All the Annoying Ways Your Friends Are Ruining Your Health

Your confidante. Your rock. Your go-to gal. (Or guy.) There are many names you can give your close friends. Unfortunately, the word “stressor” can often be attached to them as well. You might ask yourself, “Aren’t my friends supposed to help alleviate my stress?” While that might be true, some of your pals’ habits are actually having a negative affect on your health. Here are seven ways your friends are causing you stress.

1. They wreck your sleep pattern

Incoming Call Cellphone Next To Bed

Your friend’s late night calls are causing you stress. |

Having friends text you at all hours of the night isn’t just for teenagers. Many adults have friends who like to call or text them out of a deep sleep — a habit that, sadly, is detrimental to your health. Stress and a lack of sleep are, unfortunately, closely connected. And when your compadres are texting you late and interrupting your sleep cycle, your stress level can escalate.

2. They have to one-up you

two business rivals women looking at each other

When does friendly competition become unfriendly? |

We all deal with the overly-competitive work colleague, or the girl at the gym who always has to be running faster than you on the treadmill. But none of that will stress you out quite like when friends constantly have to one-up you. Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D., writes in Psychology Today that this kind of behavior comes from people who are either incredibly arrogant or insecure. Either way, this friend’s type of behavior can negatively impact your mood and overall wellness.

3. They gossip — a lot

Women gossiping

Constantly spewing venom is very stress-inducing. | Thinkstock

To be fair, all friends gossip from time to time. But if a friend is constantly negative, it can affect your wellness. Urban Clinic notes that gossiping takes time away from healthier activities, and “can involve negative thought processes, upsetting discoveries, and the expression of anger.” The best way to counter this behavior — for your sanity and theirs — is to inject enough healthy conversation into your time together. If your friend never has anything nice to say, it might be time to find a new clique.

4. They encourage you to eat poorly

man eating fast food

Just because your friend eats this garbage doesn’t mean you should, too. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

From happy hour to movie night, the activities you and your friends engage in almost always revolve around food. And even if you are a predominantly healthy eater, there is always that friend who can talk you into eating garbage. Sadly, all those sweet and salty snacks have an affect on your stress levels.

5. They come to you with problems, but no solutions

blond girl complaining with tears and hands hiding her face

For instant stress, just add a drama queen. |

Dealing with other people’s problems can be extremely draining. And if you have one of those friends who always comes to you with their issues, it can be hazardous to your health. As the The Huffington Post explains, the negative emotions associated with drama don’t just raise our cortisol levels, but weaken important functions like intuition and reasoning. If you are the go-to ear for the resident drama queen, it would behoove you to take the most neutral stance possible and not get sucked up in their shenanigans.

6. They push their vices on you

friends drinking beer together

Bad habits are hard to kick when you’re friends put stress on you. |

Maybe it’s drinking too much. Or maybe it’s pushing their luck with the law. Whatever your friends’ bad habits may be, they are more likely to rub off on you if you’re under pressure. Psychology Today tells us that stress affects willpower and self-control. So, if you are feeling pressure because your friends are insisting that you have another drink with them, you are more likely to succumb to that bad behavior.

Instead of caving, try to build up good habits you can fall back on. And then, hopefully, your habits will rub off on them.

7. They expect you to be the adult

Two female friends sitting on couch having conversation

It’s stressful when you have to babysit your friends all the time. |

Much like with a drama queen, an immature adult friend can send your stress levels skyrocketing. The relationship with this type of friend can leave you feeling like you have to be the parent, leading to excess anxiety. Our Everyday Life suggests trying to empower a friend with adolescent behavior by proposing they engage in activities that will make them more independent. Whatever you do, avoid feeding into their immature behavior so that they can become more mature.