10 bad friend habits you didn’t know you had (and need to stop doing)

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Did you know that you can be a good friend who has bad friend habits?

And that it might be pushing people you care about away?

In this article, we’ll explore 10 such habits and how they negatively impact your relationships.

Don’t let these habits sabotage your friendships any longer—read on to find out what they are and how to break them.

1. Being on your phone when with friends.

We’re on our phones most of the day, but when should we put them down?

When we’re spending quality time with our friends, of course!

Being around loved ones might be commonplace for you, but it’s not okay to take it for granted or treat people badly as a result.

Just because you’ve gotten used to seeing your friends, doesn’t mean you can get away with bad behavior!

Of course, there are times when it’s socially acceptable to be on your phone—showing your friend holiday photos or funny memes or keeping your phone on loud so you know when other people are on their way to meet you.

Most of us feel more comfortable having our phone with us just in case of emergency or on the off chance that you’re needed/ there’s breaking news/ something crazy happens!

Rule of thumb—if you’re with an Insta-obsessed friend, it’s probably alright to take a quick snap of the food or views, but that’s about as far as it should go. Unless you get an emergency call, leave replying to your messages for later.

Taking care of life admin while your friend is in the bathroom is acceptable, but make sure you tuck the phone away once they’re back. Being present around people you love is one of the best ways to show you care about them!

2. Turning up late.

We’ve all experienced the horrible realization that you’re running late and won’t make your plans on time.

There’s arguably nothing worse—you’re fast-pacing it, red and sweaty in the face, desperately trying to get hold of your friend to let them know you’re going to be late.

It’s not that you’re doing it on purpose, and it’s not necessarily your fault, but it’s still an awful feeling. And, unfortunately, it’s also a horrible feeling for the other person…

Although your friend will know that you don’t mean anything negative by it, they probably won’t be loving it either. When you’re the friend that’s always on your own outside the venue waiting for others to turn up, it can quickly get boring.

And if you’ve got any kind of social anxiety, it can be quite stressful to always be the one arriving first, waiting on your own, or having people stare at you while you’re sitting on your own in a cafe or bar for ages.

Not that they’re staring, of course, but it definitely feels like it…

3. Making every conversation about you.

You might not notice you’re doing this but try to keep an eye out for how often you spin conversations to be about you.

If a friend is talking about their boyfriend, do you bulldoze the conversation and talk about your own dating life?

It’s nice to get involved in conversations, but it’s also important to let your friends have their turn to speak; their time to share.

Your friends love and care about you, so they will make sure you have a chance to speak—the least you can do in return is give them their chance too.

4. Borrowing stuff and not returning it.

If your friends are kind enough to let you borrow their things, you should be courteous enough to return them—ideally, before you’re asked to, but, as a minimum, when you’re asked to.

Unless you’re having a period of awful mental health or have been called away on an unexpected trip for a long time, there’s no excuse.

You might not realize you’re doing it, but it’s frustrating for the other person to have to constantly chase you to get their stuff back.

It can be easy to get into the habit of taking things for granted without meaning to, but there’s always a chance to change.

Try to get better at keeping track of what you’ve borrowed from who. If you need to set a reminder to return things, do it! Mark a day on your calendar, set an alarm on your phone—whatever it takes.

It might not seem like a big deal to you, but it can be disheartening to those around you when you take treat their property as your own.

While it could just be a one-off, it’s worth considering if this is a pattern of behavior, and how it might be impacting your friends.

5. Not following up on plans.

“We should do this again sometime!”—the worst sentence ever?

We think so, mainly because it’s so rarely followed up on.

If you’re the kind of person who says this every time you bump into someone and then never follow through, you might be guilty of being a ‘bad’ friend.

It might just be a throwaway comment to you, but it probably means something to those around you.

Of course, you might genuinely mean it, but it’s still upsetting to the other person when no plans materialize.

They might have already mentally committed to spending time with you and started making plans for your time together. When you don’t make that same commitment, they likely feel forgotten about or deprioritized.

There’s a level of responsibility that comes with being a friend, and making plans and committing to the friendship is a big part of that!

6. Bailing on plans at the last minute.

We’re not discounting how often this happens by mistake (other plans running over, emergencies, bad days, etc.), but it can be upsetting for other people if it’s a regular habit.

While you know that it’s not because you don’t care, your friend might start to feel like it’s personal.

If you regularly cancel (especially last minute), it could start to feel like you’re not prioritizing your friend.

Nobody realistically (or healthily) expects you to prioritize them 100% of the time, but it can feel like you’re deprioritizing them by bailing so often.

This can feel pretty rubbish for your friend, even if it’s not your intention. They might feel like you don’t care ‘enough’ or that you don’t like them.

We all double-book ourselves every so often, but, if it’s happening a lot, you might want to invest in a new calendar, organization app, or tool to help you keep track of your social commitments.

7. Comparing rather than empathizing.

If your friend is complaining about something, do you sit and listen, or do you start sharing your own negative experiences of something similar to show empathy?

While you might think you’re helping and being empathetic, you might be detracting from their struggle by talking about your own.

A lot of people value hearing about their friend’s experiences, but others can feel as though you’re stealing their thunder. It’s their moment to talk and share, so why are you interrupting with your drama?

Try to think of it from their point of view. If you were digging deep and bearing your soul, would you want someone else piping up about their issues?

Probably not.

You’d probably want them to save it for another time when you can listen and support them.

Either way, it might be best to start checking in on how you show up in conversations.

Consider asking a friend “Do you want to vent, or do you want solutions?” This is an easy way to gauge what they need from you. If they need to vent, let them. If they want solutions, you can suggest what’s worked for you or how you would tackle their situation.

The key to being a good friend is showing up in the way that you’re most needed, and sometimes you need to ask what that looks like.

8. Humblebragging.

It’s important to note that there’s a distinction between being proud and being braggy. And, as is often the case with human behaviors, it’s a pretty fine line…

Talking about your accomplishments or answering people’s questions about your recent successes is fine, but there’s a point where it becomes a bit too much.

If you notice that you’re going out of your way to bring up your achievements, or if you’re always one-upping those around you, you might need to tone it down a bit.

Not everyone wants to hear about how great your life is in full detail.

It might not feel like you’re bragging but try to consider how others might be feeling. This is one of the keys to a strong friendship, so take the time to self-reflect and check in with your behavior.

9. Always borrowing money.

We’ve all committed to plans without thinking things through from a financial perspective, right?

You say yes at the time because it sounds exciting, and you don’t want to miss out. And then it comes around to payment time, and you’re suddenly not feeling as confident.

Maybe you already spent the money on another plan, or you just didn’t budget very well and ran out of money sooner than you thought.

Even if you pay your friend back the moment payday hits, it could still be quite frustrating for them.

Most friends are willing to help out when it’s needed, but it can be quite draining and stressful when it happens multiple times in a row.

While you might think it isn’t much of a drain on them, or that it’s more stressful for you to have no money, it can be quite distressing for those around you.

Your friends might feel guilty if they say no to you, as they know it means you won’t be able to join in on certain plans.

Either way, it’s something you might want to think about cutting down on where possible.

10. Trauma dumping.

Trauma dumping is essentially sharing a bunch of trauma or drama with someone without their explicit consent.

It might sound a bit intense, but it’s a genuine issue in a lot of friendships.

A lot of us are used to sharing so much with our friends that we forget about their boundaries.

Maybe you and your friend vent about work all the time, but if you dump a bunch of childhood trauma on them, it might be too much for them to deal with.

It’s important to be mindful of people’s boundaries or own experiences when you’re sharing personal or negative stories.

While it might seem like a harmless rant to you, it might trigger something in your friend that they weren’t prepared or emotionally equipped to address.

Your friends are there to support you, but they’re not trained therapists and they’re not always going to be in the right headspace to support you.

While your friends will undoubtedly want to be there for you, it’s worth considering what their boundaries or expectations might be. Healthy, long-lasting friendships are built on mutual respect, after all…

About The Author

Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.