Friendship: 15 Real Disadvantages and Drawbacks to Consider

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Lifevif Team and JC Franco

girlfriends arguing in cafe

It’s easy to think that having friends is always a good thing. We watch movies about big social scenes; society brainwashes us into thinking that having friends is normal and not having friends is indicative of something wrong, and we generally feel left out when we don’t have friends. So, that must mean that having friends is great and not having friends is bad, right? Wrong! 

I am going to share with you several of the disadvantages and drawbacks of friendship that will have you rethinking just how good/great friendship really is. Unfortunately, it is a harsh reality the friendships can be just as toxic as they can be rewarding. It’s all about making the right friendships, setting boundaries, and not letting friendships detract from your intended life path. It sounds complicated, because it is! 

Below are 15 of the downsides to having friends and putting friendships first in your life. If you feel that you are already experiencing these negatives, perhaps it is time to rethink your existing friendships. Let’s jump right in…

The drawbacks of friendships – 15 reasons why friendships are not always good!

1. It takes up a lot of your personal time.

When you have friends, there’s a lot less time for you. Want to spend a quiet night in with a good book and face mask on? Chances are that there will always be something planned and “on the cards” for you to do with your friends instead. People who have only a few friends have more time to take care of themselves and do things that they want to do.

2. There’s potential for negative judgment.

People tend to want to fit in with their peers in a friend circle. When we do something that the group doesn’t like, there’s negative judgment involved, which can leave us feeling depressed, outcast, alone, and disliked. It’s important to realize that every friendship opens up the potential for very personal judgment of who you are, what your interests are, what your values are, and of course, what you do with your time.

3. Friendship can lead to jealousy and competitiveness.

This is really a two-way street. In a friendship, you could become jealous of your friend’s looks, success, relationships, and more. This could also work in reverse where your friend becomes jealous or competitive towards you. Either way, this is not a comfortable thing to experience, and it can leave you feeling depressed, awkward, less-than, and alone.

4. Unnecessary drama can be brought into your life.

Unfortunately, friendships are very rarely smooth sailing. Often there’s an upset, a fight, or an altercation to deal with. It could be between you and your friend, or you might find yourself being dragged into a drama that exists in your friend’s life. It can be exhausting and emotionally draining.

5. You’re obligated to care and worry about another person’s feelings.

Friendships can be downright frustrating when you always have to worry about how the other person is going to feel. You have to make sure that you don’t date the person your friend likes, don’t upset them by buying the same outfit, don’t talk to people they deem unworthy, go to places they like instead of places you like – the list could be exhaustive. If you don’t like always considering someone else’s feelings, perhaps having friends is not for you.

6. The wrong friendships can be a bad influence and ruin your life.

Friendship can really derail you, if you make friends with someone who is a bad influence. If you are the type of person that is career and study focused, the wrong type of friend could get you involved in excessive drinking, drug-taking, work and class skipping, and other potentially damaging behaviors that eventually rob you of the life that you initially had in mind for yourself. Some friendships could be so distracting and such a bad influence that can potentially ruin your entire life.

bad influence

7. Friendship can hurt your reputation and image.

We all like to protect our image and reputation, but when you team up with other people in a friendship, you can’t really do that. There’s a saying that goes “you are the company you keep”, and unfortunately if your friend starts to behave badly or has a bad reputation, that is going to rub off on your image and reputation. Many people will judge you according to who you choose to spend your time with. 

8. You have to give as much as you take.

If you are self-centered, friendship could become tiresome. It’s human nature to want to take…unfortunately. If you have to give back to someone all the time, it could become quite annoying. This doesn’t affect everyone, but it does some. 

9. Losing a friend can cause depression/trauma.

When you have a friendship, you immediately put yourself at risk of losing that friendship and having to deal with the subsequent trauma. Friendships very rarely follow a specific pattern, which means that it could end at any time. You might have a fallout or something could happen to your friend…and then what? You are left alone and depressed – and without a friend.

10. You start depending on other people instead of yourself.

For many people, depending on other people is hard. We learn to stand on our own two feet and depend on ourselves. When you form a friendship, you start to relinquish some of that control and find ways to allow yourself to depend on someone else for both physical and emotional support. When this happens, you make yourself vulnerable to being hurt or being completely let down.

11. Friendships cost money.

When you have friendships at play, you can expect to be spending money. No, you won’t have to pay your friends’ expenses, but you are going to have to go on outings and participate in activities that will cost money. Going to restaurants and bars, movies, activities – all of this costs money. Much the same, birthday celebrations, big life events… money, money, money! It’s quite simply unavoidable.

12. You could lose yourself while trying to fit in with friends.

Friendships bring a level of peer pressure into life. As humans, most of us have a desire to belong, and so we do what we can to fit in with groups of people we see as our social peers. In a friendship, you might find yourself dressing in a way that isn’t entirely you. You might also listen to music that isn’t your first choice, treat people differently to the way you would like to, and so on. Many people lose themselves in a friendship – will this happen to you? It could!

13. Friendships can be toxic; leading to life dissatisfaction. 

It’s absolutely possible that you could get yourself involved in a toxic friendship. You know, that friend that always brings you down and seems to suck the life out of you yet somehow you keep ending up hanging out? That’s not good for you. Chances are that you will eventually feel dissatisfied with your life, and that’s no way to live. Some friendships can be toxic, indeed!

14. You could be distracted from your studies/career.

friends enjoying night party

Friendships can lead you to neglect what’s important in your life, such as your career or studies. It’s more fun to spend time with friends than studying or putting in extra hours for a promotion…so you choose friendship. At the end, when the friendships are forgotten and you have all moved into the next phase of life, you might realize just how silly all the distractions were.

15. Friendships can steal from your self-care and development time.

Ever felt like you wish you had time to work on yourself, but there’s just never any time? Chances are that you squander all of your free time away on friends. And in the end, it is you that suffers. You might not look and feel like your best self, and you might never get to do and see all the things you wanted to, simply because you are spending all your free time on friendships. Be wary of this!

All things considered

Reading through these points doesn’t make friendship sound like rainbows and butterflies, does it? Yes, friendships can be very rewarding and positive elements in your life, but it is important not to lose sight of all the things you find personally important just for a few fleeting moments of fun and distraction. Learning to keep your friendships healthy and balancing your time well can help you to avoid the possible disadvantages of having friends. 

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who share their experiences and knowledge about the "Seven F's of Life".

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco is a New York-based editor for Lifevif. He mainly focuses on content about faith, spirituality, personal growth, finance, and sports. He graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, majoring in Marketing. He is a certified tennis instructor who teaches in the New York City Metropolitan area. In terms of finance, he has passed the Level I exam of the CFA program.