6 Types of Friendships That Are Bad for Emotional Health

Apr 19

Written By

The Daily Guru Team

The 6 Types of Friendships that can be Bad for your Health!

Emotional manipulation, guilt-tripping or constant criticism are key signs to look out for when working out if a relationship is toxic.

Unhealthy relationships can also cycle through destructive patterns. One common scenario is where there is no giving back or no gratitude from the other person. You may have a friend or family member who seems like they are always in crisis. You give, give, give and help as much as you can…. Then one day the shoe is on the other foot and they are missing in action. You suddenly realise this friendship is a one-way street.


Having solid adult friendships in our lives is important for two main reasons…

  • Firstly, they make life more enjoyable. We get to share the beautiful aspects of life with people who we love, which can enrich our everyday experiences.
  • Secondly, our friends help us through the difficult times. Having friends to support us through hard times can make unimaginably difficult situations seem more tolerable.

The most beautiful part about pouring our time and energy into friendships is that not only do friends help enrich our lives, but we enrich theirs too! Friendships get us through the tough times in life, make things more fun and enjoyable, and all-around make our lives better. Which is why we urge you to take stock of your friendships and ask yourself if your current friends build you up and support you, or is the friendship more one-sided?

While it may seem glaringly obvious that we need trustworthy and reliable friends in order to thrive, here are six common types of friendships that can undermine our efforts to enjoy our connections and can negatively impact your emotional well-being:

Types of Friendships

The 5 Types of Friendships that can be Bad for your Health!


Friendships go through ups and downs, as any relationship does in life. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we feel a certain tension or friction in a friendship. That is normal, and through time and solid communication you can often work through those uncomfortable periods.

But that’s different from these types of friendship that consistently leaves you in a negative state. If you regularly hang out with a friend or group of friends and notice you do not feel energized either in their presence or once you leave them, that is a sign you may need to examine the friendship and your role in the dynamic.


We have all had these friends, and maybe you have even been that person sometimes. It’s natural to suggest to someone you like, “Hey, let’s catch up soon!” But the slippery friend is tough to pin down for an actual date. You may have a plan for the weekend  night, but as the weekend draws near they cancel on you because something more interesting came up.

If you make a plan with someone and they repeatedly cancel at the last minute or make no effort to reschedule, that may be revealing about the nature and quality of the friendship.


These types of friendships shows up because they want something from you. While many Users are motivated by status, they could be using your friendship for any number of reasons.

While this may be a tricky situation, Andrea Dindinger, licensed marriage and family therapist, says you should address this problem head-on. She recommends saying:

“Hey, I feel uncomfortable bringing this up, but I’m noticing a pattern that has me feeling out of balance in our friendship. I love having you over for dinner, getting the drinks or grabbing the Uber, but lately I am feeling it’s not reciprocal. I care about you and our friendship and I don’t want to have this dynamic running in the background.”

If your friend doesn’t change their behavior, this could become unbalanced.  One thing to always remember is that a relationship is about being mutually beneficial. If the relationship is not mutually beneficial, then these types of friendships are not healthy.


Some friends may be good day-to-day buddies, some are terrific in a crisis, and some you don’t see often because of time or distance but know you can count on them to show up for you if and when you need them. Unfortunately, we don’t often know in which camp our friends belong until that moment arises.

It can be hurtful when you reach out to someone expecting them to respond and they are silent. It doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t be a good friend, but it may mean you need to either have a talk with them or consider reevaluating to what extent you can rely on them.


As inherently social beings, we can’t help but be influenced by those around us. So if you surround yourself with the company of people with positive outlooks, you may be more likely to regard yourself positively.

The same holds true of the opposite. If you are spending your time and energy with people who don’t like themselves—or, just as bad, who don’t like other people—you may tend to like yourself less. If you are frequently around someone who talks negatively about others, leaving you feeling less happy with yourself, you may be caught up in a self-loathing friendship loop.



While you don’t want your friendships to constantly kill your life buzz and shoot down your ideas, you also need people in your life who are going to tell you the truth as they see it.

As long as the feedback is kind, sensitive, and truly in your best interest, you can still come away feeling good about your decisions or the options ahead of you. If you sense that your friend would not meet you with nothing-but-the-truth sincerity, it’s good to ask yourself what role that friendship is playing in your life, and adjust how much sway that person’s feedback has on you accordingly.

Healthy friendship seems like a simple transaction, but the reality can be complicated, especially as we grow and our emotional needs change over the course of our lives. There will be times when we cannot be the best friends we could or should have been to those we care about. But it is important to keep in mind what is most important about friendships, especially if you are feeling like the “friend” area of your life is lacking. Friends should be reliable, trusting, caring, and honest.


And when you do click with a good friend, remember the wise words of Charles R Swindell:

“I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let’s face it, friends make life a lot more fun”.


Knowing For Sure if the Friendship is Negative

How can you tell if a friendship is becoming toxic? The best way to decide whether a friendship might not be healthy is to be honest with yourself about how you feel when you’re with that person. Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you feel energized and full of good ideas after being with your friend?
  • What does your future look like without this person in it?
  • Are you your best self with your friend — your kindest, happiest and healthiest?
  • What advice would you give to a good friend who was going through a similar situation?

While answering these questions is a good start, deciding whether or not a relationship is good for you isn’t simple or easy. Sometimes we need professional help to deal with the effects of potentially ending a relationship. If answering these questions convinces you that your friend is a bad influence, consider talking to a therapist to decide what you should do next.






6 Types of Friendships

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The 6 Types of Friendships that can be Bad for your Health! Emotional manipulation, guilt-tripping or constant criticism are key signs to look out for when working out if a relationship is toxic. Unhealthy relationships can also cycle through destructive patterns. One common scenario is where there is no giving back or no gratitude from […]

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I'm Rebecca Sparks - Founder of The Daily Guru. I'm also a Self Development Coach,
a Speaker and a Podcaster. 

What drives me most in life is a fascination & curiosity with how we can make the most of our short time here on this planet.  How do we make our lives feel meaningful? How can we make life feel fulfilling?  And how can we turn these elements into a lifestyle? 

My mission is to help women explore these topics and to design a life that taps into all of their essentials.

more about me

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