to individual insecurities and desires for personal growth. The prevalence of jealousy in friendships underscores the importance of open and honest communication, empathy, and mutual support to address and mitigate these feelings. It's normal to experience moments of jealousy in friendships, but how individuals and friends handle these emotions can significantly impact the strength and longevity of the relationship.
How do you know if a friendship is toxic?
Identifying a toxic friendship can be challenging, but there are several signs and behaviors that may indicate that a friendship is toxic. Here are some common indicators:
- One-Sided Friendships: If you're consistently making all the effort to maintain the friendship, initiate contact, and resolve conflicts, while your friend is passive or indifferent, it may be a sign of a toxic dynamic.
- Constant Negativity: A toxic friend often brings negativity, drama, or complaints into the relationship, making every interaction feel emotionally draining.
- Manipulation: If your friend tries to manipulate or control you, your decisions, or your actions to their benefit and your detriment, it's a toxic behavior.
- Betrayal of Trust: Trust is a cornerstone of healthy friendships. If your friend consistently breaks your trust by spreading secrets, gossiping, or being dishonest, it's a significant red flag.
- Lack of Support: Toxic friends may be unsupportive, dismissive of your problems, or fail to provide comfort or encouragement during difficult times.
- Boundary Violation: A toxic friend may disregard your personal boundaries, whether emotional, physical, or social, and consistently engage in behavior that makes you uncomfortable.
Why do I feel insecure in my friendships?
Feeling insecure in your friendships can be a common and natural experience, and it often arises from a variety of factors. One significant contributor is the human tendency to compare ourselves to others. When you perceive that your friends are more successful, confident, or have a broader social circle, it can lead to feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. Additionally, past experiences, such as betrayals, conflicts, or the loss of previous friendships, can leave emotional scars that make it challenging to trust and feel secure in new friendships.
Insecurities in friendships can also stem from deeper issues related to self-esteem and self-worth. If you struggle with self-doubt, it can manifest as a fear of not being "good enough" for your friends or a belief that they may eventually abandon you. These feelings are complex and may require self-reflection, self-compassion, and perhaps the support of a therapist or counselor to help you navigate and address the root causes of your insecurity and build healthier, more secure friendships.
Why do I always doubt my friendship?
Consistently doubting your friendships can often be linked to various underlying factors. Insecurity, stemming from feelings of inadequacy or fear of not measuring up to your friends' expectations, can lead to self-doubt in friendships. Past experiences of betrayal, conflicts, or the loss of significant friendships can also contribute to a sense of mistrust, making it challenging to fully invest in new relationships. Additionally, unresolved conflicts or misunderstandings with friends can plant seeds of doubt, as these issues can fester and create uncertainty about the stability of the friendship.
These doubts may also arise from negative self-perceptions, such as imposter syndrome, where you believe that your friends will eventually discover you are not as capable or deserving of their friendship as they initially thought. Addressing self-doubt in friendships involves self-reflection, cultivating self-esteem and self-compassion, and fostering open communication with your friends to clarify misunderstandings and build trust.
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