1. You’re on call 24/7.
Your friend needs reassurance or your approval before handling every aspect of her life. This includes decisions like what pair of sneakers to buy, what time to hit the gym, how to respond to a certain text message or what soap to use on her dishes. You’re mildly or heavily berated or made to feel guilty if you don’t return a phone call, email or text within 30 minutes.
2. It’s always about her.
You could have just won a Nobel peace prize, ran a marathon or cured cancer and yet your friend always finds a way to bring the focus back to her. If you’ve had a bad day, it’s merely skimmed over while your friend complains to you about how she hates being single, that everyone she knows is married and having babies or that she doesn’t have enough money.
3. You’re made to feel guilty on a semi-regular basis.
Perhaps you decided to make plans with a different friend in addition to plans with her. Or maybe you decided to have an overnight with a significant other. It could be that you went on vacation without her. Such conduct is considered borderline betrayal in an unbalanced friendship. She may even give you a speech about how you need to be more considerate. How she always thought you’d “be there for her no matter what.”
4. You’re playing a maternal role.
Your friend comes to you when she needs to be babied. When she just wants someone to tell her everything will be ok. When she wants someone to help her plan her life. You’re slightly flattered and might love having someone that depends on you for so many things, but at the same time you feel burdened and slightly overwhelmed at times. Your nurturing side leads you to want to be there for your friend but a small corner of your mind feels you’re being taken advantage of.
5. You find yourself holding back on revealing the great things in your life because you know it will upset her.
She’s been in a not so great place for a while and you’re the one always digging her out. Eventually this withholding of the news of your successes and general well-being turns into you feeling stressed about filtering your words and thinking of ways to overcompensate for your friend’s unhappiness. You find yourself leaving out anecdotes about your significant other, your promotion at work or getting into a prestigious university program. You’re entirely sure that such news would only hurt the recipient instead of her being happy for you.
6. The benefits of the friendship have stopped outweighing the negatives.
You can’t remember the last time you looked forward to having plans with this person. When you see that this friend has called and left a voicemail, you find yourself stressed about calling back because it literally sucks the energy straight out of your body.
7. You start making up excuses to get out of plans with this person.
You convince yourself that you just need a breather to step back and appreciate your friendship again. You then realize that this friendship is eerily similar to the dread you had on going out on a date with someone that you needed to break up with.
8. You’ve received at least one “we need to talk” disguised as a lunch or last minute coffee meet up.
These talks involve you getting scolded for not being attentive, sensitive or available enough. You are mildly in shock during these lectures as you feel that you have gone out of your way to be all of these things and more. Your most enjoyable friendships have always been effortless, not involving fear, resentment and guilt.
9. You’re not appreciated.
No matter how much time you devote to your friend, it’s not appreciated and is never enough.
10. There’s unreciprocated crisis support.
You’re the first to show up when the shizz hits the fan for this friend. But when the situation is reversed, it takes a major effort for this friend to pull herself / himself together to come to your aid. If they do end up helping you out, it is never without strings.
11. You’ve been neglecting other friends, family and activities because you’re working overtime to appease your friend and his/her crisis du jour.
You honestly wouldn’t mind helping them except that you get absolutely nothing but grief in return or complaints about the way you helped or more that could have done.
12. You’re the safety net of every occasion.
This friend has the tendency to make immature, irresponsible choices and knows that you will be there to dig them out. You’re also the back-up plan when all of this friend’s first choices have fallen through.
13. There are other friends in the sea.
The things that used to bring you together seem a million miles away and the memories you cling to for explaining why you put up with your friend’s behavior seem less and less present or worthy of the energy suck and stress this friend brings on.