Sometimes, we have to admit that maybe we are the ones at fault.
When we face issues in our relationships and friendships, it is much easier to put the blame on the other person than to look within.
However, sometimes, the fault lies within us and we do not even realize it. Kelsey Borresen, a writer for HuffPost, explains that there are 5 signs you might be a bad friend and advises how you can become a better one.
Problem #1: You steer the conversation back to you
When your friend is confiding in you and talking about their problems, do you interrupt and steer the conversation back to you and your life? If so, you might be pushing them away. When you steer the conversation away from them, you make them feel like you are not interested in what they have to say. As a result, you come across as unsupportive and, put bluntly, not a good friend.
Solution #1: Learn to become more attentive
The next time your friend begins talking, make sure that you maintain eye contact and listen carefully. When a friend confides in you, they are hoping that you will either help them find a solution or that you will just be there to provide support by listening. Sometimes, listening is all it takes to be a good friend. If you get the urge to interrupt, stop and ask yourself if it is necessary.
Problem #2: You commit to plans, knowing you will cancel
Of course, it is normal to cancel plans every once in a while. However, if you commit to going somewhere or doing something when you already know that you will not follow through, you are being inconsiderate. Always canceling on your friends could make them feel like you do not value their time. What is more, they may even begin to think that you do not like spending time with them.
Solution #2: ‘Resist the urge to respond immediately’
Psychologist and friendship expert Irene S. Levine spoke to the HuffPost, saying that one should resist the urge to respond immediately. She explained that ‘you don’t have to acquiesce to everything a friend asks […] If you need to turn them down, do so at the onset, not at the last minute when they are depending on you. Only make commitments you are able to keep.’
Problem #3: You never check up on friends or initiate plans
If you never initiate plans and seldom check up on your friends, they might start to think that you do not value the friendship. Taking this further, they may feel as though they are in a one-sided friendship as they are always the ones to check-up and make plans to see you. It is important to note that not checking-up on your friends makes them feel as though you do not care about how they are doing.
Solution #3: Remind your friends that you are invested in them
Levine explains that ‘enduring friendships need to be reciprocal. If one person is always the one doing the initiating, your friends may take your passivity as a lack of interest in the friendship […] Sharing your interests with your friends — like asking to simultaneously watch a TV series that you choose during the pandemic, or inviting them to social distance with you in your backyard — enriches the friendship.’
Problem #4: You do not respect your friend’s boundaries
If you ask your friend questions to which they do not want to respond, do not push them. Similarly, if you want to do something and they explain that they cannot afford to, do not keep on trying to persuade them. Respect their boundaries the same way you would want them to respect yours.
Solution #4: Make your friends feel supported and understood.
Your inability to take ‘no’ for an answer could push your friends away. Learn to put yourself in the position of the other person so that you can show compassion, support, and understanding. Ensure that you make your friends feel heard and that they know that you want them to feel comfortable.
Problem #5: You resent your friend’s success
If you are incapable of being happy for your friend, you are being harmful to their wellbeing. Everyone deserves a friend who can be happy for and proud of their achievements. Feeling envious and jealous of your friend’s job, home or relationship suggests that you do not want them to be happy (or at least, not happier than you).
Solution #5: Talk to your friend about your feelings
Surprisingly, psychologist Miriam Kirmayer suggests that you should talk to your friend about the envy you feel. ‘Hearing that someone is envious of us can feel particularly awkward or uncomfortable, regardless of whether it’s something we have control over […] But saying something like: ‘I know I’ve been a little distant lately and I wanted you to know that it’s because I’ve been struggling with…’ or ‘I want you to know that I’m really happy for you. It’s just hard for me because…’ can be the starting point for a meaningful conversation that will ultimately strengthen your friendship.’
If you really want to (and if you really work for it), you can mend your broken friendship.
Finding faults within ourselves is a sign of strength, growth, and maturity.