Is your friend a fountain or a drain? The differences between good and bad friends

Friendship never ends, apparently, well according to the Spice Girls and their song ‘Wannabe’ back in ‘96, it doesn’t.

Then Miss Swift gave us her experience with friendship in 2014 with ‘Bad Blood’, throwing shade on her friendship with, uh lets just say, a certain someone. She told the world it went from ‘mad love to bad blood’- quite the opposite to what Scary Spice and her bandmates sang about.

So what went wrong? Were people just nicer back in the 90s? Did the naughties bring with it a barrel load of beef? Not the likely case, particularly given that Ginger Spice left Scary and the rest of the gang just a mere year after they proclaimed ‘friendship never ends.’ Oops.

Bottom line is that friendships do end. Like many other things life throws at us, nothing is bulletproof and our fallen friendships are testimony to that. What causes them to end can be down to a number of reasons, but more often than not it’s due to one or more of the following things:

  1. Life took you down a different path and you grew apart- you went left, they went right, sort of thing.
  2. Your expectations of one another were different and subsequently became distant- dubbed the friendship killer, when high expectations lead to disappointment and demise.
  3. It ended with fireworks (and not in a good way)- A Jerry Springer moment, not quite a ‘you slept with my stripper sister’ scenario, but rather a betrayal of some sort.

Now let’s look at my second point a little closer. Expectations in a friendship are pretty reasonable right? After all, any relationship needs to have some expectations in order to ascertain a healthy connection. But what if your friend doesn’t have the same expectations for the level of friendship you have? And worse, what if you’re on the receiving end of their high expectations? And even more worse, what if those expectations are draining you of your emotions? Then you my friend, might have a drainage problem.

Friends come in all shapes and sizes, the crucial bit however is how a friend makes you feel. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if a friend’s taking advantage of you, or it might take you some time to realise that you’re being taken advantage of. So with that said, we’ll look at what makes a friend good or bad for you. Are they a flowing fountain of positivity, encouragement and vitality? Or are they a never ending drain on your emotions? Let’s look at both in a little more detail.

The Fountain

First up, the fountain-a symbol of joy and peace. The water in the fountain is a sign of calmness and represents life. You’ve likely heard of the mythical Fountain of Youth or someone referred to as a fountain of knowledge. Well, these friends are just that! They breathe life into you and bring a whole bunch of energy and understanding to the table. They will also:

Be Positive- Their positivity is contagious and encouraging, not in a Janis Joplin sort of way but these friends have that go-getter attitude and are gifted in always making you see the silver lining. Sure you might have a bitch and a moan with them sometimes, but ultimately your friendship is not bonded by negativity. You hanker after their company, and afterwards feel awesome having had a pretty good time together. 

Want the best for you- They’ll inspire you and encourage you to do the things you love and are good at, even if it means you might not see them as much. They have your best interests at heart and get pretty pumped when something good happens to you. Despite being your buddy, they still have a grip on reality and see it the way most people see it and aren’t afraid of telling you the truth, even when it’s hard for you to hear. 

Be there for you no matter what- They love you warts and all, during the good days and the bad. They don’t judge you. They drink wine with you while you both make fun of your ex’s gross habits. They tell you it’s normal to not feel normal sometimes because they do too. They offer a reassuring hand when life starts to wobble.

Be kind, respectful and trustworthy- They give you confidence to express yourself and accept who you are. They make small gestures that show you they care. They honour what you tell them, no matter what that may be, with confidentiality and respect. 

Why should we embrace our fountain friends? 

As the old saying goes, birds of a feather flock together so when you surround yourself with these types of friends, you’re more likely to adopt empowering beliefs and simply feel more positive. Friends like this not only change your perspective, but also have the power to improve your wellbeing and overall quality of life- who wouldn’t want that?

Now let’s look at the drain 

The Drain

Drains. Smelly drains, blocked drains; collapsed drains; pests in drains- I could go on but really my point is that ultimately a drain’s function is to remove water to another area. A friend that behaves in the same way as a drain won’t have a particular pong about them but will pretty much drain you emotionally- often to make them feel better. They will also: 

Be an emotional vampire- If your pal is a bit of an Edward Cullen (not exactly a vampire that shines in the sun) but rather someone who might be emotionally manipulative and makes a friendship very much about them and their needs. These blood suckers think of themselves as the main course and you’re, well, the side dish. 

Use you- They only reach out when they want something, like when they are in need of help or advice. They do this way too regularly and quite often it takes centre stage whenever you get together. You’ve basically become their agony aunt, coach and mentor rolled into one, but whenever you reach out to them for some advice, they don’t want to know. 

Bring you down- you feel bad about yourself once they’ve gone, remember folks, your emotions don’t lie. These people intend on holding you back, they are not happy for you when something good happens. They degrade you and often put you down and that is a big fat no no in any friendship. 

Be a negative Nancy- Or Pessimistic Pete. Essentially these people run on negative energy and exhale a toxic cloud of negativity wherever they go. They rain on your parade by using their special ability to turn even your successes into failures. These friends tend to criticise and moan about everyone, and chances are they bitch about you too when you’re not around. Nobody needs that negativity in their life. 

Why should we rid ourselves of our drain friends? 

If you have a friend who is emotionally draining and you continually give of yourself in a one-sided relationship, your own mental and emotional health will suffer and this just cannot be. While you can be empathetic and caring towards others, it’s crucial you don’t allow people to take advantage of your kind nature which will eventually bring chaos on your wellbeing. You’re not a watering hole, so don’t let your own water supply run out because you allow others to drain you of your resources.

What to do next

If you’ve noticed that you have friends who have shown one or more of these signs time and time again, it’s time for the chat you’ve been putting off. Tell them about their behaviour and how it makes you feel when they attempt to take advantage of you. Who knows, they might be completely oblivious of their actions and subsequently want to make changes to their behavior. If they decide not to, or continue doing what they were doing however, then it’s probably time to kick them to the curb. 

& remember to never take advantage of people yourself because friendship is a two way street and you get what you give. 

12 responses to “Is your friend a fountain or a drain? The differences between good and bad friends”

  1. Thomas Pickard avatar
    Thomas Pickard

    This is so true! I have had many fountains and many drains. I have had times when my friends were plentiful, and times where there were no friends insight. To have a good friendship, you need to be a good friend. However, beware of the drains! I loved this post – keep up the good work!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks Thomas! You’re absolutely right, it takes two people to make a friendship work and yep it’s super important to stay aware of those drains! 👌

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Great post.
    Friendships do come in different shades and therefore the life span varies too. We also need to know when to hold on and let go.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aria, thanks for taking the time to read my post and comment 😊 that’s a great point you make because I think so many of us are guilty for allowing a toxic friend to stay around too long simply because we find it difficult to let go. It’s never easy and sometimes the stuff that we HAVE to do is REALLY HARD.


    1. 🙌🏼Thanks for reading Beth!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mark. I love when a metaphor can help us learn and understand something that bit better.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are absolutely right! It’s important to rid our lives of toxic friends that just drain the life out of you. I recently saw a video for teenagers about this and I found it to be so relatable as an adult. Sometimes we have a hard time letting go of toxic friends, especially if they’ve been in our lives for a significant period of time.

    Here’s the video –

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Heatherjo, thank you for reading, commenting and sharing that video. After watching it myself I agree that it too is relatable for an adult! In fact I think this is a perfect little chunk of wisdom for any age and it’s something that reminds us all of the fundamentals of any friendship- a true friend.


  4. This was such an interesting post. I never really thought of friends like that. Maybe because I get drained easily so I tend to stay with people who lift my spirits!


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