6 Signs of a Controlling Friend

Identifying the signs of controlling friendships

Girls bullying another girl on park bench
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Not every friendship is a healthy friendship. In fact, some friends are not friends at all. Instead, your friend might be a bully masquerading as a friend especially if she is controlling and manipulating you. While this fact can be a hard to swallow, do not feel bad. A lot of friendships are comprised of fake friends, frenemies and mean girls. The important thing is that you know how to tell the difference.

Most so-called friends are controlling and master manipulators – the epitome of a bully. They are often very good at deceiving you into believing that you are friends. But instead, the friendship isn’t based on mutual respect. It is based on their power and control over you. As a result, it is important to identify the characteristics of a controlling friend early on so that you can move on. Here are the top six characteristics of friends that control and bully.

Your friend is demanding.

If your friend places unreasonable demands on you and expects you to put everything aside when she needs you, that is controlling. She also may demand that you spend all your time with her. Controlling friends even try to control what you wear, what classes you take and who you date. And she may even accuse you of not being a good friend when you don’t meet her demands. If you are not in control of your own decisions in the friendship, then this is an unhealthy friendship.

Your friend doesn’t respect you as a person.

If your friend makes fun of you, undermines your perceptions or engages in name-calling, take notice. This is not a healthy friendship. She also may try to tell you how you should feel rather than accepting your true feelings. Likewise, she may accuse you of being too sensitive, especially when she makes jokes at your expense.

And she may even accuse you of being selfish if you communicate what you want or need, especially if it doesn’t meet her agenda. This is not healthy. If you are not in control of your emotions and feelings and instead are being ridiculed for feeling the way you do, then this is an unhealthy friendship.

Your friend acts superior and entitled.

When a friend expects or demands special treatment that is a sign of controlling behavior. She also may use sarcasm when speaking with you and act as if she is always right, knows best and is smarter. Usually, controlling friends talk down to you or are condescending and rude. They may even tell you that your opinions are stupid or don’t make sense. In general, a controlling friend will communicate that you are inferior to her in some way. If this is happening in your friendship, it is unhealthy.

Your friend creates drama.

Sometimes controlling friends will start arguments for the sake of arguing. In other words, they simply like to take the opposite position. They also may display drastic mood changes or have sudden emotional outbursts. In general, controlling friends feed off of drama and will look to make a normal conflict or disagreement into a huge offense.

They also enjoy rumor spreading and gossiping. If it seems like your friend is always stirring up something, take notice. This is not a healthy behavior.

Your friend is manipulative.

Manipulative people use your compassion, values, fears or other hot buttons to control you or the situation. They also may manipulate and control you by making you feel guilty in order to get you to do what they want. And they have a tendency to exaggerate your flaws and to humiliate you in public. Remember, a good friend would never want you to be embarrassed. So if your friend regularly makes you feel uncomfortable, do not ignore this sign.

This is an unhealthy friendship.

Your friend isolates you.

A controlling friend attempts to control who your other friends are. They also want complete control over which friends you spend time with. They may even take your phone and read your texts and e-mails and listen to your voicemail messages. They also might criticize your other friends and family members. In general, they look for ways to manipulate you into spending all your time with them and get angry when you have other friends. They may even resort to peer pressure to get you to do what they want. If this is happening to you, you are in an unhealthy friendship.

If you find yourself in any of the situations mentioned, talk with a trusted adult like a parent, a counselor, a pastor or a teacher. Cutting ties with a controlling friend can be a little tricky and can open you up to more bullying. Be sure you let someone know about the challenges you are facing so that they can help you. It may be hard at first to break ties with a controlling friend, but with healthy boundaries and assertiveness, you can move on a find a friend that respects who you are.

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