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12 Signs That Your Friend Is Not Really Your Friend, According To A Counselor

Navigating friendships as an adult is, honestly, quite challenging. Sometimes, people even feel that ending a friendship is actually harder than ending a romantic relationship.

Maybe you and your childhood best friend have just grown apart, but it's hard to come to terms with that. Or maybe one of your adult friendships isn't serving you anymore, but pinpointing why is tricky. These are very relatable situations that I've found myself in before, too.

Luckily, there are experts like Ja'Nisha Robinson, MS, LPC, a licensed counselor and life coach who recently shared a viral thread about subtle signs that your friend isn't really your friend.

a solo picture of Ja'Nisha Robinson
Ja'Nisha Robinson

Viewed over 4 million times, Ja'Nisha pointed out many hard truths about friendships in her thread. She explained and elaborated on everything from friends who use you as a placeholder...

a tweet from the counselor
Ja'Nisha Robinson / Via Twitter: @ATMwithJacy

...to friends who don't celebrate or congratulate you.

a tweet from the counselor
Ja'Nisha Robinson / Via Twitter: @ATMwithJacy

Or those who criticize and embarrass you in front of others.

a tweet from the counselor
Ja'Nisha Robinson / Via Twitter: @ATMwithJacy

Ja'Nisha was inspired to share this thread based on her experience with reevaluating some of her friendships. "Before 2023 came to an end, I reconciled friendships with some of my closest friends. I salvaged the relationships that were worth saving," she told BuzzFeed.

a tweet from the counselor
Ja'Nisha Robinson / Via Twitter: @ATMwithJacy

"Being that my theme for this year is intentionality, it prompted me to assess friendships I’ve had the opportunity to experience throughout my life. Sometimes people don’t know that the people they love and support, the people they recognize as friends, are either just using them or don’t see them as such," Ja'Nisha added.

"People don’t deserve to be blindly taken advantage of. I just allowed my reflective thoughts on this to flow, and the thread was born," she said.

If you're questioning some of the friendships in your life and aren't sure how to go about it, Ja'Nisha said communication is key. "Even having friendships with only one or two of these traits can be an unbalanced relationship. However, assertive communication is key. If you value your friendship and you want it to continue, communicate," she told BuzzFeed.

two friends holding hands talking
Kitzcorner / Getty Images/iStockphoto

"Tell people when they’re doing things that are harming you. Tell people how they’re making you feel. People who love you and care about you, people who you choose to be your support system, should have your best interest at heart," Ja'Nisha added.

two friends getting coffee talking

"Communicating with someone gives you more clarity instead of more opportunities to make assumptions that others are doing things on purpose. Sometimes, people aren’t aware that the person they’re showing up as is not who they see in the mirror," she explained.

Justin Lambert / Getty Images

It's important to remember that it's normal to have people come in and out of your life as well as having friends for different reasons.

"I've learned throughout my almost three decades of life that there are different friends for different reasons and seasons in your life. I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s a kind of friendship one should be seeking, however, making sure the relationship is reciprocal and healthy is crucial to identifying lasting relationships," she added.

two hands holding one another
Kobus Louw / Getty Images

"We go through different seasons, and sometimes people are only in our lives for a short period of time, and that’s okay. In every interaction we have, we experience people, and those people can teach us something about us," Ja'Nisha said.

"For example, they can teach us our likes, and dislikes, how to set boundaries, how to stand up for yourself, a new hobby you enjoy — the possibilities are endless," she explained.

three friends laughing together
Justin Lambert / Getty Images

The reason why some people think ending a friendship is more difficult than ending a romantic relationship is for a specific reason, according to Ja'Nisha. "In my opinion, I think a mindset of believing friends are forever has influenced this. When we make a friend, we tend to keep them for years, and I don’t think many believe these relationships will actually end one day," she told BuzzFeed.

"In relationships, we are taught that they will begin and end until we find our 'person.' Friends begin as our person, and sometimes nothing has to happen for them to not be our person anymore — it’s just life circumstances like moving away, outgrowing each other, etc. When there’s not a clear reason as to why the relationship is no longer how it used to be, it’s harder to accept and understand," Ja'Nisha added.

friends hanging out together
Maskot / Getty Images/Maskot

As with any relationship in your life, "The one thing to make sure is that the relationships [you do hold on to] are healthy and equally beneficial on both ends," added Ja'Nisha.

What made you realize someone wasn't really your friend?