If you have a friend who others close to you suspect is a bad influence, chances are she’s a bad friend to boot. Justin Bieber seems like he’s learning all of this the hard way. His pal Lil Twist reportedly not only crashed a bunch of his cars, but also threw a huge party at his mansion while he was on tour overseas–complete with people smoking weed, drinking and probably worse (remember that sizzurp scandal?). All of this is stuff that could have gotten Justin in serious trouble if anything went awry . . . so why does he still hang out with this jerk?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell when someone is a bad friend–even if everyone’s telling you she is, there’s always a chance that your other friends are just jealous of the time you’re spending with a new crew. It happens. And you’re smart and have a mind of your own. But that doesn’t mean you’re not falling victim to a bad friends and a bad influence, because they’re usually pretty sneaky about it. Here’s how to tell if you’re dealing with a genuine jerk or just jealousy from outsiders.
Does your pal mooch off of you?
Borrowing cash when she forgets her wallet on a latte run is a lot different from mooching. Does she always want to go expensive places and somehow always forget cash . . . and then always forgets to pay you back? Just like Lil Twist is always borrowing Bieber’s cars, this girl probably doesn’t have her own life together, so she’s leeching off of yours. She’s not just bad with money, she’s probably also a bad friend.
Does your friend disrespect your property?
If your BFF borrows a shirt and accidentally spills soda on it–dude, stuff happens. But if stuff happens all the time, you need to reassess how much she respects your things, because it’s a reflection of how much she respects you. Is your car a mess whenever you drop her off somewhere? (Or, in the case of Biebs and Twist, does she crash everything you lend her?!) Does she leave trash out when she comes to your house? Does she put her feet up on your mom’s favorite coffee table? The way someone treats your stuff is representative of how they treat you. If your DVDs are always scratched, your hoodies always dirty or your jeans always with an extra hole when she returns them, you may want to reconsider giving her anything–especially any of your time.
Does your friend encourage you to behave badly on the reg?
No one wants a stick in the mud, and let’s be real: Someone judging you constantly is a bad friend in itself. But if someone keeps enabling and encouraging you to do stuff that you know you shouldn’t, she’s a bad influence and definitely a bad friend. If your BFF keeps trying to get you to get drunk on weekends when you’re underage, wants you to cut class with her to go to Dunkin Donuts all the time or, like Lil Twist and Justin Bieber, gives you any other illegal substance that could get you in serious trouble? She’s not a good friend. Only a bad friend would pressure you into something risky and dangerous, because a good friend wants to see you shine. And you can’t really shine if you’re in detention, drunk driving and hurt, or in juvey.
Is your friend rude to your other pals?
Sometimes a bad influence knows they’re a bad influence–and they know that others are on to them. As a result, they’ll try to isolate you from anyone who may point out that they’re being a bad friend to you. If your friend talks smack about your other pals to you, starts drama with them constantly or deliberately excludes them from stuff, she’s probably a bad friend. Obviously, not all of your friends will get along with every single one of your other pals–that’s life, and some people just don’t click well. But if your friend doesn’t click with anybody, there’s probably a reason for that: It’s not them, it’s her.
Does she smother you or make you feel guilty for hanging out with other people?
In keeping with the isolation message from before, if you can’t hang with her one night because you have other stuff to do, does she flip out? Does she tell you how lonely she is and point out that she has no other friends to hang out with? A bad friend doesn’t want you to have a life outside of her because she’s scared you’ll realize she’s a bad influence and you’ll move on with your life without her. A bad friend wants to hold you back so you won’t outgrow her, whereas a good friend wants you to be the best you can be–and understands that sometimes that means not being with her every two seconds.
Does your friend cop your style all the time?
Or, as Justin Bieber would probably put it, “jack your swag?” (We just rolled our eyes so hard, but whatever.) If your pal copies you constantly, it’s not good for either of you. Obviously, most friends have stuff in common–but if she deliberately goes after things that she knows you want–whether it’s that skirt you were saving up for or applying for the same summer job you’re dying to get–she’s a bad friend. And chances are she’s also really insecure, otherwise she’d have her own life. It may seem flattering at first that she thinks so highly of you . . . but trust us, it gets old really fast.
Have you ever had a bad friend who everyone warned you about? Did you ever have to learn your lesson about a bad influence the hard way? Have you ever had to break up with a bad friend? Tell us in the comments!