No one is perfect, and that includes our friends.
Friends are usually there for us when we need them, but sometimes they let us down.
It can be hard to deal with, especially if we rely on our friends to help us through tough times.
But there are plenty of solutions that can bring us closer to our loved ones in the long run.
Let’s discuss nine common ways a friend can let you down and what you can do about it.
Why Do Friends Let You Down?
When people let you down, it can be hard to understand why.
We might think that we did something to deserve it or that we are not good enough.
However, the truth is that people let us down because they are human. Just as we make mistakes, our friends do too.
There are many reasons why friends might let us down. Here are some common ones:
- They are going through a tough time themselves and can’t be there for you.
- You don’t see each other as often as you used to and have grown apart.
- They are busy with work, school, or other commitments.
- They have different interests than you and don’t understand what you’re going through.
- They have been feeling let down and are taking it out on you.
- They have low self-esteem or anxiety, making it hard for them to show up to their commitments.
9 Common Ways a Friend Can Let You Down
The first step towards feeling better about being let down is to become aware of when it’s happening.
A one-sided friendship hurts, but it’s not always easy to spot when it’s happening to you.
Here is a list of ways a friend can let you down:
1. They Flake On Plans
One of the most common ways a friend can let you down is by flaking on plans.
It can be anything from canceling at the last minute to not showing up at all. When this happens, it can leave us feeling disappointed and abandoned.
2. They Gossip About You
Gossiping is a form of betrayal. It’s when our friends share private information or spread rumors about us behind our backs. Gossiping can damage our reputation and make us feel like we can’t trust our friends.
It can happen subtly, such as a friend sharing an intimate secret or judging you publicly for your actions.
It can also be overt, such as spreading rumors about you or revealing something you confidently told them.
Gossiping is hurtful because it shows that our friends don’t respect us or our privacy. It can also make us feel like we aren’t being respected, damaging our self-esteem.
3. They Ignore Your Feelings
Ignoring our feelings is another way friends can let us down. When we confide in them about something, they brush it off or change the subject. It can also happen when they dismiss our feelings as unimportant or invalid.
It can look like someone ignoring your feelings or even manifest as gaslighting when someone tries to make you question your reality or sanity.
It’s incredibly hurtful and confusing, leaving us feeling invalidated and alone.
4. They Are Competitive With You
A healthy friendship is built on mutual respect and support.
However, some friends can be competitive with us by constantly trying to one-up us or put us down. It can also look like they are trying to make us feel inferior to them somehow.
This behavior can be hurtful because it makes us feel like we are not good enough. It can also damage our self-esteem and make us question our worth as a friend.
5. They Take Advantage of You
Friends should make us feel good, not bad. However, some friends can take advantage of us.
Perhaps they are always asking for favors but never returning the favor. They may also use you for your money or resources.
When we are being taken advantage of, it can leave us feeling used and manipulated, violating our boundaries. We may also feel like our friendship is one-sided and that we are not getting anything out of it.
6. They Lie to You
Trust is based on the assumption that our friends will be honest with us.
However, some friends may lie to us instead – from small white lies to bigger lies that hurt us.
Lies can damage our trust in our friends and make us feel like we can’t rely on them.
We may also feel betrayed, hurt, and confused by their actions. You may notice that your friend’s statements don’t align with their actions suggesting they may be lying to you.
7. They Are Inconsistent
Inconsistency is another way friends can let us down. This can look like them being hot and cold with their behavior or their emotions. It can also manifest as them constantly changing their plans or commitments.
This type of behavior can be confusing and frustrating, leaving us feeling like we can’t rely on our friends. We may also feel like we are walking on eggshells, not knowing what to expect from them.
8. They Are Neglectful
Neglect is another form of betrayal. It’s when our friends neglect our needs or fail to support us. They just aren’t there for us when we need them.
They may not return our calls or texts or cancel plans with us at the last minute.
When we are neglected, it seems our friend doesn’t care about us. It hurts and makes us question our worth as a friend. We may also start to feel isolated and alone.
9. They Are Abusive
Abuse is the most extreme form of betrayal. It’s when our friends hurt us physically, emotionally, or mentally. This can look like them hitting us, calling us names, or making us feel scared. It can also manifest as them gaslighting us or manipulating us.
Abuse is extremely harmful and can leave us feeling scared, alone, and worthless. These relationships are not sustainable and are not worth our time or energy.
What to Do When Friends Let You Down: 7 Helpful Actions You Can Take
How do you respond to someone who has let you down? It depends on the situation and your relationship with the person.
Here are seven helpful actions you can take that may help the situation:
1. Talk to Your Friend About What Happened
If you feel comfortable, have a conversation with your friend about what happened. It can be a difficult conversation, but it can help to clear the air and resolve the issue.
Make sure to communicate calmly and respectfully.
You may want to say something like, “I felt hurt when you canceled our plans. I understand that things come up, but I need you to be more considerate of my feelings.”
Your friend may not have realized they were hurting you. You can help them understand your perspective and resolve the issue by talking to them.
2. Set Boundaries With Your Friend
Setting boundaries is essential if you feel like your friend is taking advantage of you. It will help to protect you from being used and manipulated.
You may want to say something like, “I’m happy to help you out, but I need you to return the favor sometimes.”
Or, “I’m not going to tolerate being treated like this. I deserve to be respected.”
Boundaries are essential in any relationship. They help to ensure that both parties are getting their needs met. So take some time to figure out what boundaries you need to set with your friend.
3. Take a Break From the Relationship
If you need some time to yourself, that’s OK. Sometimes it’s necessary to take a break from a friend, especially if they’ve hurt you deeply. This break will give you time to heal and assess the situation.
You may want to say, “I’m going to take some time for myself. I’ll talk to you later.” You can also consider saying nothing at all if your friend has been neglectful or you don’t talk to them regularly.
It’s OK to take some time apart from your friend. This break will allow you to figure out what you want and need from the relationship. Just decide on a time to come back together and revisit the relationship.
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4. Find a New Friend
It may be time to find a new friend if you don’t feel like you can trust your friend or don’t see the relationship going anywhere.
It doesn’t mean you must completely cut off ties with your old friend. But it does mean you won’t have as much time or energy for them.
There are plenty of people in the world who would love to be your friend. So don’t be afraid to reach out and find someone new. You’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel.
5. Don’t Let Your Friend Off the Hook
If your friend has done something to hurt you, don’t let them off the hook.
They need to be held accountable for their actions. It doesn’t mean you should hold a grudge against them or try to get revenge. But it does mean that you should clarify that what they did was not OK.
You may want to say, “I’m not going to tolerate being treated like this. I deserve to be respected.”
By holding your friend accountable, you’re helping to ensure that they won’t repeat their mistakes in the future.
You may have difficulty holding your friends accountable if you’re a people pleaser. But it’s important to do what’s best for you, even if it makes them uncomfortable.
6. Forgive Your Friend
If your friend has apologized and you’re ready to move on, forgive them. You don’t have to forget what happened. But it does mean that you’re willing to let go of the anger and hurt you’re feeling.
Forgiving someone can be difficult, but it’s often necessary to move forward. So if you’re ready, let go of the grudge and give your friend another chance. You’ll be surprised by how much better you’ll feel.
7. Change Your Expectations
If you’re always disappointed by your friend, it may be time to change your expectations. It doesn’t mean that you should lower your standards.
But it does mean that you must be realistic about what your friend can and cannot do.
Don’t expect your friend to be perfect. Everyone makes mistakes and has flaws. So accept them for who they are and don’t try to change them.
By changing your expectations, you’ll be able to see your friend in a new light. And you may even find that you appreciate them more.
When you’re feeling disappointed in friends for not showing up during tough times, it’s important to remember that everyone copes with difficult situations differently.
Just because they don’t show up the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t care about you.
If you’re struggling to deal with a friend who let you down, try one of the tips above. And remember, it’s OK to take some time for yourself. You deserve respect and kindness.
So don’t settle for anything less!