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a frenemy

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It’s hard to believe that a friend would ever try to interfere with your wellbeing—she’s a friend. That’s the opposite of what a friend should do. But the truth is that human nature—our intentions, traumas, and motivations—is complicated. Any time someone takes an interest in you and tries to get close to you, there could be a lot at play. Perhaps you are just like this person, and they love that. You’re two peas in a pod. Or, maybe you’re the opposite of this person, and she’d like to be more like you. Or, maybe she’d like to make you more like her. You can quickly see how that latter scenario is either definitely good or definitely bad. Why do people try to change others? The reasons are endless. Their own insecurities. Their own twisted delusions of acquiring power. You never quite know why someone would do it, but here are signs that a friend is trying to keep you down.

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When you’re negative, she agrees

You seem to get along the most when you are in a negative place. When you have bad things to say about the world, she’s right by your side, nodding enthusiastically. In fact, she tends to say the words “You get it” or “You get me” only when you’re commiserating about how awful things are.

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When you’re positive, she picks away at it

When you are feeling particularly positive about something, she picks at it. Maybe you’re apartment hunting, and find a place you love. But she just points out the problems with the place. She’s negative about the things you’re excited about, all under the guise of, “Just looking out for you.”

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She finds issue with every guy you date

She’s never liked anyone you date. You’ll introduce her to a guy, and afterwards she’ll say, “He’s nice, but….” And you can always count on that “But” coming.

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She finds issue with your other friends

She also has something critical to say about each of your other friends. She finds a way to spin their positive traits into negative ones. Like your friend who is peppy and fun—she says she seems a little “out of it.”

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Especially the positive, encouraging ones

She’s especially critical of your friends who are the most encouraging to you. If she hears of a positive suggestion another friend has made for you (like apply for this job or date that guy) she instantly has something bad to say about that idea.

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She makes you doubt your qualifications

When you want to go after an opportunity, this friend is the first one to list the reasons why you might not be right for it. She never lists the reasons you would be great for something. Again, she says she’s just looking out for you and doesn’t want you to get rejected.

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She applauds it when you give up

If you give up on something, she’s by your side, “comforting” you, telling you, “It was for the best.” She’s most encouraging of you quitting.

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She’s not there for your victories

She’s suspiciously MIA for your victories. Like when you do get that opportunity, and you want to celebrate it. She can never make it to the celebratory dinner.

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In fact, she conveniently has a crisis

In fact, if you think about it, she somehow always manages to have something terrible going on when you’re celebrating. She has a way of making you feel bad for celebrating your victory, because she’s in the middle of some crisis.

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Most of her stories are pessimistic

Most of her stories about anything—work, shopping, running errands, family—are negative. They paint people in a bad light. They find the fault in others. Her stories are not uplifting.

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She brings you down in front of others

She does so in a teasing tone, but ultimately, she finds a way to bring up your flaws in front of others. Whether it’s in front of a potential client or romantic interest of yours, she’ll find a way to tell a “funny” story about something embarrassing you did.

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She encourages you to drink too much

She’s the first one to encourage you to have that next drink. She still pressures you to drink, when you say you don’t want to anymore, almost like you’re still in college. She’ll even encourage you to drink the night before important events and opportunities in your life.

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And to spend too much

She also encourages you to spend too much. She’s not the friend to talk you out of an impulse purchase—she’s the one egging it on. Even after you’ve said you really cannot afford it.

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And to flake on responsibilities

She wants you to flake on your responsibilities. She tells you to skip that meeting, to skip out on work, or to flake on that friend’s baby shower so you two can hang out.

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She only brings up concerns

Whatever the topic, she only brings up things that could go wrong. If you pay attention, you notice that anything you’re excited about or considering pursuing, she just pulls at the threads of it and makes you worry about the problems that might come up.

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