How to Know If You Have a Bad Friend

Happiness is contagious, but so is sadness

Nicole Akers

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Two women, friends, standing along ocean, watching waves roll
Photo by Sebastian Voortman from Pexels

A Harvard Medical Study of 5,000 people over 20 years shows that happy friends make us happier people, even up to three degrees of separation and for a whole year. Having happy friends increases your happiness by 15 percent, and maintaining unhappy friends decreases your happiness mojo by 7 percent.

Both Aristotle and Plato say having friends is the quality of living a good life. Plato devoted the better part of three books to friendship and love: the Lysis, Phaedrus, and Symposium. And Aristotle praises the Greek concept of “philia:” the fostering of friendship or brotherly love.

Friendship is fostered in mutual understanding and respect. People who have compatible likenesses, personalities, and trust with one another are likely to be good friends. Friends show up for each other in good times and in bad times. It brings to mind the popular good friend poem:

A Friend in need is a friend indeed.

When it counts, friends show up for each other, but sometimes friends go separate ways. Usually, this happens when a mutual activity two people enjoy ceases or when a friend fails to show up consistently or in significant ways. Sometimes life gets in the way, but mostly friends cease to be friends when there is a breakdown of trust in the relationship. A bad friend is the kind of person no one needs.

Friends are the family you choose to have because we all know that we can’t pick our family members. Wouldn’t it be great if we could? If your friends are weighing you down, it might be because they are bad friends. Bad friends reduce your happiness and overall well-being.

Based on Conditions

If your friend wants you to act a certain way or puts conditions on your relationship, they may be a bad friend. Sometimes people naturally drift apart, but if showing up as a friend becomes you do this to keep me as a friend, you have a bad friend. A good friend is unconditional. Think back to your high school years. You probably had at least one person who always wanted something based on conditions. I had one such friend who always wanted something. She put conditions on our friendship and before we…

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Nicole Akers

Teacher | Happy Mom of 2 brings amazing tips on parenting, learning, & lifestyle | 🐶 Mom | Bestselling Author | Founder of Publishous. Keep that smile.