The Psychology Behind Friends Who Put You Down: Exploring the Double Standard

Friendships are a vital part of our lives, providing support, companionship, and shared experiences. However, not all friendships are healthy or beneficial. Some friends may consistently put you down, belittle your achievements, or make negative comments about your appearance or abilities. This behavior can be hurtful and damaging, particularly when there’s a double standard at play – when the friend who puts you down can’t handle receiving the same treatment. Understanding the psychology behind this behavior can help you navigate these challenging situations and make decisions that are best for your emotional well-being.

Understanding the Behavior

Friends who put you down often do so because of their own insecurities and low self-esteem. They may feel threatened by your success or happiness and use negative comments to bring you down to their level. This behavior is a form of psychological projection, where individuals attribute their own negative traits or feelings to others.

The Double Standard

The double standard comes into play when these individuals can’t handle receiving the same treatment they dish out. This is often because they are overly sensitive to criticism or have a fragile sense of self-worth. They may dish out negative comments to feel powerful or in control, but when the tables are turned, they feel threatened and attacked.

How to Respond

Dealing with friends who put you down can be challenging, but there are several strategies you can use. First, try to communicate your feelings openly and honestly. Let your friend know how their comments make you feel and ask them to stop. If they continue to put you down, you may need to consider distancing yourself from them or ending the friendship.

Seeking Professional Help

If you’re struggling to deal with a friend who puts you down, it may be helpful to seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can provide you with strategies to cope with the situation and can help you understand why your friend is behaving this way. They can also help you build your self-esteem and resilience, so you’re better equipped to handle negative comments in the future.


Understanding the psychology behind friends who put you down can help you navigate these challenging situations. Remember, it’s important to prioritize your own emotional well-being and surround yourself with people who lift you up, not bring you down. If a friend consistently puts you down and can’t handle receiving the same treatment, it may be a sign that the friendship is not healthy or beneficial for you.