11 Toxic Habits That Can Make It Difficult To Make New Friends
Do you find yourself constantly sitting home on a Saturday night, wondering why you can't get someone to hang out with you? Maybe the reason isn't that everyone is busy, but because you have a couple of toxic habits that prevent you from making friends? It's hard to turn the finger on yourself and take a hard dose of introspection, but if the fault is with you, then you'll be happier that you owned up to the fact you might not have been the best friend to people. Because then the next step is to right your wrongs and fix it.
While you might be siting there shaking your head no, there are a couple of habits out there that you might not have realized are toxic. Sometimes we engage in them innocently enough, unaware of how it might be rubbing off on those around us. For example, do you constantly compare yourself to others, or express how you wish you were more like so and so? Do you fall into casual gossip, or pride yourself on being spontaneous and unpredictable? While all these qualities and actions might not seem like deal breakers, they can be potentially off-putting. Below are 11 toxic habits preventing you from making friends — are you guilty of any of them?
1. You Drop Hints Instead Of Being Upfront With People
Are you uncomfortable with confrontation or for asking for something? Would you rather subtly hint at things until the other person gets it, in order to avoid an awkward conversation? Well the thing is, people hate that. Rather than wasting time beating around the bush, be upfront when you want something or need something to change. Lifestyle writer Mark Manson explained on his own website, "it shows that you two are not comfortable communicating openly and clearly with one another...A person will never feel a need to drop 'hints' if they feel like they won’t be judged or criticized for it." No one likes an unconfident, slightly-scheming friend. If you need something, speak up!
2. You Talk About Mutual Friends
Did you see what Becky did at that party last night, or what Marsha told Kelly about Tiffany behind her back? While you might drop some juicy tidbits into the lap of a mutual friend, taking part in some friendly gossiping over coffee actually might be distancing you from them. Lifestyle writer Kirstin O'Donovan from Lifehack explained, "When you do this, you unknowingly give an impression on other people that you cannot be trusted and you are also reconfirming that subconsciously to yourself." When you share dirt on someone else, the person listening will assume you'd do the same about them.
3. You Take Advantage Of Kindness
Whether you do it unintentionally or because you know you can get away with it, if you take advantage of people's kindness they'll want to separate themselves from you. Lifestyle writer Maria Walley at Verily Mag asked, "If you give an inch, do they take a mile?" Whether you take that mile because you don't think they'll mind doing more for you or because you know they won't complain otherwise, no one will appreciate it.
4. You Don't Take Accountability
When we mess up, admitting to it can be a hard pill to swallow but it gains respect. If you're the type of person that never ever owns up to your faults, people will run from you as fast as they can. Amorie Lim explained the type, "When something bad occurs, they will blame it on anything that they can think of in order to keep them away from trouble. They are not fans of accountability, so they choose not to be responsible for the outcome of the situation they are in." Whether it's listening to you talk about how something wasn't your fault at work or seeing you try to explain your way out of an apology, nobody wants to deal with someone who can't own up to their own faults.
5. You Stress That People Don't Like You
Rather than being yourself fully, you might hang back and worry that people don't like your personality or don't care what you have to say. That only makes you turn lackluster and doesn't give others a chance to fully meet you. Ultimately, you've made the decision for them. Mental health writer Anthony Centore PhD from therapy site Theravive said, "This type of uncertainty can be a toxic habit because it prevents people from building chemistry with new friends. Instead of calling people up and trying to build a strong relationship, we may end up believing the risk of putting ourselves out there is too strong." Don't make up people's minds for them.
6. You Put Yourself Down In Front Of Others
While you might think you're being humble or self-depreciating, what others see is a person that needs validation. And that's exhausting for everyone involved. When you compare yourself to others in front of new friends, two things can happen: 1) They believe you and see you in a new light or 2) they now have the burden of building you back up. Ugh. O'Donovan suggested instead, "Don’t compare yourself to anyone and focus on you, what you are good at, challenge yourself to achieve what you desire, and let that be the only comparison you make." That will make people love you.
7. You Can't See The Potential In A Situation
Sometimes people are a little too by-the-book and can doubt some ambitious ideas and dreams. If you're a person that believes doing something outside of a nine to five office job is nothing but a pipe-dream, people are going to resent you for it. Not only because you don't believe in them, but because you're making their goals sound foolish when you have no right to. Lim explained, "They will come out with endless negative possibilities in any situation and they don’t encourage progress. These people drag your energy down by trying to convince you that nothing good is possible and that all ideas and dreams are only delusions." Even if you mean it with good intentions, hearing how you shouldn't move to NYC or go after that art side-job will only make people angry.
8. You Demand Too Much
Rather than being understanding over the fact everyone has a lot going on, you might feel slighted if people don't want to hang out with you or chat as often as you'd like. Centore pointed out, "For example, we sometimes expect our friends to hang out with us every weekend or every day, and we end up annoying our friends. Also, we may expect friends we've had for a long time to still have a lot of time for us, even though they may have responsibilities keeping them busy (and stressed)." So instead of being demanding or salty when plans get rescheduled or shuffled, be understanding.
9. You Act Impulsively
Sure, getting the gang together for a weekend road trip is fun, but if you're all impulse all the time, people won't appreciate the disruptive nature of your ideas. Lim pointed out, "They only believe in instant gratification, and their actions often cause unpleasant inconveniences to others. We all have the freedom to do what we please, but we have to make sure that our actions don’t affect others unfairly." While you might think you're a free spirit, others might see someone who's selfish and unpredictable.
10. You Don't Practice What You Preach
Do you complain in front of people over how rude so and so was, or how Jen never does this and that... but then you turn around and do the same thing? Sometimes it might happen without you noticing or sometimes you do it because you feel like it's not so bad when you do it, but people always notice when someone is being hypocritical. O'Donovan explained, "It is really annoying to hear people give advice they clearly don’t take themselves. Even worse, saying you are a certain way when you clearly aren’t!" Avoid that.
11. You Don't Show Respect
Whether it's you leaving rings on someone's coffee table, making fun of the person playing guitar at the bar, or constantly show up late to shindigs, if you're showing a constant lack of respect then people will be less likely to call you. Walley posed the question about a toxic friend, "Do they not respect other people’s time, money, or energy?" If the answer is yes, can you blame the person from pulling away?
If you avoid these things, then you'll right your toxic wrongs.