Once you hit 20-something and over, you reach a point where your time becomes your most precious asset. A bad friendship can drain our energy, so we seek to avoid them as much as possible. This manner of prioritization tends to put our relationships into prospective, by subconsciously implementing The Two Laws of Adult Friendship.

1. I will only spend time on/with subjects of obsession – Just like your obsession with running, painting, or growing your own tomatoes, most of us will only initiate friendships with those who make the most of our time.

2. I must recognize realistic variables – Yes, adult friendship is like a real life math problem—helping us set realistic expectations. Sometimes we want to be closer with others, but we foresee responsibilities that can get understandably in the way.

What is the probability of Person X + (1 Husband + 2 Kids + 1 Kitten) /Full Time Job have of going out dancing with Person Y Friday night?

Somehow, you might find those few friends who get past this litmus test, but really aren’t worth the energy you are wasting on them. You might feel like a bad person when these types of thoughts start popping in your head. If this is a constant concern in the friendship, rest assured that it’s probably for the best. Here are the 3 facts to consider if you think someone is a bad friend.

Lack of Eye Contact

It says something about a person when they can’t look you in the eye. Having a bud that stares at you intensely is pretty creepy, but avoiding your gaze altogether is even worse: it’s a sign of lacking intimacy in the relationship.

Take a notice of how many times your friend checks Facebook updates and tweets while you’re in the middle of a conversation. Or maybe there are more subtle instances, like avoiding eye contact while they breathlessly monologue in what’s supposed to be a shared dialogue. Paying attention to body language will trigger that they are being rude and should probably do a little listening, so they avoid your gaze out of selfishness.

An amigo who doesn’t value you enough to pay the slightest subconscious attention to your needs of communication isn’t a real friend to you.

Self-Centered Interaction

The strength of friendships is based on our interactions with one another. It’s about what you enjoy about them, and what they enjoy about you. That’s why you can spend hours with your closest friends while literally doing nothing; you’ve built companionship that doesn’t require more than the other’s best interest.

Bad friends couldn’t care less about your well-being or interest, and this shows in the context of your interactions. They’ll hang out when it’s convenient for them or generally ask surface level questions, if they ask any at all. Getting to know you isn’t important—they just ind you a convenience for the moment.

Remember, a good friend will let you rant on a bad day, and an even better friend will tell you when to let something go without dismissing your feelings for the sake of their own good mood.

Seeking Validation

There is a 50/50 chance about how the last major sign will show up in a weak friendship. It’s a mystery as to why it doesn’t scream in the moment that this relationship might be toxic, but the fact is, those who are poor at maintaining friendships often know it. One of the few times they will look at us in the eye is when they admit “I’m a bad friend.”

It’s not a statement that comes up once or twice when they admit to messing up. Toxic friends will keep telling you this just to hear you validate their behavior. We’ve all been guilty of doing it, so that the cycle continues on.

The other 50 percent might be so diluted by their selfishness, that they feel it’s OK to take you for granted. In either circumstance, the best way to be a real friend to a faux one is to tell them—in a loving way—that they suck.

Telling them that their behavior is OK isn’t going to help them or you; it will only make things worse. We will say something when friendships really matter to us, unless we are just as bad as they are. That’s the double-edged sword to this revelation. Recognizing these traits in others might be hard to admit, but it’s even harder to acknowledge that we might be the bad friend who needs to change.

Here are important steps that can take you from being lonely to having the friends you want.: What To Do If You Have No Friends

Featured photo credit: little boy and girl on playground via Shutterstock

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