There was a time in my life when all three of my closest friends were talkers… incessant, self-absorbed, non-stop talkers.
When we got together, it was all about them – all the time. If I started talking about me, their eyes would glaze over, they’d stare at their watch, yawn, and inevitably interrupt to redirect the conversation back to their extremely troublesome lives.
It was like they were on cocaine. In retrospect, I think one of them actually was.
Whatever the cause, it was exhausting. One by one, I stopped hanging out with them.
Of course, by not being more assertive, I was actually encouraging their behaviour.
Why did I have all these narcissists in my life? The only explanation I could come up with was because, like someone who opens a door to a vampire, I didn’t recognize them for what they were and let them in.
Once I learned how to stand up for myself and set some boundaries, one by one they faded from my radar If you want fertile soil for new relationships to grow in, sometimes you have to pull a few weeds.
Here are few more types of “friends” most of us could do without.
- People who complain or whine about their life or the state of the world more often than not
While empathy and the occasional bitch fest can be one of the great joys of friendship, if your entire relationship is based on someone dumping their problems on you, it’s time they purchased a journal or hired a good therapist instead.
- People who cancel plans at the last minute more times than not
Yes, we are all busy people and yes, we all occasionally feel under the weather or hungover or absorbed in something else. But, chronically cancelling on someone isn’t just rude, it sends the message that they don’t matter and nobody wants to feel like that. You and your time are too important to be treated like this.
- People who refuse to accept that you have changed
People grow in different directions. If your old university roommate is angry with you for not going all-night clubbing with her when you just joined AA, it might be time you either found a new basis for your relationship or found a new friend.
- People who don’t take an interest in your life
It’s often the case that one person in a friendship is naturally more talkative than the other – that’s normal. What’s not normal is if they never ask how you are or what you’ve been doing. If they don’t care about you, they are merely using you and aren’t a true friend.
- People who only feel better by better by putting others down or see life as a power struggle where only one person can win
You know the type – they give back-handed compliments, make you feel great and then subtly put you down. If you bring their behaviour up with them, they make you feel like you’re the one with the problem. The world is crazy enough as it is. Let the crazy-makers go.
- People who have some sort of addiction or disorder they aren’t dealing with or who put you at risk with their behaviour
If a friend consistently embarrasses themselves or puts themselves in danger when they drink, do drugs, have sex with strangers or whatever it might be time for a Dr. Phil type talk suggesting they get some help. If they complain that “you’re no fun.” Be clear that it’s not you with the problem. Don’t enable. And never put yourself at risk legally or physically if you don’t have to.
- People who have absolutely nothing in common with you any more
Interests change. Lifestyles change. People grow apart. Sometimes the bond that originally held you together is no longer there. If there is no reason to still be friends with a person, why are you?
- People who never reach out to say hi or make plans with you
Yes, in some friendships one person might naturally be more of the cruise director than the other. But again, if you never hear from someone – like ever – it might be a sign that they just aren’t that into you. And if they aren’t, ask yourself if perhaps you fit into one of the categories above in their eyes.
Let’s be honest, we all have “friends” we don’t really like but keep around for one reason or another (they get you in free to the show or make good arm candy or are the only person you know with an equal passion for Swedish death metal or medieval embroidery or the mating habits of freshwater fish or whatever). Sometimes you are that friend.
Here’s the deal:
Good friends give you energy. While they might not always tell you what you want to hear, you almost always feel better for having them in your life.
To attract these types of people you need to become more like them. And, to make room for them, you often have to let those who are draining you and otherwise monopolizing your time go.
If someone in your life doesn’t make it better, ask yourself, why are you letting them be there?
And if you aren’t attracting the types of friends you want, take a look in the mirror and ask yourself why not?
What other types of friends have you had to let go of? How did you do it? Share your experiences in the comments.