Characteristics of a Bad Friend

Marcelina Hardy, MSEd, BCC
Is she a bad friend?
Is your "friend" peer pressuring you?

Characteristics of a bad friend can help you determine whether you should continue a friendship with someone. It's not always cut and dry whether or not you should trust someone who claims to be your friend.

Understanding the Characteristics of a Bad Friend

When you first meet someone new, you don't quite know whether or not he or she will make a good friend. Most people are on their best behavior and want you to like them. Once the newness of you rubs off, these friends start to show their true colors and sometimes they aren't what they seemed to be.

Talking Bad About You to Others

Pay attention to what your friend is saying and doing while you are around and when you are not. If you're hanging out with a group and someone says something bad about you, a bad friend will join them and even add to the fuel of their fire towards you. Furthermore, if your so-called friend talks badly about you in front of you, imagine what he or she is saying when you aren't around.

Pressures You to Do Things You Don't Want to Do

A good friend will want the best for you and respect your decisions. He or she will never make you do something you don't believe in or will get you into trouble. Peer pressure is difficult to deal with, but it does show you who your real friends are.

Takes Advantage of You

Have you ever had a friend who only wanted to do the things that he or she felt were fun or someone who only called you when he or she needed something? Or the person only wanted to hang out with you because he or she wanted to get close to your boyfriend/girlfriend? This type of person only wants to use you for his or her own fulfillment. A friendship is a give and take and you shouldn't feel as though you are the only one giving.

Spills Secrets

Trust is extremely important in a friendship. If you have a friend that tells everyone your business all the time (not just a little slip up), he or she is a bad friend. The person is probably looking for ways to make him or herself look better by putting you down or just trying to hurt you. However, keep in mind that if you tell a friend a secret that could hurt you or someone else, a good friend will tell an adult to get help.

Throws You Under the Bus

If you're in a situation in which your friend is getting into trouble and he or she brings up something wrong you did just so you take the heat either along with him or her or in place of, then the person is a bad friend. A friend should never rat out someone just because he or she is in trouble unless again, it has something to do with you hurting yourself or someone else.

Knowingly Gives You Bad Advice

Some bad friends are in disguise. They may act as if they are supportive and nice to you, but all of a sudden, you start to realize that advice he or she has been giving you isn't exactly the best, which has caused a lot of problems in your life. Be careful with this one, some people are naturally bad advice givers, while others do it on purpose just to cause drama. A bad friend is someone who knowingly gives you bad advice just to see you get hurt.

Starts Lies and Drama

People who go around starting fires just to stand back and watch what happens are not good. You have a bad friend if he or she goes around telling people lies about you just to start controversy.

Changing a Bad Friend

If you've ever confronted someone about how bad of a friend he or she is, you may have been told that he or she will try to do better. You may have even given that person another try, only to be disappointed again when he or she doesn't live up to that promise. The situation may leave you wondering, "Can people really stop being bad friends?"

The answer to this question isn't easy because some people legitimately make changes to their personality so they can be better friends. However, more people than not will become defensive at the label of "bad friend" and think someone is wrong with you rather than them, which means they won't ever change.

The only thing you can do in that situation is to decide how bad of a friend the person is and if you can deal with it or not. Of course, if the person is being disrespectful to you and causing you great strife in your life, it's best to end the friendship and look elsewhere for someone who you will enjoy hanging out with.

Characteristics of a Bad Friend