Friendship Fumbles: Common Mistakes That Can Put Strain on Relationships

By Aaron Stone

“While your friends could first accept your apology for leaving, eventually they’re going to think that you’re exploiting their forgiveness or patience,” says friendship expert, Danielle Bayard Jackson.


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Loving your friends and wanting them to be as involved in your life as possible can be normal and good. Try to keep everything in balance, though. Some friendships naturally demand many check-ins between the parties throughout the day and continuous communication. However, if you or your friend needs some distance, give yourself some time to think about other things and have faith that you will be able to communicate and share experiences whenever you both feel ready.

Never Have To Be Wrong

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Always reiterating your position (especially on trivial matters or in unclear situations) can give a friend the idea that their perspective is less important than yours. According to therapist and friendship specialist Marisa G. Franco, PhD., “You run the risk of making them feel ‘de-selfed’ or like a diminished version of themselves, which in the end makes them less inclined to maintain the friendship.” Healthy friendships, on the other hand, are based on mutuality, which implies that each individual offers a perspective while taking the other person’s into account.

Lack Of Empathy

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It can be important to differentiate between sympathy and empathy in a relationship. Understanding and being able to relate to someone else’s condition is called empathy. Feeling bad for somebody or wishing they were in a better situation are both examples of sympathy. Try to put yourself in their place and be a part of their support system even though you might not be aware of every aspect of your friend’s life or how a specific circumstance could impact them.

Often Putting Forward Controversial Ideas 

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It is possible to form a connection with someone despite having little in common in terms of socioeconomic background, religious convictions, or cultural upbringing. When moral principles are involved, maintaining a friendship between two opposites may be difficult.

Talking Too Little

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Too little or excessive communication can both hurt a relationship and a friendship. If you have difficulty connecting with your friend on a deeper level, satisfying the needs of one another can be hard because those demands might not be expressed verbally.

Creating quality time in mature friendships can be difficult. The responsibilities of work, family, and other commitments may cause friendships to receive last-minute attention. If you feel you have become too busy for your friends or often find yourself wondering how long has passed since you last saw them, consider reorganizing your time and attention to retain that support system.

Peer Pressure 

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When coercion or responsibility is present in your relationship, it may be detrimental to your friendship. Don’t imply that your friend needs to follow your lead or share your opinions for your friendship to continue. Asking those around you to participate in things they find uncomfortable could come across as disrespectful.

Converting A Private Date Into A Social Gathering

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Even if the other person agrees to the addition, bringing it up repeatedly will start to imply that your friendship isn’t important enough to warrant your undivided attention. This can lead to resentment. “If your friend doesn’t know the third party well, it may leave them feeling awkward or disappointed, particularly if they’d wanted to have a private discussion with you,” adds Dr. Levine.

Lacking Balance Or Appreciation

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Like every connection, friendships might need a certain amount of compliments to last. The friendship might not continue if you pester your friend for favors yet are unkind or unavailable when they seek assistance. Try to maintain a healthy balance between giving and receiving, even though keeping a constant record of who has done what for whom may not be required.

Traits Of Narcissism 

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Both parties might need to feel like they are on an equal footing for the friendship to succeed. Be humble enough to take a back seat and listen to your friend. Even if you don’t agree with them on everything, learn what they can teach you about life.

Phubbing (Even When Done In A Group)

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You may be aware that phubbing—a humorous combination of “phone” and “snubbing” that refers to gazing at your phone during a conversation—is typically considered impolite. A recent investigation on friend phubbing suggests that people are more likely to do so in groups of three or more since the person speaking is less likely to see them doing so. But even then, experts say you’d be smart to steer clear of it. Phubbing can be understood as undervaluing a friendship in favor of whatever is more urgent on your phone.

Ignoring Issues In The Friendship

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Claiming something is okay when it isn’t almost always results in negative expressions, according to Jackson: “You’ll either find yourself gradually pulling from the individual in question over time, replying with passive-aggressive comments, or resenting them altogether.” It is for the same reason that you shouldn’t leave a heated argument without making an effort to resolve it.

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