14 Signs You’re The Problem Friend (And How To Change)

14 Signs You’re The Problem Friend (And How To Change)

Ever wondered if you’re the friend everyone secretly dreads hanging out with? It’s not always easy to admit, but sometimes we can be the ones bringing negativity or drama to our friendships. Self-awareness is key to maintaining healthy relationships, and recognizing our own flaws is the first step towards positive change. So, let’s have a look at some telltale signs that you might be the problem friend, and explore ways to turn things around.

1. You always turn the conversation back to yourself.

provided by Shutterstock

Friendships are a two-way street, and conversations should be a balanced exchange of thoughts and feelings. If you find yourself constantly hijacking the conversation to talk about your own problems or accomplishments, it can leave your friends feeling unheard and unimportant. Make an effort to actively listen to what they have to say and show genuine interest in their lives.

2. You’re always late or canceling plans.

provided by Shutterstock

Being consistently late or canceling plans at the last minute can be a major source of frustration for your friends. It shows a lack of respect for their time and can make them feel like you don’t value their company. If you struggle with punctuality or commitment, try setting reminders or making a conscious effort to prioritize your friendships.

3. You’re overly critical or judgmental.

provided by Shutterstock

Nobody likes to be constantly criticized or judged. If you find yourself frequently nitpicking your friends’ choices, appearance, or behavior, it can create a negative and draining atmosphere, the Harvard Business Review warns. Instead, focus on their positive qualities and offer support and encouragement.

4. You’re always the center of drama.

provided by Shutterstock

Do your friendships always seem to involve some sort of drama or conflict? Are you constantly complaining about people or stirring up trouble? If so, it’s time to take a step back and examine your role in the drama. Try to avoid gossip and negativity, and focus on building positive and supportive relationships.

5. You’re a chronic complainer.

provided by Shutterstock

Everyone has bad days and vents occasionally, but if you’re constantly complaining about everything, it can be exhausting for your friends. Try to focus on the positive aspects of your life and avoid dwelling on the negative. If you’re genuinely struggling, consider seeking professional help instead of burdening your friends with your complaints.

6. You’re unreliable and flaky.

provided by Shutterstock

If you frequently break promises, forget important dates, or bail on plans at the last minute, it can damage your friendships. Reliability and trustworthiness are essential qualities in any relationship. If you struggle with follow-through, make a conscious effort to keep your word and be there for your friends when they need you.

7. You’re always borrowing money or asking for favors.

provided by Shutterstock

While it’s normal to ask for help occasionally, constantly relying on your friends for financial support or favors can create an imbalance in the relationship. If you find yourself always needing something from your friends, try to become more self-sufficient and offer help in return when you can.

8. You’re never there to celebrate their successes.

provided by Shutterstock

True friends celebrate each other’s successes and offer support during challenging times. If you’re only around when you need something from your friends or when you’re feeling down, it can create a one-sided and unfulfilling relationship. Make an effort to be present for your friends’ victories, big and small, and show genuine happiness for their achievements.

9. You offer unsolicited advice.

provided by Shutterstock

While you might have good intentions, offering unsolicited advice can come across as judgmental and condescending. It’s important to respect your friends’ autonomy and allow them to make their own decisions. If they ask for your opinion, offer it thoughtfully and constructively. Otherwise, focus on listening and offering support without judgment.

10. You’re always trying to one-up their experiences.

provided by Shutterstock

When a friend shares something exciting or challenging, it’s not a competition. If you constantly try to top their stories with your own, it can make them feel like you’re not genuinely happy for them. Instead, celebrate their achievements and offer support for their struggles.

11. You’re not a good listener.

provided by Shutterstock

Good communication is essential for any healthy friendship. If you interrupt, change the subject, or offer solutions before your friend has finished speaking, it shows a lack of respect and interest in what they have to say. Practice active listening by focusing on their words, asking clarifying questions, and reflecting back what you hear.

12. You’re emotionally draining.

provided by Shutterstock

Do your friends often feel exhausted after spending time with you? If you’re always in crisis mode, overly emotional, or demanding of their attention, it can drain their energy and leave them feeling depleted. Try to be more self-aware of your emotional state and how it affects other people.

13. You don’t apologize or take responsibility.

provided by iStock

Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s important to own up to them and apologize when necessary. If you’re constantly pointing the finger, making excuses, or refusing to acknowledge your role in a conflict, it can damage your friendships. Take responsibility for your actions, apologize sincerely, and strive to do better in the future.

14. You take more than you give.

provided by iStock

Healthy friendships are based on reciprocity and mutual support, Psych Central highlights. If you’re always the one receiving help, favors, or attention, it can create an imbalance in the relationship. Make an effort to give back to your friends in meaningful ways, whether it’s offering a listening ear, helping out with a task, or simply being there for them.

Harper Stanley graduated from Eugene Lang College at The New School in NYC in 2006 with a degree in Media Studies and Literature and Critical Analysis. After graduating, she worked as an editorial assistant at The Atlantic before moving to the UK to work for the London Review of Books.

When she's not waxing poetic about literature, she's writing articles about dating, relationships, and other women's lifestyle topics to help make their lives better. While shocking, she really has somehow managed to avoid joining any social media apps — a fact she's slightly smug about.