How to keep your Friendship from Cracking Under Pressure

There’s nothing wrong with having expectations for your friends. In fact, it’s typically a good thing! Having standards when it comes to the way you’re treated is a key ingredient for a happy and successful social life. But did you know that it’s possible to have too many expectations?

If you’re not careful, you just might put too much pressure on your friends. That can push them away, and cause major damage for your social life. It’s important to recognize when your expectations are hurting your relationships, so that you can make a change.

Need some tips? Try these:

Explore your Interests: One person can’t be responsible for keeping you entertained all the time. If you demand constant attention, your friend may start to see the relationship as an obligation. That’s never a good thing! Try getting things back on track by taking some time to explore your passions. Join a club or team. Take on a new hobby or volunteer project. Add a few more friends to your social circle. Having a little bit of independence is a great way to take the pressure off a friendship.

Let them Explore their own interests: It’s okay if you and your friends have some different interests. You don’t have to do everything together. So don’t freak out if your friend isn’t interested in sharing your new hobby, or if he joins an activity that doesn’t interest you. If you insist that your friends only do things you enjoy, they may start to resent you for it. So while you’re focus on your own hobbies, encourage them to do things they enjoy! As an added bonus, you’ll have plenty to talk about the next time you hang out.

Beware of Jealousy: Don’t stress over whether or not you’re her best/closest/only friend. Odds are, your friend has some other important relationships in her life. That’s normal, and even healthy. There’s no need to feel jealous or competitive toward her other friends. And you should never try to come between them! This will definitely paint you in a bad light. Instead, try being open and kind toward these other friends. You may just find that you enjoy spending time with them too!

Don’t be pushy about plans:
Sometimes, people are busy. They can’t always hang out when you ask. As a friend, it’s your job to be understanding of this. You definitely shouldn’t try to make someone feel guilty about the fact that they can’t commit to plans. And you shouldn’t further complicate their schedule by insisting they find time to squeeze you in before, or after, a given activity. If they think they can make time for you, they will say so. If you push them to make time when they haven’t offered, you may come off as needy or pushy.

Text with Patience: Phone calls, texts, and social media messages are common ways for friends to interact throughout the day. But if you’re sending tons of messages and getting very few responses, you might be overdoing it. You don’t want your friend to feel like she’s being bombarded with messages. That can be overwhelming! So if you haven’t heard from your friend in a while, you should resist the urge to keep pushing for contact. She’ll reach out when she has time, and wants to talk. Until then, it’s best to have a little patience.

Remember, it’s important to have some expectations for your friends. But your biggest concern should be the way they treat you. Are they supportive, and understanding? Are they good listeners? Do you have a great time when you’re together? If so, you should have confidence in your friendship! There’s no reason to hold on too tightly, or try to keep this person all to yourself. Your friendship is doing just fine as it is!

Posted in


Isa Marrs is the Founder and Executive Director of the Where I Can Be Me® social skills program. She is a board-certified speech-language pathologist who specializes in pragmatic language (social skills) disorders in children. Read More