What to Do When Friends Put You Down

Experiencing put-downs or negative behavior from friends is a sensitive issue that can be quite challenging emotionally. Friends, as the term implies, are supposed to be your support system, a source of positive energy, and a haven in times of troubles. However, sadly, there are circumstances where those we hold dear betray this kinship, lie in wait to criticize and belittle us. It becomes necessary to know what to do when friends put you down and to maintain respect and decency in our friendships.

Spotting Underlying Reasons

It’s fundamental to understand the root causes of your friends’ adverse behavior. Frustration can arise from not knowing why a friend is continually negative. By digging a little deeper, you can shed light on the possible motives behind their actions.

Evaluation of Your Friend’s Personality

Observing your friend’s character traits and patterns might provide clues of personal insecurities that might be the driving force behind their negative behavior. These insecurities can manifest as jealousy, competitiveness, or an inferiority complex leading to persistent put-downs.

Similarly, your friend might be seeking attention and validation. It’s not uncommon for individuals to engage in negative behavior to attract attention, even if it’s detrimental.

Analyzing the Situation

Understanding the difference between harmless teasing and habitual, targeted put-downs is crucial. Teasing typically is light-hearted and reciprocal, while put-downs are often one-sided and carry an underlying intent to degrade or belittle the other person.

It’s important to acknowledge your feelings. Evaluating how you feel after interacting with your friend will offer insights into the dynamics at play. If you regularly feel judged, undermined, or diminished, then you might be on the receiving end of friend put-downs.

Effective Communication

After identifying the issue, taking active steps to learn how to communicate your feelings and thoughts to your friend is crucial.

Finding the Right Time to Talk

Choosing a neutral setting to express your thoughts, at a time when both of you are calm and comfortable, sets the ground for a productive conversation.

Preparing what you want to express beforehand also makes petitioning for change more manageable. Anticipate possible reactions, and stay firm and collected in pushing for a positive shift in your relationship.

How to Converse Effectively

Conversations of this nature must be handled delicately. Using “I” statements — phrases where you articulate your feelings and how your friend’s behavior affects you — tend to be more effective than accusing or blaming.

Providing concrete examples of instances when your friend has put you down can further prevent you from sounding vague or worse, baseless. This also makes it more challenging for your friend to dismiss your claims.

What to Do When Friends Put You Down

Re-evaluating the Friendship

Continuing in a friendship that consistently drains you emotionally and mentally is unhealthy. It’s essential to reassess the relationship with your friend.

Considering Emotional Health

Recognizing that you might be in a toxic relationship is a challenging but essential step. If you regularly feel unworthy, inexplicably sad, or anxious after spending time with your friend, then this friendship is likely toxic.

Self-care and setting boundaries are essential. It fundamentally involves prioritizing your emotional well-being and distancing yourself from negative energy.

Making Hard Decisions

Evaluating the pros and cons of continuing the friendship helps in making a rational decision. This decision is challenging but essential to maintaining your sanity and self-confidence. Once you make a decision, stick to it, and don’t let guilt sway your choice.

Seeking Outside Support

In such situations, reaching out for help becomes necessary. It’s pivotal to lean on the support network around us and even consider professional intervention.

Use of Professional Counseling

Therapy, either individual or group-based, can play a significant role in overcoming the repercussions of a toxic friendship. A therapist can facilitate communication, help you articulate your feelings and inch you closer to a resolution.

On the other hand, individual therapy can cater to your personal growth and resilience, enabling you to tackle future challenges more effectively.

Leaning on Support Networks

Turn to your family members, friends, or co-workers for emotional support. They too, have experienced similar situations and can provide practical advice and a comforting ear.

Consider joining support groups or online communities dedicated to such issues. These platforms are filled with individuals who have had parallel experiences, providing solace that you’re not alone.


No one deserves to be belittled, especially by friends. When your friends put you down, it’s crucial to understand the possible reasons behind their actions, communicate your feelings effectively, objectively evaluate the friendship, and seek support when necessary.

Remember, friendships should be a source of happiness and support. Therefore, always strive to maintain healthy relationships that contribute positively to your life, enhancing your overall well-being.