Hollywood has taught us that female friendships are lifelong adventures that we are consciously signing up for the moment a girl in your first grade class tells you she likes your lunch box. Boom. Magic. She is your best friend for life. You're there for each other through getting your first periods in middle school, high school dances, college parties and post college quarter-life crises. What Hollywood doesn't talk about is what happens when you realize that you need to be a better friend to that person in your life.
It's easy to realize when someone else is really treating you poorly. You know it because you see how their behavior affects you. It's a lot harder to notice that your own actions are hurting someone else. Simply put, I think that you can tell you are being a bad friend when you notice that you are executing the exact behavior that usually hurts your feelings. You know you hate it when someone brings up your insecurities in mixed company, yet you do the exact same thing to your close friend.
Friendships are hard. Ever since I went to college I've seen how tough distance is on a friendship. Being away from each other gives room for growth on either end. When you come back to one another, that change can sometimes really throw you for a loop. It's healthy to feel like you've grown apart, but it is never OK to use that as an excuse to be a bad friend. If you see yourself exhibiting these signs, just talk it out. Seriously. Below is the list of signs that you need to be a better friend.
1. You Forgot Their Birthday
If a friend forgets my birthday I get pretty hurt. In the age of Facebook and social media there are reminders set in a way that it's almost impossible to miss someone's birthday. Seriously! You would have to make a conscious decision not to know it was someone's birthday. Take a moment to go through your calendar and mark important dates. Birthdays are important.
2. You Are Being A Giant Flake
Every time someone makes plans with you, you flake out. It sucks because you were totally on board with the plans but then forgot. Keeping promises is really important, and following through on plans is crucial for a friendship to thrive.
3. You Don't Answer Calls or Texts
I'm super guilty of this one. And I admit that freely! I know I suck at communicating over the phone. I have had three separate fights with close family and friends over the fact that I am never calling or texting people. It's a flaw that I have been working on fixing. I've set alarms for myself every week at the same time so that I call or reach out to a friend who I have not talked to in a while.
4. You Only Respond On Social Media
If you see that your conversations mostly take place through Instagram comments or Tweets, you might want to rethink the type of friendship you are leading. Social media is public and impersonal. One-on-one is where friendships should be.
5. You Tear Your Friends Down
Humor and sarcasm are qualities I look for in my friends. That doesn't mean I'm looking to be someone's verbal punching back whenever we hang out. There is a level of playfulness that I admire in friendships, but it can get to be a lot when all the attention is on how much of a joke you can be in the eyes of your friends. Friendship is about building someone up and supporting them, not tearing them down.
6. You Leave Your Friends Out
You don't invite them to hang or you are always making up an excuse in your head about why that person wouldn't want to hang out with you. You will never know is Dana wants to go to Disney with you unless you ask. So don't leave people out.
7. You Keep Ditching Your Friends
You dragged your bestie out to a club and within five minutes disappeared to talk to some guy. Stella can get her groove back any time, being a good friend is more important. So stop leaving friends behind just because they'll understand it later.
8. You Are Always Trying To One Up Your Friend
If you are hanging out in a group, you guys are constantly vying for attention. When one of you tells a story you need to immediately tell another one that's better. While it's super entertaining to other people, it's testing the limits of your friendships FOR SURE.
9. Competing Against Your Friends
This one is more specific. If you catch yourself always feelings like you need to be better than your friend, you need to be a better friend. People only thrive when you work together, not against one another.
10. You Don't Appreciate Your Friend's Interests
You could care less what your friends are doing. You secretly think all their projects are lame. Check yourself. You are no better than anyone else, and instead of being so negative, why not join them and help make it even better?
11. You're Jealous All The Time
This one is just not healthy. Your friends should be a source of power and confidence. You need to rethink your own friendships if all you do is compare yourselves to others.
12. You Ignore Friend's Financial Situation
Your friend lost their job, or are just getting back on their feet, yet you are constantly making plans to do things out of their price range. You might be coming from a good place, but you are secretly undermining their self-esteem every time you suggest eating out or movies, when you know they are having trouble paying rent.
13. Non Stop Fighting
Bickering and fighting is normal, unless it's all you do. Friendships cannot be based around fights. That's weird and backwards. Try to see what you are doing to cause the fighting and limit that behavior.
14. You Gossip About Your Friends
Ew. Don't say anything you wouldn't say to someone's face. Especially a friend. Friendships are hard enough as it is with out the added pressure of your crap-talk. So fix that — both for their sake and for yours.
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