Signs to Look Out for in Any Friendship

Relationships

Friendship dynamics are different and unique for each individual in a friendship. Whether your friendship is based off of loyalty or built on the basic principle of trust, all types of friendships have one thing in common: they shift. Shifting can be caused by a difference in people, or just simply because people in the friendship grow and change. People in friendships grow and evolve into different people. The people in our friend group might change, but memories will always still the same. Here are signs that you could look out for that could help grow or hurt your friendship.

A Healthy Friendship

A good friendship is only as good as the people in it. People willing to make the friendship work, are also willing to fight for it even in the hardest of times. Some friendships are so strong, they last a lifetime. People in strong-bonding friendships are there for each other on the most important occasions and have also seen you at your best, as well as your worst. Good-quality friendships are tough to find, hard to keep; but with the right people, they are impenetrable.

1. A Good listener

A good listener is always a good quality to have in a friendship. No one likes to vent alone, so they need someone to rely on without having all the pressure and weight. A good listener will make you feel heard. Sometimes, it feels good to let everything out in the open. I have the tendency to overthink a lot of things. I get in my head and stress myself out over things that will possibly never happen. Talking to someone, like a friend, helps you stay sane while also keeping the friendship strong. Friends rely on each other, they depend on one another to stay in the good and bad. When one vents to another in a friendship, I assume everyone knows that the things talked about stay between the people in friendship. These qualities show trust, and the person you depend on to keep your trust is your confidant. Don't lose your confidant. Trust is a key element in any type of friendship no matter the dynamic.

2. Opposite in Some Aspects

Any friendship that shares all the same personality traits; I personally believe, will not grow or evolve. A friendship where everyone is exactly the same is not a growing strong friendship. It's okay if people in the friendship are different from one another. Differences in each other are what make the friendship dynamic interesting. Some friendships have the “mom” in the group, others have the funny or athletic type. With differences, each person brings special, unique qualities to the friendship. You can help each other out, grow stronger as a group, and have a tighter bond with each other. For example, I'm not that very outgoing or social. I'm more introverted, and I'm shy and keep to myself. However, I like to have friends that are more outgoing than me. They push me to be more outgoing with them, inviting me to new places, experiencing new things. I now enjoy places where I never would've gone if it weren't for my friends. Differing personality traits can help bring friends together, creating and developing a tighter bond.

3. Open-minded

A good quality to see in any friendship is open-mindedness. To have a growing friendship, all people inside the friendship have to be open-minded whether it be open with their feelings, or open towards other people's feelings, thoughts and ideas. All members of a friendship should be able to express how they feel without being shut down by others in the group. Every friendship has to have some sort of communication between the people in it. You have to have an open mind about the views of others in the group. A friendship won't last long if there's a “leader” in the group. A true friendship becomes stronger if all people in the group are treated as equals and also have an equal say concerning how they think and feel. An open-minded person in a friendship takes the ideas, thoughts, and views of others into consideration, and is also accepting and open towards other members of the group.

4. Humorous

Any friendship needs some sort of humor in it. Humor brings the members of a friendship closer together. The jokes you make between friends can also make special memories your group can look back on and remember. A friend who possesses the quality of humor is a good friend to have. If you're ever in a fight between certain friends in the friend group, a friend who possesses the quality of humor will usually lighten the tension with a joke or special memory. Humor is an important quality in friendship because you can rely on them when you've had a bad day or when you're feeling down, they can always cheer you up. I believe that humor is also another key element in friendship. How can people have a strong, close friendship with others without humor? Humor brings people together, laughter helps people cope through the toughest of times and in the worst of days.

5. Trustworthy

Someone that is worthy of your trust is a great trait to have in a friendship. Someone who keeps your trust, and always shows you that they are worthy of keeping it; I see it as an amazing quality. Those people who have a connection because they're so honest with each other and always trust one another, are the people that I believe will always stay by your side. It's hard to leave someone or lose someone with who you have a whole history with. When you share a history or have memories that you know you could never re-create, that's when you know the friendship is real and one worth keeping. Different people have different qualities that they bring to the friendship that could only make it stronger. Each person in the friend group has different personality traits, and when they come together, it creates a real, true, special friendship.

I'm not sure if anyone has this but you know how you have certain friends that know you, and then you have friends that know you and how weird and crazy you could be? Those are the trustworthy friends, those are the friends that you will tell everything to. All the things you never said aloud, all the things you were trying to hide, and all good, bad, and ugly. These are the friends who will share your hardships, as well as your accomplishments. Having those friends is a great blessing in life.

6. Someone that Includes Others

A friendship that is open to include others, is a growing friendship. A new person in a friendship can be a good thing, and can also help the friendship grow into something better than you could've imagined. A new friend can bring something new to the friendship, something that perhaps was missing. A friend who is willing to include others is also willing to let the friendship grow. This person sees the potential for growth in their group and is usually the one to reach out towards others who look lonely or feel left out. Having a friend who wants to include others, and always sees potential in making new friends is a good quality to have. It shows that they want to grow, and have friends that would be a great asset to their friendship. Unexpected friendships are the best forms of friendships.

7. They Are Just There For You

This one is a bit hard to explain, but when you are with a special group of people and you feel like everything is right and nothing at that moment matters; that's a real friendship, those are the friends worth keeping. Laughing at the stupid things you did, telling them things you've never told anyone else, being yourself around them; those are real friendship qualities. The best thing a friend could ever do to make a friendship bloom is to just be there. Be there in the good and bad, be there when it's hard and tough, be there to celebrate the good things in life, just be there because nothing is more heartbreaking than missing out on the important moments in a friend's life that change them and help them grow.

I've learned to just be there for my friends. I might not be able to physically always be there for them, but I always tell them that I'm there if they ever need me. I've also learned that because of that, more people have confided in me, and given me their trust; they expect me to not break it. I don't break their trust. Nothing is more important to me in a friendship than keeping that trust and being there for them. It has both drawn and brought me closer to them, only forming a stronger bond. When you are there for someone, and they are there for you, it's one of the most rewarding feelings. It shows that they want to stay, and they're not going to leave even when you try to push them out. I don't have to stay with my friends, I want to, I choose to. Because of that choice, I believe that's the main reason why they've stayed in my life so far; and they're still there.

8. Brings Out The Best In You

Have a friend who brings the best out of you. Someone that pushes you to be a better person than you were before you met them, someone that changes you for the better. Have a friend that makes you smile, laugh, but also one that shows compassion and empathy. If you're outgoing or always hyper, it's good to have a friend who makes you realize that it's okay to slow down, to appreciate the little things in life that pass by. If you're someone who is more reserved and shy, someone that likes to be introverted; it's good to have a friend that is adventurous and outgoing. They can push you to get out of your comfort zone and try things you never knew you'd be interested in. It's also good to have a friend who is alike, who shares similar traits with you. If you like the outdoors and nature, it's nice to have a friend who shares your interest.

If you are more of a feelings person, someone who likes to express themselves; it's nice to have a friend who also expresses themselves and how they feel. A good solid friendship can only work if all people in the group are content, including yourself. I find it useful to have a friend who is alike to you concerning personality traits and interests, as well as someone else who is quite the opposite in these areas.

9. Supportive

A supportive friend is a great quality to have in any friendship. Someone who is supportive stands with you, even if they don't completely agree with your decision or choices. They help you make the right choices, while also supporting the decisions you make, even if it's not what they would've chosen. Someone who is supportive will help you get through the tough moments in life, but it's also good to be supportive even if it's not your area of expertise. You can be supportive in a friendship in many ways. Sometimes, being supportive can be as simple as just listening to them and giving your input on the situation. You might not always agree with what they have to say, and they also might not agree with everything you have to say either. That's what being supportive is all about; being there even if you might not agree with them. I believe being supportive is probably the best quality to have or possess when all hope seems lost in a friendship.

Friends need to encourage and lift each other up. Encouragement can bring a bond between friends closer. I think of being supportive as, “despite our differences, I'll be there to support you. I'll be there when you need me. I'll be there when you feel like there is no one else to confide in.” Being supportive is a two-way street. It only works if both or all friends are supportive. That's what keeps the friendship strong, support from everyone.

10. Selfless

To be in any kind of friendship, one must be selfless. A friendship includes other people that value their feelings, thoughts, and ideas who trust you and others enough to share those things. To stay in a healthy friendship, you have to think of others; not just about yourself or the importance of your feelings and thoughts. Being selfless means to put others before yourself, to care for the needs of others. If she's going to a different college than you that's farther away, but has the major she's interested in, be supportive of that. It's doing the right thing for the other person, even if it sucks for you.

It's letting go, even if you don't want to. Sometimes, being selfless can be natural and simple like asking how their day was or even asking if something's wrong. By doing this, you show that you care for that person; you are putting their needs before your own. Being selfless is asking if they need anything, without having to expect the same question from them. Friendship should be a selfless act, you shouldn't expect anything in return. Being selfless is you sharing, being there, caring out of the willingness of your heart.

A Toxic Friendship

In a toxic friendship, most times it's all about the other person. The friendship isn't equal, there is obviously a leader in the group. The friendship qualities in the group are usually one-sided, so only some people in the friendship might show good qualities and others may not. Toxic friends don't care about the other people in the group, and will usually try to make it all about themselves. Sometimes toxic friends will pin themselves as the victim-blaming others for their mistakes or faults. Toxic friends don't make you or others feel valued or important. At times, people can become an “assistant” or “servant” to the toxic person without even knowing it. People who are toxic who are in friendships will usually only depend on others when it is most convenient for them, or when they need something or need help; however, will not help others when they need it.

1. Someone Who Is Always Negative

Someone who is in the friend group that is always negative, can affect the friendship from growing. It can cause others to always look out for them, and puts a strain on everyone else in the group. Someone who is negative and appears to be a “Debby Downer” can upset some people and even make some people annoyed. Someone like this is always negative about the decisions that the group makes, and is also negative about themselves, doubting the friendship and the qualities they bring to it. When someone in the friendship is constantly being negative about almost everything the group says and does, it makes everyone in the friendship uncomfortable, causing a negative mood on everyone.

Being negative is a toxic trait because most friendship qualities should be positive, relying on others and not doubting their own abilities, or someone else's. There's no doubt that all friendships go through rough patches and bumps in the road, but the whole friendship shouldn't be surrounded by negative people, thoughts, and feelings.

2. Someone who Is Fake

I believe someone who is fake in a friendship is a very toxic trait. When someone is fake in a friendship, they usually stay silent when disputes occur or will act or pretend to be someone that they're not. I believe being fake can actually damage a friendship because you are essentially lying about who you are and have morals and values that are untruthful. Fake friends won't stand up for you, and will leave you there to fend for yourself; that's not a true friend, that's not how you gain a strong bond. You can't rely or really depend on someone that is fake because it's like trusting a stranger. You're really just trusting someone who pretends to be someone or something they aren't. You don't really know who they truly are because you can't tell if they're being truthful or not. Friendships aren't based and built on being or acting fake, they're built on trust and truth. Someone who is fake is depriving the other people in the friendship to not have a real bond.

The friendship is just based on lies that could be either true or false. Someone who is fake isn't there for everything that truly happens in a friendship, which is all the good and all the bad; they're just there for the ride, silently sticking around. A fake friend can stab you in the back, and not care; they are known for being snakes. A fake friendship can also destroy your mental health, and also makes you doubt many aspects needed to have a strong, working friendship.

3. Dramatic

Another toxic trait is a friend who likes to start or be involved in drama. This person can also be dramatic at times, getting her/his friends involved in their drama. A friend who likes drama can start gossip and rumors, taking part in it most of the time. These people like to stir the pot and cause drama between people “for fun”, causing tension between people. This trait is toxic to have because having a dramatic friend in the group can cause drama in the friendship, turning one friend against another. Depending on what is being said, drama can sometimes go as far as tearing a friendship apart. The stupid arguments over who said what, and who talked to her boyfriend; I feel like that's a dumb reason to lose a friendship over. I wouldn't recommend having a dramatic friend in the group. They can cause tension and start rumors, gossip, and drama in the group that can tear friends apart.

4. Competitive; The “One-upper”

This is the friend that as soon as you say something that you're proud of, they hit you back with something even cooler to top it off. A friend that is always competitive can be a toxic trait because they always want to find a way to make everything in the friendship a competition. A friendship shouldn't be competitive, it should focus on each other. Someone who is always competitive wants to make everything a competition; always trying to one-up the people in the friendship. You never want to compete against each other in a friendship, it can make others in the group feel bad about themselves. It's never good to be or try to be better than your friends, everyone should be treated as equals in the friendship. It obviously hurts the feelings of others when someone in your group thinks, believes, and says that they are better than the rest.

5. A copycat

Someone who tries to copy another person in the group can get boring pretty quick. You never want to have a friend that tries or wants to be you, they can become way too attached. This can cause a strain on the friendship from the perspective of the person who is the one being copied. It isn't so bad to have original ideas or thoughts. People can become attached way too early to the friendship by simply wanting to be with that friend all the time. What makes a friendship so great is the different people in it. There's no point in having a friendship with a replica of yourself. At times, people can try to impress their friends by wanting to be them. This can be done by dressing, acting, and “thinking” the same way as whom they want to be. Nothing is more unoriginal than trying to be someone that you clearly aren't. Don't try to impress others by trying to be like them, they chose you as friends because you're different from them, and that can be a good thing.

6. Never There

Someone who is not there when you need them most isn't a great friend to have. You need to be able to depend and rely on those closest to you. It's understandable when they can't help you or be there for you at the moment, but they should really be there when you really need a friend. I find it unacceptable when a “friend” chooses something more important to them than talking with you. I believe what annoys me the most is when someone says that they'll always be there for you, but they end up not being there. They probably won't own up to their mistakes, saying and making excuses that something more important came up, but I find that as an excuse that the friendship is clearly one-sided.

7. Conceited

A conceited friend isn't a good friend to have, they can most likely turn into selfish people who only care about themselves, not others. If you're in a conceited friendship, where most of the people involved only care about themselves and not others in the group, you would likely feel unappreciated or not valued. In a conceited friendship, it's all about the person and not focused on the other people in the group. The conceited friend feels like they are prettier, smarter, and more important. Their problems matter more than yours, their ideas are better than yours, they believe they are funnier and could talk all day about themselves and all the good things about them. They might not be there for you, but know that you will always be there for them, which can be conceited. I see people who are conceited as people of vanity, they look and believe their self-image is above and overlooks others. They take pride in how they look and perceive themselves. I believe nothing can damage another person in a friendship and lower their self-esteem than a conceited friend.

8. Controlling

A controlling friend who likes to control you, others, or the friendship, isn't a proper way to grow a friendship. I believe that a friendship should have no control over others, or what is done in a friendship. A friendship should be equal from all sides, from all perspectives and standpoints. People in the friendship should have an equal say in decisions and ideas. A controlling person could turn into a controlling friend, which can then turn into a leader in the friendship who has power over all others in the group. What I don't like the most about controlling friends is that they can turn you into an ugly person. They can easily change who you are if you're weak enough, and they're strong enough. They could start by jokingly make strong controlling commands and suggestions, which can quickly lead to changing who you are as a person. A controlling person is very toxic to have in a friendship, people who have had experiences like this don't realize how much they've changed until it's too late. A controlling person in the group can be a bad influence, and make you do or say things that you'd never thought you'd say or do.

9. Shuts You Down/Out

This is another quality a toxic friend could have that can prevent a friendship from growing. Someone who shuts down your ideas or thoughts, or someone who completely shuts you out and ignores you, basically doesn't value you. Nothing is more intoxicating than realizing that your own friends don't even want to value you or your qualities. It's not worth having a friend who just doesn't act like a friend. They act as a stranger instead. Why would someone ever want a friend who pays no attention to them whatsoever? It could just be for show, appearance, or social status. It's like they're using you, and it's just an act. They have no intention of actually being your friend.

No one deserves to be treated like that ever. Everyone deserves a chance at happiness in a friendship or even a relationship. Shutting out someone just shows the person being shut down that they're not important, that they don't matter, that they don't feel appreciated or valued in the friendship. I personally believe that this is one of the most toxic traits. It makes others feel bad, it makes them feel like they're worth nothing. I've never experienced that, but I know some of you have. I hope you got out of that toxic friendship. It really hurts someone, it can lead to a dark path and even bad self-worth.

10. Excludes others, Leaves People Out

Someone who excludes others or leaves people out on purpose isn't a good friend. They aren't open to include others, and they are willing to leave people out. Leaving people out, may not do a lot of damage to the person doing it, and it may seem funny from their perspective; however, it's not funny for the person being left out. Being excluded or not invited to a group hangout or event, can make others feel bad. I've been left out before, it's not fun. You're the one out of the loop, you're the one they didn't invite. The worst part about this is that once the event or hangout that you weren't invited to is over, they can start making jokes or reminisce on memories or moments that you weren't even a part of. That makes people feel left out and abandoned. It makes people feel like they're not really “friends” with the people they hang out with because they're left to the side.

This can change, but when people start to experience this more often, it makes them feel really distant from their friends, not feeling like they're part of a real friendship. Its hard being the one left out or excluded from events because you feel like there's something wrong with you, or that others don't want you. This quality can be considered as a definite red flag; however, if it does occur more frequently it can become a toxic trait.

I know that all friendship dynamics are different and unique, so some of these may not be accurate. I have had experience in some of these areas but not all, so if some of these traits or qualities are incorrect, I apologize. Thank you for reading, I hope you can learn from observing the different qualities in your friendship.

Samantha Ferrer
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Samantha Ferrer is a 19 year sophomore in college in California. She enjoys reading, writing, spending time with close friends, and binge watching her favorite shows and movies. Samantha also enjoys watching Rom-Coms and John Hughes movies. On her free time, you can find Samantha thrift shopping, and enjoying/looking at nature.