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5 Signs It Might Be Time to Find Another Friend

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In much of American culture, it would be considered rude to bluntly declare that you no longer want to be friends. Thus, people often drop nonverbal hints that they would prefer to spend their time with others or that your friendship has lost value to them. I’ve always tended to process information literally, so the subtle nuances of people’s communication haven’t been the easiest to comprehend. If you’re like me, you may wonder how you can tell that the other individual has moved on, or simply that it is better to find a different friend.

Here is a list of five signs I’ve discovered after a number of years that the friendship won’t work out, lacks the return you are looking for, or just isn’t healthy.

1. They never have time to get together, but you know they are hanging out with mutual friends.

Someone I thought was a friend proclaimed that he was just too busy to spend time with me, given his cumbersome work schedule. His Facebook photos and tales from mutual friends told an altogether different story. The bottom line was while he did have a demanding job, he wasn’t too busy for social connection; he was too busy to spend time with me. Needless to say, knowing I wasn’t near the top of his priority list was helpful in my choosing more committed friends.

2. The friendship is not balanced, and it bothers you.

From birthdays to Christmas, I had a friend who never reciprocated. I began to resent him, as it was becoming more and more obvious that he was all about himself. While no friendship will be an even 50/50 exchange, if reciprocity is as important to you as it is to me, then I would use such a situation to find another friend. In this case, I went elsewhere and am better off for it.

3. They don’t respect your basic needs, like sleep, family, and other commitments.

I once had a friend from whom I accepted 2 a.m. phone calls, provided she saw me on Facebook messenger. My generosity commenced as a favor only in emergencies, but it morphed into something that was frequent. It disrupted my sleep cycle, spilling over into my day-to-day life. While I should have set a firmer boundary, if your friend’s overnight emergencies become a regular pattern and she doesn’t respect your basic needs, then moving on is not simply a choice: it is imperative.

4. You don’t feel safe confronting them and sharing your concerns about the relationship.

I had a friend I had to walk on eggshells with, and I thought it would improve over time if I were the perfect pal. The reality was that I could never be good enough. If someone cannot accept any criticism and honest conversations about disagreements are just too fraught with rancor, then look elsewhere. The ability to have healthy dialogue is indispensable to any friendship. If someone is not capable of it, there are a number of other people who will be.

5. They always drop hints that things never end well between them and their other friends.

I have had a couple of situations where my new friends kept mentioning how their other companionships ended up in rupture. Sadly, in these cases it became clear that the fallings out weren’t just passive occurrences happening to them; they were actively abetting them. Looking back upon it, their talk of relationship rupture was a surefire sign that perhaps I wouldn’t have the easiest time getting along with them, either.

While it may be difficult to acknowledge that one or more of your friendships isn’t healthy or that the other party isn’t as invested as you thought, take heart: there are billions of people on this planet, and just because one or more companionships isn’t working out doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there to connect with.

It may seem daunting now, but I can tell you from experience that once I was able to consign toxic, unhealthy, and one-way friendships to the wastebasket, I was better able to specify what I was looking for, and to form stronger, healthier bonds with others. Good luck, and happy relationship-building.

Photo by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash

Originally published: May 22, 2020
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