How to Set Healthy Expectations For Your Friendships

Like romantic relationships, friendships come with their own set of expectations.

Everyone wants to avoid toxic people, so we have certain standards of behavior we want our friends to meet. While expecting certain behaviors might sound harsh, setting healthy expectations for your friendships is actually the key to gaining some top-notch pals.

How do you decide your do's and don'ts? Keep scrolling to see how you can set healthy expectations for your friendships.

Decide Which Values Are Non-Negotiable

Setting healthy expectations for your friendships starts with finding people with similar values. Your values are the things you hold dear, both in yourself and in other people. They include attributes such as honesty, respect, loyalty, creativity, humor and more.

Finding friends with the same values as you is important, but expecting to find someone exactly like you will only make you frustrated and unhappy. Therefore, you have to determine which values are non-negotiable. If you don't want to be friends with someone who lies to you but you don't mind that their brain is more science-focused than creatively-driven, you can knock creativity off your list of must-haves and move honesty closer to the top.

Determining which values you absolutely need in a friendship and which values you can live without will help you manage your expectations when on the hunt for new friends.

Betty and Veronica

(Riverdale via The CW)


Make Sure Your Efforts Are Met

A good friendship is all about balance. Befriend people who are willing to meet your amount of effort in a friendship. For example, if you spend hours talking through their problems with them, you should expect the same level of effort in return—even if they don't help with exactly the same activities. Setting the expectation that you and your friends put an equal amount of effort into your friendships will help you to avoid "friends" who might take advantage of you, resulting in a toxic relationship.


Give Your Friendships Room to Grow

Setting healthy expectations doesn't always mean checking your necessary friendship qualities off of a list. Sometimes it means you need to adjust the way you're looking at your friendships. Whether you're friends with someone for a year or for your entire life, it's likely both of you will change. Expecting your friendships to stay exactly the same over the years will only result in a lot of frustration and maybe a few lost pals along the way, as you're not giving your companions room to grow.

A change in your friendship might not be a bad thing, so make sure you're letting everyone develop into who they want to be, and not ruining their progress by demanding that they always act the same in your friendship.

Pretty Little Liars Hugging

(Pretty Little Liars via Freeform)


Don't Avoid Conflict

It's easy to believe that fights and arguments are negative attributes of a relationship. They're stressful, frustrating and they can bring out a really nasty side of someone. However, fights are also bound to happen in any relationship. Looking for friends you never fight with will probably have you sifting through everyone at your school and still coming up short. Zero conflict is not a healthy relationship expectation.

Not only will it result in a lot of tension and passive-aggressive behavior when you and your friends are annoyed with each other, but it will also make you feel like you can't be upfront with your feelings. Instead of avoiding conflict, look for friends who fight fair, who are willing to talk out their issues and who value your friendship enough to communicate whatever is bothering them and find a solution.


Allow Yourself Different Forms of Friendship

Everyone you meet is not going to be your best friend. Even though it would be totally awesome to acquire new BFFs every day, that relationship is special, which means that it won't happen all the time. New friends you meet might not even make it into your inner circle, and that's okay, too.

One part of setting healthy expectations is allowing yourself different forms of friendships. You can have your close pals that you invite over to sit on your couch and dish on the latest gossip, and you can have friends that you only invite over when you need to expand your group for a girls' night out.

Having different types of friends is absolutely okay, as it allows you to turn to different people for different things, which takes the pressure off of one or two people being everything to you. Plus, it's a great way to expand your social circle.

Katie Hugging Alexa

(Alexa & Katie via Netflix)


Don't Expect an Instant Connection

Sometimes you meet people and there's an instant connection. It feels like you just understand each other from the moment you meet, and you can tell this person is going to be important to you. However, situations like that don't happen all the time. You shouldn't expect it to.

If you're waiting for an initial spark in every friendship, you're probably missing out on some really great potential pals. Good friendships take time to develop, so don't assume that you can't be friends with someone simply because that initial spark wasn't there.


Even if you set healthy expectations, some friendships aren't meant to last forever. Click HERE to see how you can know if your friendship is over for good.