Friends. Compadres. BFFs. Bosom buddies. We all have em, we all need em. Whether we want to share silly stories and create fond memories, sip a glass of wine while conversing over a foodie-adorned table, or need a shoulder, friends are there because… well… they are.
We cherish them, we feel like different people with them, we can be ourselves with them and sometimes, they bring out a side of us that we may miss, or never knew we had.
Girl friends, boy friends – they’re not all the same, and each friendship gives us something that we need. Each has traits and a special history of its own. But sometimes, we’re caught in a friendship with someone and it leaves us lacking. Sometimes, friendships cost more than they replenish. These friends are the kind that we might not want to indulge if we want to find contentedness in our relationships:
- The One-Upper
This friend may not even mean to do it, but you find yourself stating a fact or sharing some important milestone, and they immediately rebound your statement with their own inflated one. If it’s intentional, this might come from a lack of self-esteem or large sense of woe-is-me, but regardless, it can make you feel like your own life and accomplishments pale in comparison. Watch out for this, because you may soon find yourself censoring your conversations just to avoid feeling like you don’t matter. But keep in mind: some people do this unintentionally, to tell you (tactlessly) that they understand or empathize.
- The Self-Important One
Take, take, take. This friend is all about She. Sure, your daughter won the spelling bee, but She scored a fabulous deal on some thigh-high boots and may not even remember that there was a spelling bee the next time it’s mentioned. This girl (or guy) is a give-and-take void – and I caution you to watch out for your own interests, too. At its worst, this friend may walk over your feelings and needs, because She values her own, whether She knows she’s doing it or not. In fact, the worst situation is when she completely lacks awareness that she’s edging your soul out of the relationship.
- The Drama Queen (or King)
These people are entertaining and a ride, for sure, but it might not always be a fun one. Emergency phone calls about that guy that she suddenly hates but a week ago wanted to marry (again) don’t pan out well in most families’ homes, and this friend will always have something huge happening. Whether you have the emotional energy to deal with these ups and downs and higher ups and downs, or not, is up to you.
- The One Without Integrity
Trust is one of the most important traits in a relationship, even one between friends. When we let people into our lives who steal, cheat, never live up to their promises and lie, we allow this behaviour to be considered acceptable to us. There’s a fine line between being a judgemental person and being aware of your friends’ short-comings. In the case of a friend who causes you to think “yeah, right” on more than one occassion, or to question whether she gossips about you, like she does others, or if she lies to you, like she does to others… this friendship might be worth writing off.
- The Compliment Dropper
There’s nothing worse than the friend who drops in on you and says “oh my god, that outfit looks so good on you! It totally makes you look like you lost weight!” This friend – whether they mean to or not – buoys you for about two seconds before making you question yourself, often in a way that diminishes your self-esteem. This friend is bad news for your inner-zen, baby.
- The Unpredictable One
Always late, if they show up at all? Prone to freak outs at the most embarrassing, inappropriate times? A fan of changing her entire life around… every few weeks? Absent, then obsessively involved? This friend leaves you wondering if she’s coming or going, and which you rather she do. You might not feel like you can trust the things she says or the opinions she forms, and you might find yourself wondering if you really want to be out in public with her when there’s alcohol involved. This friend is… entertaining, but sometimes leaves you feeling like you wish you could disappear from situations or drift away from her.
- The One Who is Never Responsible
You know the friend who was demoted at work because she was always late and took extra long lunch breaks, but it’s not her fault because it’s really because her supervisor hasn’t liked her from the very first day she started (probably because she’s envious of how young and thin she is), and because traffic held her up, and because she was given the parking spot really, really far away from her office? This friend is constantly attacked by life, and she has no role in it other than to be a victim – except for when she accomplishes something positive, of course. This friend saps your positivity and frustrates you, and sometimes all you want to do it yell, “leave your house fifteen minutes earlier and pack a damn lunch!” This friend’s been through the ringer, but she’s the one creating most, if not all, of her problems, and because she doesn’t recognize her own control over her life, she will always be stuck in the same negative cycles. This friend will probably never change. Really.
It can be hard to walk away from a friendship, indeed; it can be hard to change patterns in a relationship; people’s core attributes may never change. What keeps you in friendships with people that have these labels – are the good times enough?