6 Signs

6 Signs You Need Better Friends

Disclaimer: The author’s current friends are awesome. Some of them have been around for a very long time. This article is based on thirty years of extensive social research into situations where one might need better friends.

Warning: Reading this guide may make you want to be a better friend.

Sign 1: Being with them makes you feel worse about yourself.

It’s quite simple, and all the other signs really just feed back this one – your friends should make you feel good! Every person that you choose to include in your life should enhance it. Anyone who makes you feel insignificant, ashamed, ignored or undermined doesn’t deserve you. You’re pretty cool. Probably. I don’t know you but you’re here so you’re probably pretty cool.

A bad friend would: Try and get one up on you and find ways to point out how her life is better than yours.
A better friend would: Know how to make you feel good about yourself and take every opportunity to do so.

Sign 2: They don’t acknowledge your problems.

Case in point: “Earshot – A wise woman called Buffy (okay, technically it was Jane Espenson who wrote the episode), once said that “every single person… is ignoring your pain because they’re too busy with their own.” This is incredibly good advice which helped me through many a lonely day.

Whilst it’s pretty important that friends notice when you are troubled, sometimes they don’t because they have their own stuff going on, and that’s okay. What’s most important is that you feel you can share your troubles and that they’ll want to help. The sign of a true friendship is that it’s still okay to share – and then work out a way to make both of your lives better, together.

You shouldn’t ever feel ashamed of what makes you feel bad. Yes, it may be a first world problem or it may be that others around you have more serious problems – but if it is making you feel sad or stressed then it’s worth addressing.

A bad friend would: Listen but then dismiss your problem/not ask you about it later because it’s not as bad as their own.
A better friend would: Listen, then help as much as they can, and check back with you to see if you’re feeling better.

Sign 3: They forget your birthday.

You realise they didn’t exactly forget your birthday – they just made no effort to remember it in the first place. Sigh.

A bad friend would: Apologise that they forgot your birthday.
A better friend would: Not only remember your birthday, but go out of their ways to make sure it’s special.

Sign 4: They don’t fit your budget.

Case in point: “The One With Five Steaks and an Eggplant.

Some friends like to do their social stuff ‘out’. Dinners, drinks, coffees, the movies – whenever you see them, you’re spending money. But what if your budget is more home-cooked meal than fancy restaurant? What if you just can’t afford the nights out any more, but don’t want to miss out on your friends?

Most friends will listen to budget concerns and do their best to fit plans around it, even when there’s a group involved. I once told two “good” friends that I could not go to the expensive Italian place for dinner with them but offered to cook for them instead – they decided to still go to the expensive Italian over having my company. That was odd, and somewhat unsettling. Why not come for dinner on that night and go to the Italian another time when I wasn’t around?

Luckily, a new friend with a similar budget to me just happened to come along around the same time – we grew close really quickly, bonding over quality time together at home over a bottle of supermarket wine instead of going on big group nights out. Now we have (slightly) more disposable income and can do more going out activities – but the closeness remains, and we still keep up our regular ‘tea and TV’ nights.

A bad friend would: Carry on with their expensive social life – without you.
A better friend would: Want to see you regardless – it’s about the people, not the place.

Sign 5: They continually cancel.

Stuff comes up, it happens. You feel ill, you feel tired, you double-book. Sometimes you just have to cancel an arrangement with a friend.

So, why do some friends do it all the time? Why do they call to say they have double-booked their evening an hour before it was due to kick off, after screening your calls all day? You realise they’ve known for ages that they needed to cancel but that they hadn’t the guts to tell you.

A bad friend would: Cancel on you, regularly and when it’s too late to make other plans.
A better friend would: Cancel every now and then, when life happens.

Sign 6: They won’t lend you their clothes.

It’s crucial that friends lend each other clothes. End of sign 6.

So, what happens next?

Well, that’s up to you. Losing a friend is tough, but it happens. These tips for surviving a best friend break-up are a good start.

Featured image via Shutterstock

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1555176046 Luísa Saldanha

    Sign 4 and sign 5: welcome to my life. :/

    Thank you so much for opening my eyes: the problem is not with me, is (unfortunately) with my friends.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=76200829 Jessica Jeffers

      Such a hard lesson to learn. I’m guilty of always taking it personally and trying to learn that, sometimes, it really is them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=550692613 Helen Arce

    You had me at “Earshot”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509817146 Charlotte Chaz Hamblen

    I often have these things happen,by a couple of friends. I often feel like it’s my fault but maybe it’s just time for a little social spring clean?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=7002528 Jessica Rozar

    So, where do I replace my “bad” friends with good ones? Please tell me!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=767919825 Amy Rickles

      I would suggest trying Meetup.com. I had a falling out with some friends last summer; it is a long story, but a lot of what they were doing fits signs 1 and 2. One of those friends had been my best friend for many years. After that happened, I joked about how an online site was needed for a best friend, like online dating. Well, Meetup is a great site for that. I joined several groups, including one for nerdy/geeky girls, and I’m meeting a lot of great women. Those friendships are developing. I also starting spending more time with people who were friends but not close friends, and those people have gotten to be better friends. In some ways, the falling out was a blessing in disguise because I started making more of an effort to spend time with those other friends and learned that I already knew a lot of great people who can be really good friends; I just hadn’t taken the time to learn that before because so much of my time was wrapped up with one group (and a now ex-boyfriend and his friends). So I would also suggest looking around at some of your acquaintances and other people in your life…those good friends might already be there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000200495784 Cristi Castillo

    This article makes me feel better about the ties I’ve had to cut with so called ‘friends’

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001965736173 Bethany Glismann

      Agree – totally reassuring.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=20702848 Terri Deno

    I would love to replace my friends – they fit most of these categories, unfortunately.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=880615092 Emma Smurphy

      I feel that way most of the time :( it’s like no one cares

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=704810515 Summer Flores

    I have a great term for people that fit into the bad category, I call them “toxic friends”. If they make you feel worse about your life and don’t genuinely give you the opportunity to vent your frustrations or worse, make you feel bad for being concerned, then they really aren’t your friend. It’s a give and take relationship that you both should be able to show concern for.

    And just an interesting observation for the author; I love how you put in the disclaimer for your friends but in keeping with the tone of the article, if they were really your friends they wouldn’t need it. 😉

    Thanks for the great article! :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=544265370 Liza Baron

      Heehee, good point. But, no, my friends are brilliant. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=704810515 Summer Flores

    Oh and by the way, I LOVE the Buffy reference. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=573140537 Laura Ayres

    This is a great article. Life is too short to be dragged down by people who make us unhappy…

    Without meaning offense, I do have to say if you feel you’re on the receiving end of #5, you may want to take a look at yourself and see if you personally fall into #’s 1-4.

    The lesson I learned, for example: I had a friend that when I would first make plans with her, it was because I wanted to see her. Unfortunately, when the day arrived, I realized that I wasn’t up for feeling worse about myself, I didn’t have the $$ to hang out (and I didn’t want her spending $$ on me), or I was having a bad day and knew that my friend wouldn’t care. She’d be more concerned with her problems and how I could help her fix them. I’d cancel early enough in the day, but I’d still felt bad about cancelling.

    I’ve stopped making plans with this person because I realized it wasn’t fair to her (or me). Unfortunately, it took several times of my cancelling to realize why I was doing it…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001965736173 Bethany Glismann

    Love, love this article! See also: someone who never texts you back promptly but is constantly on the phone when you’re hanging out! Ugh!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002818633983 Lindsay Sell

    i just moved 1500 miles away and i have no friends, just family. while i understand it’s great i have my family, but i’d like some friend time as well. i just absolutely have no idea how to make friends. i’ve had the same friends for years and it’s hard making new ones. =\

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=571630171 Celina Ellice Puente

      Have you tried a site called meetup.com? It’s a nice way to meet people who share your interests in the town you just moved to. The best way to make new friends is to get involved in activities in your community that interest you, that way your bound to socialize and even befriend some people 😉

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003191321645 Martin Marin

    Just be you! Your real friends will stick around the bad ones won’t! =)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1091240242 Lyna Lion

    WOW, I can relate to every single point. I mean either, the bad friend or the good friend. This is something everyone should read. Loved the article :) xx

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=571848593 Eryn Erickson

    Love this. Helped me recheck if I am a good friend.

    I also want to add… a better friend is one that does not require conditions and is full of grace while trying to figure out how to do life. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1580034682 Louder Blues

    You are making me feel bad for sign 3… I’m completly incapable of remembering anyone’s birthday except my own and my sister’s (and only ’cause I was there when she was born!) But I have to say that my late handcrafted gifts are pretty cool if I can say so myself, does that fix it a little?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=512397436 Olivia Plzak

    One of my closest and dearest friends happens to fit half of these signs. Sometimes I love them so much that it’s worth it, but sometimes they make me feel so low that I wonder why I bother. How do I figure out what to do, when I’m not even sure how I feel? :(

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001118590475 Adrián Cortés Solano

      If they are doing that, I’m sorry but those are not a good friends. You don’t deserve to feel low under any circumstance. Are you going to feel bad just for some moments of hapiness? No. That’s not the definition of a friend for me.
      You should expose this with them, tell them what you feel and how do you feel it. If that is not successful, well, just find another friends, there are a lot of good people in the world.
      Of course, this is what I think, I can be wrong.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=571630171 Celina Ellice Puente

      have you ever tried talking to them about how they make you feel when they act a certain way? Sometimes people are unaware of bad their faults are, so it’s good to talk about your concerns with them. (Yes I know, it’s an awkward conversation to have, but at times they are necessary)
      Also, if they continue to make you feel low, even if you have already addressed the issue; these aren’t people that should have around, it may be time to move on. New friends are always on the horizon 😉

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=512397436 Olivia Plzak

      Thanks for the advice. I feel like I can make things better now :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001118590475 Adrián Cortés Solano

    Good advices for a lot of people, because life is not complicated, we make it complicated.
    I’ve never been in this page before, but I like the colors and design.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1569402759 Elle Caddie

    Sign 6 is brilliant. I think half the reason my best friend is my best friend is because we’re about the same size & can share clothes. We even manage the budget one reasonably well in that regard, we’ll both like a shirt, spilt the cost & it lives in my closet half the year & hers the other half. Clothing is the cornerstone of any true and lasting friendship 😉

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004362243442 Sean Johnstone

    Although i agree with lending stuff,i draw the line at wearing a dress! hohoho!! :)

  • Anas Talalqa

    Thanks for the advice, I think the signs you mentioned are very important .

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