1. Do I feel physically and/or emotionally drained after spending time together?
We all have different natural energy levels, and that includes how long we can spend with people (even the people we love!). But if time after time you find yourself feeling fatigued after being with a certain friend, that probably means they’re a negative force in your life.
2. Do they encourage my goals or belittle them?
Having people in your corner who respect you enough to be honest about how realistic your goals are (because let’s be real, we can all get carried away sometimes) is absolutely important. But there’s a HUGE difference in someone trying to ground you every now and then, and someone who consistently makes you feel foolish for wanting certain things. Friends should lift you up, not drag you down.
3. How do I feel about myself when I’m around them?
Are their “jokes” funny or just mean? Do you find yourself feeling crummy about yourself when you’re in their presence? Life is full of negative forces that are going to convince you to not feel good about yourself. Friends shouldn’t fall into that category.
4. Is it an equal relationship?
Do you generally both give 50/50? My mom always said, “When something is one-sided, it’s not much of a relationship at all.” If you’re hanging out with a chronic-taker, it’s time to reevaluate what you’re really getting out of it.
5. What makes up the core of this friendship?
Would you say it’s love, compassion, and/or shared interests? Or was it born out of negativity, bonding over bashing people, unnecessary gossip, etc.?
6. Do I feel I have to keep things from them?
Hey, we’ve all got our ~*~*secrets~*~*, but usually friends are the people you feel more comfortable opening up to. And if you (for whatever reason) don’t feel like you can, that’s a red flag.
7. If something awesome happened in my life, would I be excited or nervous to tell them?
Usually we can’t wait to run to our friends with awesome-mind-blowing news, so if instead, you feel nervous to tell them that amazing thing that just happened, it might mean you know they won’t share your excitement. And honestly? That’s just a sucky feeling.
8. Do they respect what I ask for?
Just like in romantic relationships, respect is a fundamental building block of platonic relationships. If something is making you uncomfortable and you tell them that, do they listen? Or do they tend to disregard how you feel?
9. Does it feel like we are always in competition?
A level of competition is often natural among friends, even healthy. But when it’s never-ending, that’s a problem.
10. Do they often undermine what I’m saying?
This one really goes back to how much they respect you. Do they try to invalidate your feelings? Are they willing to listen, or do they just shut you down?
11. When I imagine my life 10 years from now, do I see them in it?
We lose touch with people. It happens. It’s not something you can always avoid. But when you sit down and picture the people you want to be surrounded with in the far (or near) future, do they have a space? Or does it feel like you could drift apart, and you wouldn’t really grieve the loss?
12. When I tell them my problems, does it make me feel relieved or more stressed?
Do you walk away from conversations feeling better or worse? Sometimes there’s nothing better than venting to a pal, but if the pal heavily judges you for what you’re saying, that’s not going to help any situation.
13. Do I trust them?
Because point blank, what’s a relationship without trust?
14. Do they want the best for me?
In the end, that’s all that matters. And if the answer is no, that’s probably not someone you want hanging around.