There are toxic friendships, and then there are friendships that simply aren’t healthy.
While a toxic friendship usually involves backstabbing, broken trust and disrespect, an unhealthy relationship can be caused by your own internal issues. These matters hinder your ability to ever fully be yourself around a certain friend, or to ever truly have their best interests at heart. There’s a chance they may even be pretty solid, but whatever you’re dealing with may be holding you back from a flourishing friendship.
Keep reading for four personal roadblocks that prevent a friendship from ever being truly healthy.
1. Unrequited Feelings
While it may hit you like a ton of bricks the moment you realize you like your pal as more than just a friend, it’s really not that shocking. This person is likely someone you trust, care about and feel vulnerable around, so it’s not totally out of left field or at all weird that your fondness for them has grown romantic.
That said, if the feelings aren’t reciprocated and they’re simply now just that “friend you have feelings for,” your reaction to their every move is going to be entirely different than it would to a “normal” friend. Your mood instantly shifts if they express romantic interest in someone else; if they don’t text you back for a day or two; if they have to reschedule plans with you. Casual hangouts suddenly morph into you analyzing their every move, and until those feelings go away, the two of you will never truly coexist with ease.
(Riverdale via The CW)
We’d be lying if we said we’ve never envied a pal’s wardrobe, rich parents, hot S.O., killer bikini bod—okay, you get it. But, there’s a fine line between the occasional oohs and aahs of someone’s extravagant life, and feeling jealous of that person overall. Jealousy has zero positive connotations and means that, instead of being happy for whatever it is they have, you instead have a feeling of bitterness about it and can’t truly wish the best for them. Jealousy is a mental uneasiness about someone’s success or advantage. A healthy mindset thinks, “Their car is so cute. I totally want it,” and then moves on. An unhealthy mindset dwells on that car and agonizes over why that person has it and you don’t.
Resentment can stem from something that happened in the past, or it can overlap from jealousy. Either way, that feeling holds you back from genuinely contributing to a friendship, because, in the back of your mind, you’re still holding on to something you associate with negativity.
Unlike some of the other roadblocks on this list, resentment is something you should actually be able to work through somewhat easily. By expressing to your friend what’s affecting you, they’ll hopefully be mindful and try to rectify the situation, either with an explanation or a change in action. But if you still feel pent-up angst about this person that you just can’t shake, a real friendship cannot exist.
(Pretty Little Liars via Freeform)
We’ve all had our insecure moments—in fact, some of us have them daily. Whether it’s based on our bodies, our style, our academic performance, whatever, we’d love to find someone out there who is truly confident 24/7.
That said, if you hang out with someone and you feel like less of a person overall, you’re never going to feel fully comfortable being yourself around them. In a true friendship, you’re expected to feel lifted up in ways that you’re unable to feel around other people who aren’t your friends. You’re supposed to feel comfortable, whether that’s in terms of what you wear, who you date, where you work—anything! Feeling inferior may stem from the way this “friend” treats you, or it could be totally based on your own insecurities. Either way, until you assess why you feel this way and how to get over it, you’ll forever be living in this person’s shadow, instead of being an equal contributor to the friendship.
Craving more content about your pals? HERE’s how to know if someone’s a true friend.