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20 Ways We Accidentally Sabotage Our Friendships

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Friendship is a fundamental pillar of human connection, and trust and respect are its chief cornerstones. But even with the greatest of intentions, some behaviors can damage a vital relationship that is important to us- and we may not even realize what we’re doing.

What things don’t belong in a healthy friendship? Let’s explore.

Recognizing these habits is essential to sustaining robust and long-lasting friendships. From communication errors and personality traits to plain senselessness, these habits will quietly sabotage your friendships.

1. Lack of Communication

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A friendship without communication is like baking dough without yeast; it will never rise. Burying our thoughts and emotions never helps any relationship. Avoiding candid and open conversation can result in misunderstandings and a rift between friends.

Maturity in a friendship demands that you talk even when discussing difficult things. Find ways to express yourself in a way that your friend will understand, and ask the right questions so that you understand them, too.

2. Being Overly Critical

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No one wants to be on the receiving end of criticism, especially if it’s unfair or untrue. Constantly criticizing your friends’ choices or actions can strain and break the relationship.

There are many ways to say one thing. Find loving ways to give negative feedback to your friend that will not feel like a personal attack. Sometimes, it’s good to leave some things unsaid if saying them will be more hurtful, and not saying them doesn’t make a difference.

3. Dishonesty

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Photo Credit: reveals that dishonesty is one of the top reasons couples break up. Similarly, lying or keeping secrets from a friend is a huge betrayal and can damage trust, sometimes irreparably.

People may choose to deceive others to spare their feelings or because they’re uncertain how the other person will respond. However, dishonesty inflicts far greater damage on relationships than facing the discomfort of truth. Being truthful demonstrates trust in the other person’s ability to handle the situation and affirms your respect for the bond you share.

4. Being Manipulative

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Some people knowingly or obliviously manipulate or guilt-trip their friends into doing what they want. This erodes trust and often breeds resentment when the manipulated party finally realizes that this is what is being done to them.

Empathy and fostering open communication can help overcome the inclination toward manipulation. If your manipulative tendencies run deep and are challenging to address, consider seeking professional assistance.

5. Being Controlling

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People want to feel free to be themselves and make independent choices. Trying to dictate your friend’s actions or decisions can make them feel suffocated.

Feeling the need to control others and exert power and authority over them is a form of abuse. If your friend feels you’re constantly trying to dominate them and their decisions, they may eventually cut ties with you.

6. Unreliability

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Strong friendships are mostly built on an unspoken agreement that you will do what you said you would and be where you promised to be. Every person wants their friend to be the Bonnie to their Clyde, without the robberies.

Don’t cancel at the last minute if you promise to show up for dinner and offer the help you promise to. Not following through on promises or commitments can erode trust and lead to resentment.

7. Gossiping

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Friendship is about having your friend’s back at all times, and gossip is the exact opposite. Talking behind your friend’s back or spreading rumors will always damage trust. Gossip often masquerades under different guises, such as expressing concern or seeking prayers on someone’s behalf.

However, any conversation in which you discuss things you wouldn’t say in the person’s presence qualifies as gossip. If you’re genuinely concerned about your friend, communicating directly with them is more constructive than gossiping. Together, you can seek assistance and support.

8. Jealousy

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Jealousy can creep in without us being conscious of it, and if one is not careful, it can consume you and your relationship. Feeling envious of your friend’s successes or possessions can breed resentment.

In any relationship, there will inevitably be moments when one person is thriving more than the other. Genuine friendship entails embracing and rejoicing in each other’s successes while offering unwavering support and encouragement.

9. Not Respecting Differences

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Being friends isn’t always about being two peas in a pod; sometimes, you’re two different fish in a pond, but with love and respect for each other. It’s good to accept your friend’s differing opinions and lifestyle.

Dismissing your friend’s beliefs can spark conflict. Everyone’s beliefs are significant, shaping who they are. Disregarding them can lead to feelings of disrespect and distance in the friendship. Handling differing beliefs with sensitivity and openness is crucial, even if you don’t understand or fully accept them.

10. Ignoring Boundaries

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You’re friends, not Siamese twins, so it would be great to have boundaries and respect your friends’ boundaries. Disregarding your friend’s boundaries or personal space can make them feel uncomfortable.

Prioritizing openness is crucial in a friendship, but respecting each other’s boundaries and managing expectations is also important. Disregarding boundaries often arises from a desire to exert control over the other person’s actions to validate closeness.

11. Being Overly Dependent

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As much as friendship is about leaning on each other, relying too much on your friend for emotional support without reciprocating can strain the relationship. It’s better to show that you can stand on your own feet.

Your friend may require support, but nobody desires to carry the weight of being someone else’s emotional or financial crutch indefinitely, even if you’re thick as thieves.

12. One-sided Conversations

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Some people like to talk, others not so much. If you’re a talker, remember to give your friend a chance to respond. Always dominating conversations without allowing your friend to speak can make them feel undervalued.

Being introverted doesn’t imply a lack of desire to engage in conversation. Understanding your friend’s personality and giving them space to express themselves is important. Meaningful conversation requires active participation from both sides, so demonstrate to your friend that you value and find their thoughts interesting.

13. Not Making Time for Them

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Time is a common ingredient in any friendship. Consistently prioritizing other activities over spending time with them can make them feel neglected. Many people will see you not creating time as meaning you don’t care enough.

People’s priorities for time vary, and it’s essential to understand what gestures your friend interprets as acts of love and care. While some may appreciate engaging in activities together, others might simply cherish your presence, even without much conversation or action.

14. Competitiveness

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 Your friend needs to know that you don’t consider them competition to be beaten. Constantly comparing yourself to your friends or trying to outdo them can create tension.

If you have a competitive nature, it’s important to create room for your friendship to flourish without turning it into another arena for competition. Constantly striving to outdo your friends in every aspect may lead them to distance themselves from you.

15. Being Passive-aggressive

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There are many ways to make a person feel uncomfortable, and one of them is to use indirect or subtle communication methods to communicate anger or frustration. Passive-aggressive behavior can not only lead to misunderstandings but also make the other person feel unwelcome.

Being straightforward with any frustrations is always a better bet.

16. Self-centeredness

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You cannot grow a friendship if you’re always talking about yourself and not showing interest in your friend’s life. This makes them feel unimportant, and they may slowly withdraw.

Don’t forget to ask them questions. If they’re your friend, you should care about how they doing, what they’re up to, and what they have to say. Let them know that.

17. Being Pessimistic

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Life can be difficult in many ways, and there are enough negative things to fill a bathtub for most of us. But soaking in them and then drenching your friend in negativity will slowly drown the friendship. Always focusing on the negative can bring down the mood and make it difficult to enjoy each other’s company.

We’re not talking about being toxically positive all the time. But talking about something other than negativity will be good for your relationship too.

18. Being Dismissive

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A friend must understand that you care about them and their issues. Brushing off your friend’s feelings or problems can make them feel unheard.

Sometimes, it’s easy to see from an outside perspective what they can do and how to address a certain issue. Yet, they might not appreciate you telling them to just get over it or fix it, when all they really need is a friend who’ll listen.

19. Being Overly Sensitive

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No one wants to be friends with someone if they will be walking on eggshells anytime they’re together. Reacting defensively or taking things personally can escalate conflicts.

If you find yourself being reactive often, try to build a habit of taking a few deep breaths (or counting to five) before you speak. This will allow you to gather your thoughts and decide what kind of reaction is necessary.

20. Being Disrespectful

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Respect in a friendship has to be mutual. Insulting or belittling your friend can cause lasting damage to the relationship. Can you truly consider them a friend if you’re willing to say mean things to them? Probably not.

Having deep friendships improves our quality of life. Changing the habits that weaken these ties opens the door to more fulfilling relationships. Be honest with yourself and how good of a friend you’re being, and make any necessary changes.


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