4 Friendship Red Flags To Watch Out For

Good friendships are one of the keys to a happy life. Research cited by Time has found that there's a correlation between friendship and overall health and wellbeing, particularly for those in their elder years. "A few studies show that we often enjoy our time with friends more than with family," study author William Chopik told the outlet.

Similarly, BetterHelp therapist Ryan Smith, LPC, revealed that platonic friendships can even be more beneficial than romantic relationships. This is due to the fact that friendships aren't complicated by sex, they typically allow for more personal space, and they don't place as severe expectations on people as romantic relationships do.

While healthy friendships can enhance your life, bad friends often have the reverse effect. Unfortunately, unhealthy friendships don't disappear after high school. And when you are in a toxic friendship as an adult, it can add significant stress to your life. The first step to breaking away from unhealthy friendships is to identify a few of the classic friendship red flags: friends who dismiss your feelings and experiences, don't have your back, and leave you out.

Friends who dismiss you

One of the major benefits of having healthy friendships is having a safe place to talk about what's going on in your life. It's natural to want to share both the good and the bad with your closest friends. Typically, most people share in search of advice or validation, and in the case of sharing good news, to spread the happy vibes. It can be really damaging, then, to have friends who dismiss the things you tell them, and by extension, dismiss you.

Friends who are dismissive will often brush off the things that you tell them as not being a big deal, or trivialize your experiences. One-downing is a classic example of being dismissive, and also a way in which toxic friends compete. This happens when a friend tries to "beat" your tough or negative experiences. You're stressed out with work at the moment? Not as stressed as them. You had a bad weekend? They had a worse one.

When you have problems or news to share with your friends, they should listen to you fully and acknowledge that what you're saying is important. They should also avoid competing or making what you're saying about them. If they tell you to just get over something, or it's not as bad as what happened to them, consider it a red flag.

They don't support you

Along the same lines, friends who don't support you can also be considered toxic. Another universal advantage of having good friends is having people who will have your back in hard times and be your cheerleader in good times. When you start to feel like your friends don't support you, it's a sign that the friendship isn't as healthy as you thought.

It's easy to gauge your friends' level of support when you are chasing goals. Ask yourself if your friends encourage you to follow your dreams, like the posts you put on social media about it, and are there to lend a hand as you hustle. Support (or lack thereof) is also obvious when you go through joyous milestones in life, like getting married, having a baby, or buying your first home. Are they genuinely happy for you when they should be?

The way your friends speak about you when you're not there also shows their level of support. Friends who have your back will speak highly of you, while friends who don't will be quick to throw you under the bus. You can't always monitor this, but don't worry — word will eventually get back to you either way.

They exclude you

The sense of belonging is another benefit that makes friendship so important. Not everyone feels like they belong with their families, but you should feel safe and at home with the friends that you choose for yourself. So of course, it's not a good sign when your friends start leaving you out of things.

Social media has made it easier to find out when your friends continuously hang out without inviting you. It's totally okay to have different groups of friends, and not every single person needs to be invited to every single event. But when one person is constantly being excluded, it's an indication that they're just not valued by the people they think of as friends.

Friends can also exclude you by keeping secrets from you (things that they share with the rest of the group while leaving you out) or leaving you out of experiences. Maybe you've been deleted from the group chat, or you're the only one who wasn't included in the Secret Santa gift exchange at the end of the year. Two words: red flag.

They drain you

At the end of the day, your friends should be making your life better. They're not your blood relatives; you're not stuck with them. If they don't make you happy, there's no point in holding on to those friendships, even though it can be difficult to walk away from long-term friends that you've known for many years.

When you leave your friends, you should feel uplifted and happy. Friends that drain your energy, make you feel sad, or make you feel bad about yourself on a regular basis are probably not friends that you should continue to see (via Health Shots).

Of course, all friends have arguments or might go through rough patches. The odd blue with your friend will probably leave you feeling bad, and isn't necessarily a reason to end the friendship. Go by what you're feeling most of the time. If it's negative, then it might be time to find some friends who actually make you feel happy.