We Are Never Getting Back Together

Written by Riley’s Way Council member Annika Gottfrid in partnership with the One Love Foundation

This summer, the One Love Foundation and Riley’s Way Foundation teamed up to highlight the roles empathy, kindness, and respect play in healthy friendships. Together, One Love and Riley’s Way trained a dedicated team of interns to write inspiring advice articles for the next generation of kind leaders! Each week their work focused on fostering authentic connections that build bridges (not barriers) in friendships rooted in empathy and compassion. Visit Joinonelove.org/learn and RileysWay.org to support our dedicated team of summer interns as they spread awareness about the importance of empathy, kindness, and healthy friendships with a new post each week on our blog.  


Have you ever had a best friend that was on one minute and off the next? Like one second they are making you laugh so hard your sides hurt and other times they are making you feel terrible about yourself. You think to yourself, you’ve always been friends so why would you let something so trivial come in the way of your relationship? Are the good times worth the bad? I had similar thoughts when my ex-bff of seven years, Miranda, started making me feel bad about myself. Though I didn’t know it at the time, her unhealthy behaviors were becoming increasingly controlling and manipulative and when she began guilting me for hanging out with my other friends, I knew something had to change.

What were the unhealthy behaviors that eventually led to the end of our friendship? Read below to learn more about the signs of an unhealthy friendship and what you can do if you find yourself in a similar situation.

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1.   They Dislike Your Other Friends

While jealousy is completely normal, it becomes unhealthy when someone lashes out or becomes angry with you because of it. For example, my ex-bff Miranda became jealous when I spent time with anyone other than her. Somehow, she would find reasons to hate every person I ever liked and she acted as if I were betraying her by spending time with anyone other than her.

Why was this behavior unhealthy? Miranda constantly put down the people I cared about for her own benefit and purposefully made me feel bad about spending time with other friends. One of the signs of a healthy relationship is respect. If Miranda really respected me, she would have respected the people I cared about.

How could you remedy the situation? Talk to your friend about how you feel. Try and organize an event that includes them and all of your other friends so that they can get to know each other. Most importantly, speak to your friend and ask for the respect you deserve. If your friend is constantly putting down your other friends one way to step up is to say, “I don’t think that’s a nice thing to say about someone.” This may not inspire them to change their behavior immediately but at least they will become more aware of when they are acting unhealthily.

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2. They Put You Down In Front of People

Miranda would constantly belittle me by her use of passive aggressive comments that made me feel terrible about myself. She would make fun of me in group settings but was totally different when we were alone.

Why was this behavior unhealthy? Miranda always made me feel bad about myself when we were in front of others which is not ok. A healthy friend would never make you feel bad for being who you are.

How could you remedy the situation? Sometimes people bully others to get a rise out of them. If you approach your friend one-on-one and speak in a calm manner about how their comments made you feel they may lose interest and stop putting you down since you’ve shown them that they cannot get a rise out of you. Confronting your friend might look something like this, “Hey Miranda, I know you said my perfume smelled bad to make everyone laugh but it made me feel uncomfortable. I’m willing to move past this but I won’t accept you belittling me in the future.” You deserve a friend that makes you feel good about who you are and who will support you 100% of the time.

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3. They Guilt You To Gain the Upper-hand

Whenever Miranda and I got into arguments, she would guilt me into taking responsibility for everything that went down. She would even bring up arguments from five years ago just to make me feel bad.

Why was this behavior unhealthy? Miranda made me feel like I was responsible for anything that ever went wrong between us. She never took responsibility for her part because she was guilting me into feeling responsible for our friendship going off the rails.

How could you remedy the situation? When you find yourself in an argument with your friend, try modeling how to take responsibility for your behavior by being honest about what you could have done differently and ask your friend to do the same. This way the conversation isn’t about any one person being the bad guy but focused on how you both can do better moving forward. And don’t be shy in asking for an apology when your friend does something that hurts you. Which brings me to my next point.

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4. They Will Not Own Up To What They Did Wrong

Whenever she behaved badly, Miranda would often deflect responsibility onto me. For example, when she insulted friends that I invited to a party, she told me, “Well, you invited those people to your birthday party. I hate them, so I had every right to say what I did” to guilt me into taking responsibility for her behavior.

How was this behavior unhealthy? Miranda would make me feel bad because in her mind I was always wrong but in a healthy friendship, you are both responsible for your own actions and words.

How could you remedy the situation? Even if I did something to make Miranda angry, she is 100% responsible for her own behavior. Remember, even if your friend is kind some of the time, it doesn’t give them the right to guilt you into taking responsibility for their unhealthy behavior. If you’ve spoken to your friend about your boundaries or what behaviors you are and are not ok with and they continue to treat you bad then you may want to talk to an adult about it. Furthermore, in friendship, both people should feel equal and if our friendship was healthy, Miranda would have taken equal responsibility for her actions and I would have for mine.

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5. You Cannot Hang Out With Your Other Friends Without Feeling Guilty

Miranda would isolate me by not allowing me to spend time with anyone other than her. I couldn’t have any other friends besides her because I didn’t have the opportunity to spend time with them. At birthday parties, I always had to sit next to her and couldn’t sit with others because she had saved me a seat. Before a field trip, she would call me three days in advance to make sure we were going to be bus partners.

How was this behavior unhealthy? Miranda was holding me back from making friends with anyone but her which is definitely not ok.

How could you remedy the situation? If your friend is making you feel isolated from other people in your life, say something. Show your bestie compassion and kindness by letting them know they are equally important to you as your other friends, but always emphasize that you are allowed to have a life outside of your friendship—this includes hanging out with other people or taking a break from hanging out altogether.

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Your best friend is the one who is there for you at all times. They may not be perfect, but they shouldn’t make you feel bad about who you are, who you like, and what you do. Miranda was so much fun at times and so terrible during others, but despite my best efforts to model kindness, empathy, and respect our friendship became too unhealthy for us to remain friends and that’s ok. I am glad that I stayed true to myself because I am so much happier now.

5 Requirements for a Strong Friendship

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Written by Riley’s Way Council member Giavanna Gambino in partnership with the One Love Foundation

This summer, the One Love Foundation and Riley’s Way Foundation teamed up to highlight the roles empathy, kindness, and respect play in healthy friendships. Together, One Love and Riley’s Way trained a dedicated team of interns to write inspiring advice articles for the next generation of kind leaders! Each week their work focused on fostering authentic connections that build bridges (not barriers) in friendships rooted in empathy and compassion. Visit Joinonelove.org/learn and RileysWay.org to support our dedicated team of summer interns as they spread awareness about the importance of empathy, kindness, and healthy friendships with a new post each week on our blog.  


1. Trust

Being able to have trust and confidence in your friend is one of the most important requirements of a strong relationship because true friendship means you are able to count on one another. Part of caring for a friend is honoring what they tell you, no matter the significance, with confidentiality and respect. A true friend should never laugh or mock, but listen with open ears and offer advice if asked. An example of having a trustworthy friend is being able to talk to them about a personal issue you are facing, knowing that what is said will stay between the two of you and that they will not judge you or the circumstance.

2. Equality

Equality is another super important ingredient in healthy friendships that often gets overlooked when one friend seems to have more say than the other. For example, just because one friend is assertive doesn’t mean they should dominate all of the decision making in a friendship. Likewise, a friend that is naturally timid should challenge themselves to speak up about the things they are interested in doing, like seeing a certain movie or eating somewhere new, without worry of being overruled. In healthy friendships, both friends should be able to make decisions together and compromise without being shut down.

3. Compassion

Having compassion is when you are able to be empathetic and genuinely there for your friends on a daily basis and during times of need. Having compassion and empathy is a requirement for a healthy friendship because it’s important to have friends that you can count on to be there for you. An example of what a compassionate friend could look like is if your dog died and your friend came to your side to listen to how you felt in that moment of grief. In this scenario, the friend was compassionate by being present and listening to your situation and supportive by being there for you. 

4. Honesty

Honesty is a requirement for a strong and successful friendship because, at the end of the day, people usually will be more hurt when the truth is concealed than by the truth itself, whatever it may be. Whether it is lying about a simple thing like whether or not you like your friend’s outfit, or something more significant, being dishonest eats away at the foundation of a healthy friendship. Even though being honest may mean having more difficult conversations with your friend, it will make for a stronger and better friendship.

5. Independence

In successful friendships, it is always important to be independent of your friend and allow your friend to have their personal space as well. It is never healthy to always need the company of your friend and their constant attention. You should both have other friends and hobbies besides each other. Getting upset when you are not your friend’s “only friend” is a sign that independence is needed.

If you and your friend have trust, equality, compassion, honesty, and independence, you already have the foundation of a strong and healthy friendship. Even though it can be hard to recognize when a friendship is weak in some areas, it is always possible to improve yourself and your relationship with a friend. All you need is a willingness to do and be better.

5 Things to Do if You’re Drifting Apart from A Friend

Written by Riley’s Way Council member Olivia Rosenfield in partnership with the One Love Foundation

This summer, the One Love Foundation and Riley’s Way Foundation teamed up to highlight the roles empathy, kindness, and respect play in healthy friendships. Together, One Love and Riley’s Way trained a dedicated team of interns to write inspiring advice articles for the next generation of kind leaders! Each week their work focused on fostering authentic connections that build bridges (not barriers) in friendships rooted in empathy and compassion. Visit Joinonelove.org/learn and RileysWay.org to support our dedicated team of summer interns as they spread awareness about the importance of empathy, kindness, and healthy friendships with a new post each week on our blog.  


Friendships are often based on what we have in common, but sometimes our interests can diverge and suddenly what was once a close friendship starts to shift. What do you do when you feel like you are drifting apart, now that you aren’t bonding over a similar lifestyle? It’s not always easy, but a little effort can go a long way. Even though you may not be in touch the way you were before, like texting all the time or talking on the phone, it’s quality rather than quantity that counts in preserving a friendship.

Here are a few ways to stay connected to a friend who has a different lifestyle than you.

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What’s Up!

The easiest way to strike up a conversation is to always ask your friend about their day. Saying “hello” or “what’s up” opens up a conversation and shows that, even though you may now have different interests, it doesn’t mean you aren’t interested. If their day was bad, listen to them tell you why. It goes a long way in showing someone that you care about them. Remember to listen for specific details when they are talking. You can bring up details about your friend’s life in later conversation, which serves as a good way to start talking if you feel distant or unfamiliar with your friend’s interests. For instance, let’s say that your friend now wants to play video games all the time and that is something you just aren’t into. You can still cheer them on when they say they won a tournament, even if you think you would rather run one hundred miles away from the nearest video game.

It’s important to keep an eye on how often your friend reaches out to you as well. In a healthy relationship, each friend should put equal effort into the friendship. If you are always the one to reach out, maybe it’s okay to distance yourself from that friend. If you notice that your friend is always reaching out and you’re not, put in a little extra effort to show your friend you care about them! Even if you don’t mean to be distant by not reaching out, it can sometimes come across that way, so just make sure to reach out as much as you can.

Be Kind

Being kind is just about the easiest way to preserve a friendship. When you feel like you and your friend are drifting apart, it’s natural to want to distance yourself from them first but, it’s not necessary. A kind gesture, like being the first to say hi when you see them in the hallway, is the simplest way to break the ice and keep your connection strong.

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Texting, Liking, and Posting

Use the ease of social media to your advantage! Since you probably aren’t talking as much as you used to, social media is a good way to see what your friend is up to and allows you to stay informed about their life. Don’t discredit the power of presence—if your friend posts a cool picture on Instagram or Facebook, like it to show your support, even if it’s not of the two of you. If you’re not the type to use Instagram or Facebook, try texting. It’s simple and helps you stay present in your friend’s life. But, try not to play the texting game. If he/she texts you, text back when you can, and don’t wait for a long time on purpose because your friend happened to take a long time to respond to you.

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Show Up!

There is no replacement for seeing each other in person. A great way to spend time with a friend who you’re not as close to anymore is to get food together. You can work together to find a place on Instagram or Yelp, and then feel that sweet satisfaction when you finally get there. Additionally, going to cool food places is a good way to bond because it creates memories. It’s also fun to just hang out at someone’s house and watch a movie, or maybe even bake. Doing little things like a picnic at a park is also fun because you can spend time together without having to take up the entire day.

Honesty and Openness

Something important to keep in mind is that friendships take work. They’re not alwaysperfect, and healthy friendships require both people to work hard at maintaining them. If you and your friend are becoming distant, try putting a little extra effort into any of the ways of reconnecting listed above. If something still doesn’t feel right, there is nothing wrong with having a candid conversation with your friend about your relationship. It’s important not to point fingers, but to try to get to the bottom of why you are no longer as close as you used to be. If it’s because you both live different kinds of lives, it can’t be helped and that’s ok! People grow and change and accepting each other’s changes will help you maintain a connection.

It’s normal to feel lonely sometimes. In fact, 72% of Americans say they feel lonely. When your friend becomes distant from you, it’s not unusual to feel twinges of loneliness but, if you make sure to stay in touch online and in person, your relationship has a better chance of working out. The bottom line is life is all about changes and friendships are no different.

5 Signs You Are the Toxic Friend (and Didn’t Realize it)

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Written by Riley’s Way Council member Estefania Alba in partnership with the One Love Foundation

This summer, the One Love Foundation and Riley’s Way Foundation teamed up to highlight the roles empathy, kindness, and respect play in healthy friendships. Together, One Love and Riley’s Way trained a dedicated team of interns to write inspiring advice articles for the next generation of kind leaders! Each week their work focused on fostering authentic connections that build bridges (not barriers) in friendships rooted in empathy and compassion. Visit Joinonelove.org/learn and RileysWay.org to support our dedicated team of summer interns as they spread awareness about the importance of empathy, kindness, and healthy friendships with a new post each week on our blog.  


You may not realize it, but you might be acting in ways that are toxic to your relationship. For instance, have you ever been intensely jealous of your friend for hanging out with someone else? Or have you tried to sabotage an opportunity for a friend because you were afraid that it would take them away from you?

If you answered yes to any of the above then you may be the unhealthy one in your friendship. It’s natural to want to protect your friendships but lashing out is not only unfair (and unhealthy) but can seriously undermine your relationship with a friend.

Read on to learn more signs that you’re the toxic friend and didn’t realize it.

1. You Are Jealous of Your Friend

Jealousy is an emotion we all experience from time to time, but it’s not inherently wrong. Jealousy becomes unhealthy when we begin to lash out or control our friends because of it. Think about the last time you felt jealous because your friend hung out with someone else. It doesn’t make you a bad person or an unhealthy friend but it does mean that you need to think more deeply about this before you react impulsively. If the scenario above sounds familiar, ask yourself this, why do you feel jealous when your friend hangs out with other people? Do you think it threatens your relationship with your friend? Getting to the root of your issue may keep you from unfairly taking your frustrations out on your bff.

2. You Isolate Your Friend

Have you ever asked your friend to skip class, practice or some other activity to hang out with you instead? Have you ever guilted them into sitting with you at lunch even though you knew they wanted to sit with other people? No, this doesn’t make you a bad person but it does mean you have some really unhealthy friendship habits. It’s natural to want to spend all of your time with your bestie but when you begin to isolate them or keep them away from their family and the people they care about, then you know it’s time to pause and reflect on why you feel so possessive of them.

3. You Make Belittling Comments

Although you might play it off as a joke, you often make rude remarks about your friend even when you know that it hurts them. If you are constantly putting someone down, try to take a step back and think about how that behavior reflects on you and whether or not it feels good because chances are it doesn’t. In a healthy friendship, you should feel comfortable being yourself, not worried that your friends will make you feel bad about yourself. And if you are the person making your friend feel bad about themselves, you’re probably the unhealthy friend.

4. You Blame Others To Hide Your Bad Behavior

Do you ever lash out at your friends when you’re angry and then blame them for your behavior? Uh oh. Of course, friends have arguments, but there’s a difference between healthy disagreements and unhealthy arguments. And if you lash out or behave inappropriately you should be able to own up to your mistakes without blaming anything or anyone else. Also, even if your friend does something that makes you angry, how you handle your emotions is your responsibility no matter what.

5. You Betray Your Friends Trust

So, you and your friend are chatting at the lunch table, they see someone at another table and get up to say hi. As soon as they leave you turn to someone else and begin gossiping about them. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, betrayal is a pervasive part of many friend groups. Betrayal is when you do something (anything) to betray your friend’s trust, this includes spreading rumors and making your friend feel left out. The best way to change this behavior is to figure out why you’re doing it in the first place. Are you lashing out because you’re angry with them and you don’t feel like you can speak to them about it? Is your friend group unhealthy and is everyone talking behind each other’s backs? Either way, betrayal is a super unhealthy behavior that can ruin the best friendships.