A bad friend kind of works like chicken pox: Practically everyone has had it at some point in their lives and they can itch like no one's business. (Is that analogy correct?) Fortunately, you have your friendly friends on the internet to tell you how to properly scope out a bad one before it's too late.
Reddit user, u/dragonXgal, wanted the best advice they could when they asked:
"I Know You Did This Impressive Thing, But Here's What I Did."
Being dismissive of all your interests and achievements. Meanwhile everything they do, no matter how mundane, is amazing
Ugh I had a friend like this. She literally blocked me on social media when I was doing well at my job because she "couldn't be happy for me" but then she sends me messages on a weekly basis about how great her very ordinary office job is.
Edit: there's nothing wrong with office jobs, she just acts like she's the first person to ever have one and expects people to be excited for her all the time
Just, Please, Do What I Ask
When you don't do things exactly, 100% as they want you to, they'll then ask why, in the tone of voice you'd expect from someone who had just been punched.
I learned the hard way that if situations like this happens to you regularly (especially if you are being singled out from a group of "friends"), you shouldn't bother with trying with this person. If they ever change, it won't be soon.
What's Your Startle Reflex?
When you see that you've got a PM or email from someone and you tense up thinking it's that friend, and are relieved to find that it's a stranger.
I remember a Peanuts comic that illustrated that feeling wonderfully: Snoopy had had an argument with his friend Woodstock and is resting on top of his dog house when he suddenly hears what he thinks is wings. When he realizes it's just a leaf and not Woodstock, he's very relived. Didn't understand it until a few years ago.
Friends that induce guilt by being overly nice when they should really be angry at you. If you did something wrong, a person you have a healthy friendship with should feel comfortable expressing why they are angry with you.
My friend/roommate was angry at me recently because I couldn't pay rent (rightfully so) and made it all about her by saying "I feel like I'm being a bad friend because I can't help you" and proceeded to cry.
She was crying because she was scared she would get evicted because I couldn't pay my portion, not because she felt bad. I much rather her be angry at me where anger is due rather than making me feel even more guilty by her tear-fest.
Do The Actions Match The Words
Friends that are only positive.
I had some friends who were always like "ahhh we love u" "LOVE you" and told me I was amazing, etc. yet they put no effort into actually talking to me or hanging out. I feel like friends shouldn't be too positive like this all the time, in order to help u grow
The Money Thing. HUGE Sign.
When they ask you for money repeatedly,
I thankfully have friends that's just will often offer to pay for me and only sometimes do I accept and soon after I will pay for them as a thank you.
Look For The Common Denominator
People that don't really have many friends. Not because they just don't socialize often, I'm like that, but because they always "fell out" with their previous friends.
They're the common denominator.
I didn't realize until it was far too late that my ex best friend couldn't take any criticism. Like, at all.
To make a long story short, he was about to do something that could have lost him his job and got him in a ton of legal trouble. I never realized how scared I was to tell him that I thought something he was doing was a bad idea until I had to power through begging him not to do what he was about to do. Hindsight is 20/20, and I realized that I was so scared because every time I even tentatively told him, "Hey man, I'm concerned for you. I don't think -insertBadIdeaHere- will be good for you.", or, "I don't think doing what you're about to do is very kind", he'd stop talking to me for at least a week, sometimes a month or more.
Then I realized that any argument we had over the course of our friendship, I would always have to be the one to reach back out. He never made an effort. Almost like I had to say "sorry", even if the argument was me telling him that it wasn't okay to kill puppies or something. As I said, last time he was going to do something really bad, and me telling him not to resulted in him not talking to me anymore. I thought it'd be good for me to not react so quickly and see if he'd value our friendship enough to think things through and call me back for once.
It's been almost a year. We were friends for 11 years. He didn't care as much as I did (or at least, he cared about his pride much more).
Keep An Eye For The Small, Subtle Signs
I don't know whether most people would ignore this, but I sure made the mistake of ignoring this.
I won third place in a short story contest held in my medical school. While walking to the stage of the auditorium to receive my award, I noticed almost every single person in my class was clapping except my "friend".
I Love You, You Big Fat Jerk
Saying the most hurtful sh-t under the pretense of love and care.
Try To Help Yourself First
Friends who need you to do the simplest of stuff for them, and when you've had enough and stand up to it, some of them put on a face that looks like we're-friends-you're-supposed-to-help-me-out-whenever-I-need-help face.
Like, try to first help yourself.
Make an effort.
Then I'll help you out. I'm not going to let you walk all over me just because of the fact that you're my friend. In fact if you do walk all over me, you can forget my friendship.
Not Enough Time In The Day
You see you got a private message from them and your gut reaction is to start getting nervous or anxious.
"What is it this time..."
"Oh, my crisis-friend is calling. I wonder what crisis she's having today."
A Last Minute Friend
They only talk to you when all of their other friends are gone
The Selfish Ones
Friends who are always happy to talk about themselves but never once ask you how you're doing or anything engaging you to talk about yourself.
You should let them know. Maybe they don't realize they're doing it and would change their behavior to be a better friend.
I was that friend once and I wish I had known before it was too late to fix it.
Spreading Like A Disease
Inability or unwillingness to apologize when he or she does something wrong. It's symptomatic of an ego issue that will eventually infect every aspect of your friendship.
You Can't Be Anyone Else's Friend But Mine
friends that don't let you have any other friends and require 100% of your time when they can't give you the same
It Doesn't Stop With You. It Goes Beyond You.
Friends who gossip excessively.
If they're talking about other people, chances are they're talking about you
A One-Way Friendship
My "best friend" in high school once specifically requested for me to post a picture of us for National Best Friend Day, or some similar holiday. I asked if she'd be posting a picture of us too.
"No, I have a lot of best friends. But I'm your main best friend so you should post a picture of us." Was her response.
The next couple years were full of back stabbing & gas lighting, complete with occasional fallings out until we finally stopped speaking. Looking back, I can't believe I didn't see it coming.
Friends Should Be Able To Say Anything
Continually feeling like you want to say something but should hold your tongue.
No Matter How Far Away, Always There
Always asking for favours but never there when you need them to return one.
I had back surgery in 08 and I didn't see hide nor hair of any of my rl friends, but an older lady I had met on the Sims 2 message board sent flowers, called me every day and bought me a subscription to an online game site so I'd have something to do while I recovered. She was in Seattle and I'm in Ohio. Eventually she moved to Florida and we drove down so I could meet her. We remained friends until she passed a couple of years ago. I miss her so much.