The top friendship dealbreakers, ranked

Friend breakups are the worst. I’ve been through my fair share of them, and if I’m being honest, they’ve really done a number on me. There’s been lots of pain and lots of embarrassment because I invested my time and my trust in people who didn’t really care about me or my feelings. But all that emotional upheaval has taught me a lot about what makes a good friend. I’ve currently got the tightest, most supportive, most badass group of girlfriends a lady could hope for, and that may be, in part, because I’ve had so many friendship ups-and-downs early on. Now, thankfully, I can spot an awesome potential friend when I meet one, and also see when someone is, as they say on reality TV, here for the wrong reasons. Here are some dealbreakers I’ve learned to watch out for:

1. They won’t introduce you to their other friends

One of the greatest joys in life is introducing your cool new friend to your cool old friends and watching all the people you love bond over their love of you. If your friend doesn’t want to experience this euphoria, there’s something fishy going on. Maybe they’re embarrassed by you (which is clearly ridiculous since you rock so hard), maybe she thinks you’re a temporary addition to her life and doesn’t want to blur the lines of friends and acquaintances, maybe she feels threatened and doesn’t want you stealing her glory, or maybe she’s just an inconsiderate behemoth who isn’t even thinking about including you. Whatever the reason, it’s not OK and you deserve better.

2. They regularly cancel plans without warning or explanation

Ok, this one is a little tricky since we all get pretty busy and sometimes just cannot deal with humans anymore. However, there is a difference between thoughtfully withdrawing from plans and bailing without a single molecule of regret. If your friend is constantly texting you with “Sorry I can’t meet up, after all”—or worse—not even bothering to text before standing you up and later posting pictures with her real friends on Instagram, you’ve got yourself a dealbreaker.

3. They make a career out of competing with you

A little friendly competition is healthy. I have a friend that I’ve known since kindergarten who is continually making me work to keep up with her. And I love it. She makes me push past the point of apathy to the place where my dreams are hiding. The key to our relationship is that we’re always genuinely happy for each other’s successes. Yes, we compete, but it’s to keep each other on our toes and motivated, not to bring each other down. If your friend is only interested in beating you and keeping you under her thumb, she’s not really your friend. You don’t need someone rooting for your failure; your life is not Gossip Girl.

4. They take things from you, and enjoy it

Similar to competition in the friend world is possession. There are creatures in this world that want nothing more than to enter your life and suck all the good things out of it. Unfortunately these creatures often masquerade as friends. There are certain things that are just yours: Your family, your boyfriend, your job, your hobbies, and of course your burritos. If your friend comes anywhere near these things with malicious intent, you need to walk away. I once had a friend who over the course of a year joined every club I belonged to, started dressing like me, began dating my ex boyfriend, and then proceeded to declare all of my favorite things her life. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I say letting people have some things to themselves is the sincerest form of friendship. Back off my burritos, girl.

5. They need lots of attention, but only give a little back

Friendship involves a lot of give and take. Sometimes you have to call your best friend at 3 a.m. to talk about your boy problems, and sometimes you have to pick your best friend up from the bar at 3 a.m. and listen to them blow chunks. Friendship is all about the mutual sacrifices. If you’re giving and giving to your friend and getting nothing but resentment and irritation in return, you’ve got a problem. Opening your heart and donating your time to someone makes you vulnerable. You can only give so much before you’re hurt and bruised. If your friend isn’t making it her mission to refill your empty spots and pump you up with love and support, she’s using you for your big heart and it needs to stop. Trust me on this one; you can’t make them care about you. You deserve a better bestie and a better life.

6. They openly put you down

If your friend has ever called you fat, stupid, slutty, or anything similarly cringe worthy, run away. Run away fast. There is absolutely no excuse in the world for a friend to speak to you like this. That’s not a sign; it’s a punch to the face and a firm confirmation that this person does not deserve any more of your life.

7. They pick random fights with you

Fighting and friendship go hand in hand. Whenever you’re that close to someone there’s bound to be tension and hurt feelings. Fighting is important to clear the air so you can cry and hug and eat ice cream afterwards, but if your friend is routinely starting fights that don’t need to be fought, she’s trouble. Some people thrive on the drama and excitement that fights produce and feel the need to be constantly mad at someone. You don’t need that kind of negativity.

8. They talk about their friends behind their backs

Gossip is huge to friendship. I love hearing about who did what and when to who. But if my friend is gossiping about her friends, or our mutual friends, I get nervous. If she’s badmouthing them, she’s badmouthing me, and it’s only a matter of time until I hear about it. I want my friends to be good to me, not stab me in the back.

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