Friends Who Make You Feel Guilty

Guilt should not be used to manipulate you.
... Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Friends who make you feel guilty may be doing it intentionally or they may not realize they are doing it at all. Either way, take note of their behavior and acknowledge how it is affecting you. Your observations will help you stand up for yourself and salvage the friendship.

1 The Purpose of Guilt

There is a difference between normal guilt and guilt that is used against you. Guilt is a human emotion that is useful in pointing out when your actions have affected someone negatively, reports founder John M. Grohol in "5 Tips for Dealing with Guilt." You can learn from guilt so that you don't repeat certain behaviors.

2 Make You Feel Her Pain

Your friend could be making you feel guilty when you hurt her because she wants you to experience the same pain she is feeling, says psychologist Lynn Margolies in "Serving up Guilt" on She might not even realize that she is making you feel guilty. If you acknowledge what you have done to hurt your friend, apologize and let her know that you are learning from your mistake.

3 Guilt as a Manipulation Tool

Your friend is manipulating you if he does and says things to make you feel guilty so that you will feel bad enough to do what he wants, says Margolies. You may start to feel like you cannot make your own decisions without your friend guilt-tripping you. For example, If you feel too tired to hang out with your friend after school, he might say, "You never want to hang out with me anymore. Don't you want to spend time with your best friend? I'm going to be all alone if you don't come." Because you care about your friend's feelings and what he thinks about you, you may feel trapped into hanging out with him even if that's not what you initially wanted to do.

4 Resentment as a Result

Once you start to feel like your friend is guilting you into doing what she wants, you may start to resent her for not letting you make your own choices. Your friend might not realize that her manipulative behavior is driving you away, says psychologist Guy Winch in "The Psychology and Management of Guilt Trips" on Psychology Today. This could cause a rift in your relationship because you may feel like it is one sided.

5 Stand up for Yourself

Kindly confront your friend about his behavior, but focus on the fact that you want to save the friendship. Winch suggests setting boundaries with your friend so that you are not being taken advantage of. Acknowledge your friend's feelings, but let him know that when he guilt-trips you, it makes you resent him. Ask him to tell you want he wants but to give you the option to make your own decisions and not to influence you with guilt. Let him know that you may not always do what he asks, but that when you do, he will appreciate it more because your desire to do what he wants will be sincere and not driven by guilt.

Sarah Casimong is a Vancouver-based writer with a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She writes articles on relationships, entertainment and health. Her work can be found in the "Vancouver Observer", "Her Campus" and "Cave Magazine".