Is Your Best Friend Bad for You?
I have a friend. We have a lot of fun together. But recently, I've noticed something really weird. Most of the time, she's only using me for her personal gains. Whenever I ask her to help me out with something, she's always got an excuse ready as to why she can't. But whenever she wants help from me, she tries to sugarcoat it in a way to make me think that if I help her out, it'll be be good for me too. She's also very nosy and if I've got something good happening, she acts as if it's really terrible that the same thing hasn't happened to her.
I've also noticed that she tries to copy everything I do (Yes! Really! I know it sounds petty, but she actually does that.) My other friends have also noticed this. Do I even call her a friend? I've realized that she was like this since the beginning, I just didn't want to notice it because maybe I wanted to view her as something she wasn't. I need advice.
Friendships are complicated—understatement of the century!—and as much as we’d like for them to be super easy and straight-up fun all the time, they’re inevitably going to have ups and downs. Just like all your other relationships.
Sounds to us like this particular friendship is going through more than just a rough patch; you’ve reached a point where some of her qualities miiiiight be a deal breaker. We don’t blame you for questioning things! Nobody wants a friend (or, more accurately, “friend”) who’s selfish and only uses those around her to get ahead. Nobody wants someone who they don’t feel comfortable spilling stuff to in fear of getting a downer response in return. If you can’t be yourself around your friend—whether it’s because you’re worried about her mean attitude, or her copying you, or whatever the reason—then who can you be yourself around? It’s important to surround yourself with people who make your life better, who make you feel happier, and most importantly, who you trust. Life is too short for bad friends.
If the relationship isn’t a healthy one, and it sounds like it’s not, you have to do something. Don’t break up with her yet—because make no mistake, if you do cut things off, it’ll feel like a breakup. Instead of immediately calling it quits, talk to her first. Be careful about how you bring things up. Don’t point fingers, and don’t call her a copycat (even if she absolutely is).
Tell her how you’re feeling. Seriously, just lay it all out there. If she *actually* listens and responds in a positive, accepting way, then consider giving it another shot. But if she makes you feel guilty or puts you down (or makes you feel anything other than good), it's time to move on and make new friends (or embrace the other ones you have). Friendship breakups can be devastating, but you aren't alone.
As Audrey, who went through her own friend breakup recently, put it, “I have realized that sometimes you go through changes in your life and you face the consequences. But those changes shape you. You lose people along the way, but there's a whole world more of them out there waiting for you to come along.”