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4 Feb 2021

Are You a Friendzilla? 6 Signs You Have Unhealthy Friendship Expectations

Do you constantly feel like your friends are letting you down? Have you considered cutting off friends because of unmet expectations?

With comradeship being redefined through popular shows like Friends and Brooklyn 99, it’s easy to fall into unrealistic expectations on how friendships should be. But real life isn’t like the movies and intense expectations can only lead to broken relationships.

Before you make any rash decisions about your circle of friends, let’s take a step back and see if you’re expecting too much from them. Here are 6 signs that you could be a friendzilla and how you can manage your expectations better.

#1. You can’t stand your friends hanging out with people you dislike

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Do you have a person in mind that you don’t like but can’t figure out why your close friend seems to be hitting off with that person just fine? You would expect them to be on your side after knowing how you feel about them, right?

What’s worse is that your BFF seems to be actively staying out of whatever that’s going on between you and your “enemy” by ignoring your comments and the issues you have with them.

What you can do instead

Seeing your friend hanging out with someone you don’t like can be irritating, but it’s probably best for you to accept and respect their friendship.

What matters more is working around their friendship so that you can keep yours. You can try talking it out with your friend so that they understand your dynamic with the person, but you shouldn’t expect them to drop a friendship just because of you. Your friend is probably just trying to preserve both friendships and keep themselves out of the conflict — especially when they don’t find any reason to dislike this person.

#2. You bond with someone and now they’re instantly your best friend

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You’ve probably experienced meeting someone for a few times and immediately, it feels like you could be soulmates. Your friendship instantly clicks — now, they’re your best friend and you want to be doing everything together.

But what happens when you find out that you both have different interests, values or beliefs? Or they start exhibiting some of your friendship pet peeves?

What you can do instead

With titles come expectations and this can only hurt you when your expectations aren’t met. Avoid adopting the “best friend” title too quickly; instead, spend time strengthening the bond you have with this person.

Building deep, supportive friendships is a marathon, not a sprint so take it slow and steady. Keep in mind that connecting with a friend should be fun and kind of exciting. Most importantly, always be yourself!

#3. You’re ready to cut off friends who don’t check up on you

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Ever had a friend who doesn’t seem to check up on you at all or only seem to text you when they want something? They hardly ever initiate contact to chat or catch up. And every time you do get a hold of them, they’re always coming up with excuses of how busy they are.

It gets more frustrating when they can’t seem to schedule a meet up after flaking on you several times. Is it time to dump them?

What you can do instead

It’s important to understand that your friends have lives outside of friendship and sometimes, the things they have to attend to outweigh their friendship with you. Whether they’re caught up with work or just taking some time off for themselves, it doesn’t mean they don’t care about you.

Try checking up on them instead and ask if there’s anything going on in their personal life. Your friend might be too overwhelmed to realise how unavailable they’ve been. After that, try and see how you both can spend more time together. This means making plans ahead of time to hang out or scheduling a phone call to catch up. Friendship is a two-way street and you shouldn’t expect your friends to be doing all the work.

Pro Tip: If you’re the friend that’s consistently using “I’m too busy” as an excuse, learn to start planning ahead so that you can accommodate your friend’s schedule. You don’t want to take advantage of your friend’s understanding and kindness or you’ll risk them walking away.

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#4. You expect them to just know what you’re feeling

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Being friends with someone for a long time means that you both practically know everything about each other from favourite food to movies and even what they dislike. With this telepathic connection you both have, surely they’d know when you’re feeling down about something, right?

If that’s the case, how come your friend constantly ignores your hints and “messages”?

What you can do instead

It can be upsetting when your friend doesn’t seem to understand you. Unfortunately, they’re not mind readers and you can’t get upset if they don’t understand your needs and desires. While they can look for signals, this doesn’t help in explaining what you want.

Instead of dropping subtle hints, ask for what you really need. Throwing passive aggressive hints will only lead to frustration and resentment and this is something you want to avoid. You can also calmly discuss the expectation your friend isn’t meeting. This will allow the two of you to figure out if the expectations are reasonable and how you can compromise around something that would work for both of you.

#5. Being mad when they don’t share with you everything about their life

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You probably have certain friends who know almost everything about you and others who don’t, which puts them on the list of your closest friends. Whether it’s personal issues or simply work related, you feel like you can trust them with anything.

But what if you feel like they don’t tell you much about themselves? This is enough to make you feel like you don’t matter as much.

What you can do instead

The truth is, your friends are not obligated to tell you everything that goes on in their lives. Some things might be too sensitive or too private to discuss but that doesn’t make you any less important. It’s probably best that you accept this and respect the boundaries your friends have set.

You can try and ask your friend about their life updates when you’re catching up with them. But don’t feel disappointed or discouraged if they choose to not elaborate. Friendship requires mutual respect of decisions and as much as you both share everything together, you also need to allow your friends to feel comfortable keeping some things to themselves.

#6. You get upset if they’re unable to be there for you emotionally 

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Have you ever had a friend who’s always too distracted to be there for you when you need a shoulder to lean on during hard times? They’re always either unavailable or can’t seem to pay attention to what you’re saying.

You thought that by sending them text messages about your problems would warrant a reply — but they leave you on read and don’t text you back.

What you can do instead

It might seem like your friend doesn’t have your best interests at heart, but have you considered that they may have issues to attend to as well? Empathy is an important part of any relationship but practising them can, at times, be overwhelming and emotionally draining. Consider asking your friend if they have the emotional capacity to hear you vent beforehand. This gives your friend the space to respond as opposed to being bombarded with paragraphs of your rants. 

This can also be a vice versa situation with you and your friends! Being honest about your emotional availability helps your friends understand the boundaries you’ve set in order to combat emotional fatigue and maintain a healthy wellbeing and friendship.

If you are feeling dissatisfied with your friendships, take a good hard look at your expectations and ask yourself if they are reasonable. Friendships require give and take and there will be times where there are imbalances — but it’s up to you to make it work.

Want to become a better friend? Start by learning their love languages.

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