I had not noticed this was a huge part of who I am until I began creating personal boundaries for myself. I am who I am no matter who the other person is pretending to be and that’s not something I will ever change about myself. In other words, what you see and feel is what you get. I am polite if I don’t like you, but you’re probably going to feel that. I don’t believe in being rude for no reason or being outwardly hostile. It serves no purpose. But I am never going to ask you out to lunch if I am not interested in being your friend.
I get accused all the time of jumping in with both feet when it comes to making friends and I am guilty as charged. I enjoy people! I like making new friends. The issue here is I don’t have any agenda on my brain except the one about making a new friend. I never enter into a relationship of any kind simply because the person can do something for me, or can bring me notoriety via association. My stubborn independence prevents that kind of codependency.
In order to figure out what kinds of friends I was making I had to re-learn everything I thought I already knew. The most important lesson I needed to learn was to stand back and get to actually know someone first before making them a part of my life. The other important lesson was that not every one gets a seat at my table.
After learning those two lessons I discovered I have quite a few good friends that already knew these secrets. How fortunate they saw something in me that allowed me to continue being a part of their lives even when I was struggling to figure it all out!
I say this because those friends that latch onto you because they need something from you are a lot of extra work for you. You never realize it at the time, but you are putting in a lot of unnecessary hours just trying to be a good friend to them and they still demand more. This kind of friend can suck up so much of your existence that it leaves very little for anyone else. All that energy you keep sending in their direction means your good friends aren’t getting the attention they actually deserve and huge parts of what makes you special will just start to disappear.
How do you know if you have a bad friend like this?
- They never call or get in touch with you unless they need something. It could be a ride someplace or to borrow a dress, but they will always want you to provide them with a service in order to be graced with their presence.
- You can text or call and leave a message and they never get back to you, or they call a few days later. I can understand if this happens once in a while over time, but if it happens on a regular basis then this is someone you’re going to have to chase in order to be friends and who wants to do that all the time?
- They are never happy about anything and unload their troubles on you regularly. Even though you give them good advice or simply try to cheer them up, they never listen to you and never take your advice. They seem to like being unhappy and that’s the only side you ever see of them.
- They give you assignments. “Find this address for me today while you’re online.” or “Next time you’re in that shop pick one up for me too!” or “You can be my personal shopper when you’re out shopping!” I know it’s flattering to feel needed, but if your friend wants to give you chores like this then charge them an hourly rate and call it a day because you need a better friend and it sounds like they need to hire a personal assistant. I recently published a book and needed online reviews. I sent out some copies of my new book to a few friends and asked if they would write a review for me when they had time. I felt awful asking for their time to do this and would never want my friends to think I was imposing on them. I knew these were my good friends and I knew they would be happy to help me out, but I value them and I value their time.
- They belittle you in front of your other friends. When someone says to me, “I was just kidding! Take a joke!” I know it’s time for me to move on. When you hear those words you are listening to someone that secretly doesn’t like you, but they’re too passive aggressive to do something to improve the friendship. They would rather destroy you and if you stick around that’s exactly what will happen.
- They make promises they never intend to keep. This is one that I let slip by me repeatedly! Whether it’s saying they’ll do something for you to being on time or even showing up, this kind of friend can be a long string of disappointments if you keep allowing it to happen. They will always let you down and if you confront them they will blame it all on you.
- I’m not sure what you call this one, but I have had three friends over the years that did this exact same thing to me until I finally wised up and cut ties. They all did the same thing so I’m wondering if this is some kind of disconnect in their brains. I was told she had a Christmas gift for me and it never materialized, but she enthusiastically accepted the gift I got her. Later that year she had a birthday gift for me that I never received. All three friends over the years did this same thing to me! None of them knew each other, so it wasn’t a conspiracy. LOL! I used to tell myself, “It’s the thought that counts.” But that’s bullshit because the friend is not being thoughtful at all, they’re being thoughtless. Other times I would tell myself they had the best of intentions and life got in the way, but that’s bullshit too! They have NO INTENTIONS! Most of the time they’re only saying it to save face because you have remembered them on an occasion with a gift, or they’re hoping if they allude to having a gift for you that you’ll reciprocate with a gift for them. Do yourself a favor and only participate in this travesty of fake celebration just one time. I wish I had a label for this one! I bet some of you have that same kind of friend!
Once you realize you have a bad friend there’s no need to have a big ugly confrontation or any dramatic exits. It’s not worth it. You have better things to do with your free time now. See all those amazing friends standing over there waving at you and smiling? Turn your face towards them because they are the light in your life and they will treat you like you matter to them and show you what having a real friend feels like.
There is a lot to be admired about authenticity when it comes to dealing with the people in our lives. I believe that being real is always the best way and when I find I can no longer be real with someone then the best thing I can do for them and for myself is to be someplace else. This is Madeline Laughs and I will always be real with you. ❤