Over the years I have had friends and lost friends. Some have been my fault, others I really ought to have known better. Just recently, a couple we were friends with have broken away from the group and from each other, and made a hell of a mess while doing it. From each broken friendship, a lesson emerges. I feel I’ve learned more about friendship as an adult than I ever did as a child.
There are a few types of people I have learned that it is important to avoid if you want to keep your mental health in tact. And I’m going to share it with you all so you too can make good decisions about the people you associate with.
We all know one. Narcissists can appear charming, but they have a nasty habit of making everything all about them. I have recently had to cut a narcissist or two loose because I am the kind of friend who loves to give, but narcissists do not return that. They seem to think that you owe them, in a way.
Narcissists are also very guilty of abuse but on a deeper more deprecating level. But if you confront them, they are pro at deflecting, gaslighting and manipulating. Avoid.
Any friend who tries to beat your successes by saying “Oh, something similar happened to me, but THIS HAPPENED that made it so much worse.” I find this is absolutely RIFE in the special needs and disabilities community. I’ve been told “but at least your kid talks” or “yeah but my child is worse” or “you should try living with a kid who *insert outlandish behaviour*, now that’s a true nightmare!”
The worst thing is, many times these people are just trying to beat you because they want to make something that actually wasn’t that bad sound much more serious for attention. Keep away from them unless you want your every success and failure minimised for the rest of eternity!
I thought hard about whether to include this, but addicts can be so destructive to their friends and family, I felt it was important. Addicts borrow money and never pay it back. Or they steal it to fund their habit. They may say mean things which they would never say, or become violent and aggressive, but grovel when they recover from their bad behaviour.
They take far more love than they give. They’ll guilt you. They might even blame you. When they are “on their way down” they become a different person and sometimes it’s best for both of you to cut them loose until they hit rock bottom. It doesn’t mean you cannot repair the relationship later.
Sick of lending money and possessions hand over fist? The Borrower surely makes you feel this way. They’ll be full of promises of returning the item/money but they never ever do. And you know this and yet continue to lend to them.
Stop now. You work hard for what you have. Your possessions are YOURS. If you aren’t getting them back, it’s a problem. Sometimes, you just need to cut your losses and walk away.
Got a friend who steals from you, abuses you, commits crimes against you, or even just commits crimes? You’re not going to gain anything from associating with them. Criminal behaviour is punishable by law, and you could even be implicated in their crimes by association. Out shopping with a friend who shoplifts? You can be punished if it is believed you were involved. No crime is victimless. Just because nobody got hurt this time doesn’t mean that nobody could have been hurt. If someone is willing to hurt someone they don’t know, it’s only a matter of time before they hurt the people they do know.
If they are already hurting you, you should not feel scared to report them. There are protections and support available to those who have been a victim of crime. And if you lose them as a friend, it is absolutely not a bad thing.
The One Who Takes No Responsibility and Blames Everyone
Doesn’t need much explanation – but we as adults are all responsible for our actions and their consequences. Some people will try and blame others because their life is a mess. But you know what? Things haven’t always been easy for most of us. So what. It is totally possible to overcome the bad stuff and change the narrative. OWN YOUR SHIT. Stop blaming everyone else.
What can you do?
As I’ve said with all of these – cut them loose. Let them find new victims for their mean, cruel behaviours.
Find new friends. Surround yourself with positive people who add value to your life. I have my girls who I know would do anything for me if I needed it, and who I would do anything for in return.
Analyse what made you keep these people around for so long, and recognise your role in that, so you don’t let yourself get hurt like this again.