What It Really Means When A Friendship Makes You Nervous

A great friend should make you feel like the best version of yourself. They should make you feel comfortable and confident, and you should be lifting each other up and growing as people together. Unfortunately, we've all had or have friendships where this is not the case — and those relationships can really have a negative physical and emotional impact on you.

There are a variety of reasons why we might tolerate bad behavior or stay in friendships even when they're no longer serving us. Having toxic friends can seem better than being alone, we sometimes hold on to what a friendship felt like in the past, or it may feel like the good moments are worth all the bad ones. Spoiler alert: Platonic relationships can be just as complicated if not more complicated than romantic ones. We're here to help you determine what it means when your friend is making you nervous and what you should do about it.

Your friend can be unpredictable in negative ways

Unpredictability in itself is not necessarily a toxic trait, per Healthline, but it can certainly be confusing or frustrating. If your friend is unpredictable in hurtful or violent ways, that's when you definitely have an issue. Ask yourself: Am I always walking on eggshells around them because I'm worried about what kind of mood they'll be in today? Am I anxious about how they'll react to something I say? Is their level of anger appropriate for my accidental or minor offense?

If you find that the answers to the first two questions are usually yes and the answer to the third question is consistently no, it's probably a good time to reevaluate your friendship. Feeling this nervous around someone all the time is a red flag of a toxic friendship, and it's not healthy for either of you. Confrontation or making a big social change can be overwhelming but there are effective and respectful ways to go about it.

How to address a toxic situation

The short-term discomfort that inevitably comes with addressing a toxic situation head-on is more than worth it for the long-term benefits. Healthy friendships actually lower our stress levels, help keep our hearts healthy, help us navigate traumas, and improve our mental health. On the flip side, toxic ones can significantly damage our self-esteem, increase our anxiety, and do more harm to our physical health. Look out for yourself! It's easy to forget that your well-being and happiness should come first, so this is your reminder.

When the red flags become obvious and constant, take time to reflect and maybe journal if that helps you process your emotions. When you've collected your thoughts, it's time to have a conversation. If you think change is a possibility, point out what's not working and ask your friend to correct their behavior. If the relationship is beyond repair, tell them that. You can say something along the lines of, "Our friendship isn't making me happy anymore — it's just hurting me, and I think moving on might be the best thing for both of us." If you want to phrase it in the kindest way possible, you can say you've "grown apart" and that you value the years/months of friendship you did have with the person. When the hard part is over, there are beautiful new connections to be made.