Community//

8 Signs A Friendship Isn’t Worth Your Time, Energy, or Effort

People are always coming in and out of your life for various reasons. Friends should stick around, though life is ever-changing. New and old friends can teach us about life and what friendship means.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

A friendship is complex and multi-layered. Let’s face it: in today’s digital age, some friendships are based on standards or conditions. I’ve learned that it’s helpful to have similar interests, similar jobs, and essentially be on the same page as someone else. This isn’t always the case but a pair of friends might have success in common. With these interests and successes, though, relationships are supposed to also be about equal sharing and divulging of secrets. 

These days, I’ve found it more fulfilling to associate with people who are similar to me, in ways, and have passions as well. If you’re in a position where you have these friends you’re conflicted about, check out these eight surefire signs a friendship isn’t worth your effort, time or energy.

1. They continuously gossip and make you pick sides.

Gossiping tears people apart. When you’re gossiping, you’re also putting yourself in a position of picking sides. If you’re negatively talking about others, it will get back to them eventually. 

2. When it comes to events, they aren’t present.

A wedding, a funeral, a party or a gathering, forget it, they can’t be there for you. Do you have a friend who you invite to places but they are either on their phones or sitting in a corner gossiping somewhere? It’s not worth it to put up with that.

3. They undermine you in the guise of flattery.

How you talk to somebody and your tone of voice in conversations says a lot about you. There are many ways people undermine each other’s efforts in their work or personal life. If you have a friend who is like this, and you feel they’re always insulting or undermining you, they are.

4. Your family and other friends notice their disrespect.

Have you ever had another friend or family member point out a friend’s behavior? Have other people around you identified your unhappiness around them? Don’t take this lightly. When that happens, it’s not in your own head anymore. Head for the hills and don’t look back.

5. If they’re not successful, they don’t want to hear about your victories.

Has a friend ever shushed you before even letting out a word regarding an exciting opportunity? It’s not a great feeling. They have all the reasons in the world why now is not a good time to hear about your successes. But if something happens for them, they are in your ear. Someone who can’t celebrate the small or large achievements with you is not a friend that is worth the effort.

6. If you’re down, they ghost you.

Friends will call you with their needs and problems. If you’ve had anxiety calling them in return or have said to yourself, ‘I don’t want to burden them.’ It’s OK to call them, to burden them and to vent. They are supposed to be supportive of you in good and bad times. Ask yourself why this happens, this friend who you love hanging out with and expressed the same goes ghost. The next time you see the person, ask them about it.

7. You’re always sharing about your life, but they don’t reciprocate (and you want them to!)

Friendships do run their course over time. High school ends. College ends. People move away. That best-friend pact you made in school probably hasn’t sustained as an adult. But if this person is reaching out to you still, that’s great. The person, you’d think, would want to reciprocate and tell you about their personal or work lives, too. If a friend doesn’t share with you or confide in you, it’s a red flag. That means trust might be an issue (just guessing, here) or maybe they’re not comfortable for some reason. Evaluate your history with this person, remind yourself how they first came into the picture of your story, and determine if they’re serious about staying in your life.

8. You feel like their ‘gap in the schedule’ filler.

Don’t be someone’s brief entertainment in between their appointments. If someone calls you to kill time but doesn’t make plans with you or blows you off frequently, that feels awful. Your time matters, too.

Friendships change and get more complicated as the decades pass. It can be tough, especially if you’re over thirty and you’ve established yourself in a career. It’s important to be understanding, but these eight signs are the beginning of a potential end, or maybe not. Status and ‘scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ shouldn’t be in the equation. Friendships should never begin or end with a motive attached. Try to read between the lines of communication and interactions with the people in your life. You’ll end up saving yourself a lot of time, energy, and heartache. 

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.