Friendship gives you the opportunity to be yourself around someone else. You should not have to worry about trying to leave a good impression, because if your friend genuinely cares about you, she will accept you for who you are -- flaws and all. Clinical Psychologist Deborah Khoshaba, Director of Program Development and Training for the Hardiness Institute, reports on PsychologyinEverydayLife.net that a friendship bond has the potential to be as strong and complex as those you have with a family member or romantic partner. While a good friend can enable you to have some of the most enjoyable experiences in life, a bad friend may leave you feeling sad, empty and confused.
1. Take Note of Your Feelings
Take note of how you feel after you spend some time with your friend; a good friend should leave you feeling uplifted, inspired and refreshed. Khoshaba reports on PsychologyinEverydayLife.net that a bad friend will criticize you and put you down, especially when you are feeling vulnerable. If you had a bad day, do you feel able to bring your concerns to your friend, or are you afraid she will blame you for your sadness? If so, she is not trustworthy and will not give you the encouragement you deserve.
2. Do You Feel Understood?
Do you truly want to spend time with your friend, or does he leave you feeling alone? Andrea Bonior, psychologist and professor and author of "The Friendship Fix," reports on PsychologyToday.com that a bad friend will cause you to feel self-conscious and acutely aware of your flaws. Instead of being unconditionally accepted, you will feel that you must try your best to show your friend you are measuring up to his standards.
3. Analyze Your Situation
You may feel as if you have outgrown your friend because she has failed to accompany you through all of life's unexpected twists and turns. Florence Falk, a New York City psychotherapist, reports on Oprah.com that when you gain a stronger sense of identity, you realize that what used to matter to you no longer does, and you can relinquish certain friendships. If your relationship with your friend no longer nurtures your truest self, you can have peace knowing it is not a good friendship. At that point, give yourself permission to move on with your life.
4. Quit Justifying Your Friend
If you are constantly justifying your friend's behaviors, you probably do not have a healthy friendship with him. Guilt, loyalty or history should not become reasons to hold onto a friendship that is no longer healthy, according to Khoshaba. You should not have to feel cruel for letting go of a friendship that makes you feel sad. In fact, if you feel the need to hold onto your relationship just to make your friend happy, then you are likely the victim of a bad friendship.