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  • March 31, 2015, 08:58:42 AM

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Author Topic: Friendship dealbreakers/what is "normal"?  (Read 1071 times)

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Re: Friendship dealbreakers/what is "normal"?
« Reply #15 on: Yesterday at 11:08:50 PM »
Some things I work around, somethings are deal breakers. Friend constantly late; I don't make time sensitive plans with them. Pick on my weight, good bye. My brain can be insulting enough, I don't need your help. Bad mood once in a while, I'll help you plot revenge. Bad mood all the time, I'll suggest therapy and back away a bit.

I guess for me the question is how much do I feel used or abused, do I feel better about myself when I'm around a person. Not that I expect others to provide me my sense of selfworth, but am I a nice person when I'm with that person? Would I want to be friends with me when I'm around that person? (I have a fading friend who is very catty and negative. I found that when I spent time with her, I also became catty and negative. When I'm not near her, I'm a nicer pleasant person. I like me better away from her.)


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Re: Friendship dealbreakers/what is "normal"?
« Reply #16 on: Yesterday at 11:10:41 PM »
I have written about this before, but years ago at a different job, a coworker and friend decided that she had serious problems with the basic direction in which the program was being run.  And without speaking to me at all, she confronted our boss with her objections and told him that I supported her 100% (she knew the boss respected my opinion).  I don't think she intentionally set out to lie about me, she just assumed that since we were good friends and coworkers, I would share her opinion.  But I didn't.  Not at all.  I was furious.

We worked together and were polite, but the friendship was over.  Years later, I ran into my old boss, and he told me afterwards that she was in his office crying one day because she had offended me so badly that she had destroyed the friendship, and she didn't know how to fix things.

Looking back at it, some 20 years on, I do forgive here, and I do miss her.  She had some emotional issues dealing with authority figures, which caused her to confront the boss the way she did (it's been so long, I am fuzzy on the details, but I remember her position was boneheaded).

Bottom line, I can state my opinion clearly.  I don't need someone speaking for me.
I have enough lithium in my medicine cabinet to power three cars across a sizeable desert.  Which makes me officially...Three Cars Crazy


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Re: Friendship dealbreakers/what is "normal"?
« Reply #17 on: Yesterday at 11:47:27 PM »
I think it's pretty normal for a lot of people to overlook their friend's flaws. I had a friend from about Grade 10 in High School that was my best friend. I was very loyal to her. Others said this and that about her, nothing earth-shattering but they all pretty much added up to that she was pretty self-centred, and manipulative (though everything she did or said was nicely done or said, which is why it took me 20 years to face up to that!)

One thing that really bugged me was when she was chasing the fella she wanted to marry (she did catch him) she wouldn't commit to going anywhere with me, not even a month in advance, because she didn't know what he would want to do. It wasn't anything on his part, he was a very nice fella. I didn't even get to meet him until just before the wedding, in part due to her non-committal on going out with me, but now it's obvious that even the possibility of going out with him was far better than actually going out with me.

They got married, life went on, but now that she was married and they had a mortgage, well, they didn't have a lot of money so everyone had to go to their house. Then they had a kid... you got it - we all had to go there because you know going out with a baby. And so on.

So one day when she said to me on the phone " I will call you next week", I just thought to myself, you bet you will, because I will not be phoning you again until you do. Yup. Didn't hear from her for months. The only time I heard from her after that was if there was a problem - another friend was very ill with thyroid problems, but it was all about her because don'tcha know he treated her really badly (he wasn't reacting well to the meds). There were a couple of other calls, but I didn't respond  the way she wanted, I guess, because I didn't hear from her for over 10 years. Just a couple of years ago she called me out of the blue wanting to be friends again. I just politely said sorry, not interested. She asked why, and I think I just said something like my life has moved on. Then she called back about 10 minutes later and I let it go to voice mail. She said if it was anything she or D (her ex) did, she was apologizing. Oh brother - her ex was a very nice man and his only fault was letting her get away with overspending (I suspect a large part of the reason for their divorce) and having her own way. And she didn't even mention that they were divorced and she was remarried! (I found out afterwards.) So I wonder why she bothered after so long - did she lose a lot of friends in the intervening years? Oh well, I have better friends now, or at least ones who do pay as much attention to me as I do to them!


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Re: Friendship dealbreakers/what is "normal"?
« Reply #18 on: Yesterday at 11:56:18 PM »
I have been thinking a lot about the friendships I've had that have lasted versus those that didn't, and evaluating what are reasonable deal breakers, when I realized that I'm not even really sure what a "normal" close friendship looks like. Personal experiences of boundaries you've had to draw, flaws of other people that you can live with vs. not, etc. are all appreciated. I really could use some perspective.
Is it normally to overlook significant-but-not-dealbreaker type flaws like this? I try to be accepting of my friends for who they are, and work around their quirks (I avoid attending events with inflexible start times with Titus). I have somewhat unusual interests/hobbies and it can be hard to find others who share those interests, but sometimes I worry that I make too many excuses for them because of this.

Brilliant timing, I am dealing with a similar issue in my own thread right now. I know what you mean by your last paragraph--I don't have many friends and I'm comfortable with that, but sometimes I do think I put up with things I otherwise wouldn't, just because pulling away from that person would drop my number of friends to an even lower level. With the current friendship I'm reevaluating, one thing that made me stick with it early on was that we did have things in common, that we didn't have in common with other people--values, interests, backgrounds. She was the person I could count on to want to see a particular movie that other people would think was dorky, or who knew exactly what I meant when I complained about my boss, as we started out as co-workers.

But over the years that has eroded, and her negative qualities have stood out to me more and more. She is very persistent and pushy, and will steamroll over people without ever thinking, "I should just accept their no, because it's their time/money/house, even though I don't understand their reasons." She can be very judgmental, and I have to avoid a lot of topics and activities to avoid unpleasantness or criticism. Meeting with her is more stressful than fun at this point.

I will give you an example of what I consider acceptable irritation vs. deal-breaker (same person). We had a joint Christmas shopping day. I knew going in that she had a lot more stuff to buy so the day would mostly be focused on her agenda, and that was fine. It was dull for me, going to these stores I never go to because they don't sell anything I'm interested in, looking at gifts for people I don't know. But, that was also fine--if we could spend our free time chatting, and I could feel like I was really helping her (carrying her stuff, finding things she described, giving my opinion on something), I didn't mind that it was a bit dull, and all about her. That's what I would consider acceptable "irritation."

But then we went to the store where *I* actually had some shopping to do, and instead of helping me like I had helped her, she immediately went off to the other side of the store to fulfill her own list. And, refused to go to the one store I wanted to go to, that she didn't. So I had made all this accommodation for her, all day, and she didn't even contemplate doing the same for me. That was what made me really angry, and it's that sort of thing that goes into the deal-breaker category for me.

One of my sensitivities, I guess, is feeling like I'm putting in more work than the other person. Looking back I would say that's how my friendships have mainly ended--fading away because the other person stopped getting back to me, and I didn't want to be the person always chasing them down, initiating contact, sending gifts, suggesting outings. I feel like when people don't reciprocate, they are sending me a message that I'm not very important to them, so I'm going to ratchet the friendship down until our levels of effort seem to match. Which may be zero on both sides.

Not that I think I'm perfect; once, after I complained about a friend, my mom said (in her careful counselor voice), "Do you think there's anything about you, that annoys them?" I replied, in irritation, "I sure hope so!" ;) Okay, not polite, and I would not be annoying on purpose.


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Re: Friendship dealbreakers/what is "normal"?
« Reply #19 on: Today at 12:15:57 AM »
I didn't think I had any hard and fast "rules" set in place with regards to friendship, but in thinking about it, maybe I have developed some over time. I think this is a result of two (separate) friendships that went very sour in the last decade.

In both cases other people who had known these other two women longer than I had, tried to warn me about these women. I initially thought these were cases of other people just being gossipy, but in hindsight I should definitely have listened. Both instances eventually resulted in me giving the two "friends" the cut direct.  From those experiences I've learnt that if something seems "off" about a friendship then I should follow my gut a lot sooner than I have and cut the "friends" loose from my life. It'll save me a lot of grief in the long run. If I get even a whiff of betrayal I will give you the cut direct so quick your head will spin. Loyalty has always been something I valued, but even more so now after those two experiences.

Needy, emotional vampires, will definitely result in things being scaled way back, probably to friendly acquaintances. Luckily I've only had one of those in my life who was that way inclined in a major way. Based on that I was able to step right back when I suspected a new person I'd become acquainted with was heading that way too. She's also a distant relative and I'm happy to chat at family events, as she's a friendly person overall, but won't be pursuing a separate friendship outside of that family connection. There is another friend whose life can be a bit drama filled/needy, but she lives interstate, so our physical time together is now reduced to once every few years, which seems to work well.  Our time together now is quite enjoyable and she's a very kind person in all our other interactions.

Disrespecting my husband and/or children is now something that will result in an immediate termination of the rel@tionship (friend or family).

We all have our little idiosyncrasies, and I'm sure I do things that make other people internally roll their eyes too, but basically, if being with someone feels uncomplicated, we have fun, I still feel good about myself after spending time with that person, and I leave our encounters wanting to spend more time with them, then their little 'quirks' aren't anything I get myself in a knot over.

I have other friends that I've had for years/decades. We might go weeks/months/years with minimal, or even no, contact, yet when we meet up again it's as though no time has passed at all. I love that; it's very relaxing and comforting.

My birth plan was "get the baby out quickly and safely".

Yup, mine too. I didn't even attempt to come up with one either time, despite medical professionals asking me to do so. They of all people should know how unpredictable birth can be. So long as both baby and mother come through the experience alive and well then that's the only outcome that should matter IMO. Having almost died myself during DS2's birth and DS1 himself almost dying the first birth, I just can't wrap my head around people who make labour/delivery into a 'competition'. Thankfully I've never been around people who judged other mothers' in that respect.


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Re: Friendship dealbreakers/what is "normal"?
« Reply #20 on: Today at 02:35:41 AM »
Outright lies just for the sake of drama. A few years back our group dropped a friend. She had claimed to have cancer and received a lot of help and support (and cash!) from the group, but apparently had forgotten that a few of us either were cancer survivors or had them in the family. Her story fell apart quite quickly as time progressed. We're not friends anymore, largely because she didn't think she did anything wrong.


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Re: Friendship dealbreakers/what is "normal"?
« Reply #21 on: Today at 08:46:39 AM »
I will likely get objections for being so blunt, but did it ever occur to you that some of your friends have the same feelings about you? I don't mean that as an insult, but people are different.

I have - and I think one of the things I've realized is that I'm independent to the point where many of  my relationships remain superficial. For example I rarely (if ever) need a shoulder to cry on.  Another way to put it is I am guarded or standoffish. I don't have strong immediate emotional reactions to negative things (that happen to me, or others) and can be pragmatic to the point of seeming cold in such situations (but if you need someone to run point on logistics, I'm your person). I've worked hard on not reacting in such a "flat" way in situations that call for compassion. I've also learned to be less of a "fixer" and more of a listener - in the past I know I was too pushy with advice and it was off putting.

Because of all this, I have many friends and even more acquaintances but not many people I can call when I *do* need a shoulder to cry on. Some of it is because I push people away when they turn out to be too complicated, or have issues (like being drama seeking) that are unlikely to change and become more irritating over time. Sometimes I feel like I'm too guarded, other times I see how drama filled some friendships are and think there is no such thing!