Do you have “friendships” that are killing you? I mean, do you have the kinds of friends that you come away from feeling like you have to downplay your achievements or talents?
Do you have friends that are overly possessive? Backstabbing? Or, are you one of those kinds of friends? In this article, I reveal the top 10 behaviors that are killing your friendships — and what you can do to be a better friend and have healthier friendships.
Friendship Killer #1 – Jealousy
I don’t know how it works with guys, but women are notoriously catty. Trust me. I grew up with a very jealous and competitive mother who could not stand for me to shine. In fact, she’s going to be 75 years old in June, and she still hates for me to be a confident, self-assured woman because she feels so threatened.
I also grew up with 4 catty sisters whose only goal in life was to tear me (and each other) down. So I know a thing or 2 about jealousy.
How to Spot Jealousy in a Friend
You know your friend is jealous when she behaves passive aggressively by constantly making comments (put downs) about your boyfriend, your clothes, your lifestyle, etc. and you find yourself having to downplay your achievements and talents just so she won’t get mad or start being competitive.
Jealousy destroys relationships because you can never be happy for the other person. And the very essence of friendship is support for one another.
Advice: If you’re the jealous type, ask yourself why you feel so less than. Build your self-esteem by doing esteemable things for yourself and others.
If your friend is the jealous one, have a serious conversation with her. Tell her you want to be supportive, but that you can’t and won’t be in a friendship that’s rife with jealousy.
By the way, I don’t talk to my mother anymore – and I’ll only deal with one of my sisters. Yeah. It was that bad.
Friendship Killer #2 – Selfishness (Narcissism)
With selfish friends, it’s always about them. Everything has to be on their terms. If you don’t go along with their program, they try to make you feel guilty, put you down, etc.
Advice: You may just be dealing with someone who is unaware that they’re selfish. If that’s the case, you need to gently tell your friend how her behavior affects you.
If you’re dealing with a narcissist, you may want to end the friendship, as it will always be one-sided.
Friendship Killer #3 – The Manipulator
The manipulative friend can never be direct. They know your weaknesses, so they hint around when they want you to do something, knowing that you will fall for their manipulation – hook, line and sinker.
Advice: Tell your friend nicely that you would appreciate it if she would be more direct with you.
Friendship Killer #4 – Possessiveness
I had a friend who always put down any other friend I wanted to hang out with because she couldn’t stand for me to be with anyone else. When I wanted to include others in activities, she vehemently opposed.
Advice: Smothering someone –telling them they can’t have other friends — is a sign of fear of abandonment. If it’s you who’s behaving possessively, ask yourself why you’re so terrified of losing your friend. If it’s your friend who is possessive, ask her the same thing – gently of course.
Then seek therapy.
Friendship Killer #5 – The Critic
With the critic, you can never win. Sometimes you can almost win, but inevitably the critic will find something wrong with you or what you did, what you’re wearing, etc.
Being around someone who is overly critical is devastating to your psyche and your self-worth.
Advice: Let go of the friendship. People who are overly critical will always raise the bar just out of your reach. It’s a no-win situation. Cut your losses.
Friendship Killer #6 – The Exploder
The exploder always keeps you off balance. It’s their way of controlling you. Being friends with an exploder is like walking through a minefield. You never know what’s going to set them off. Walking on eggshells in a relationship is not healthy and inhibits the growth of both parties.
Advice: Tell your friend to seek anger management, or you’re gone.
Friendship Killer #7 – Covetedness
Everyone gets a twinge of jealousy sometimes. But when it’s a constant in your friendship — that’s bad. Coveting goes hand in hand with jealousy. But it’s a closer cousin to envy.
Your envious friend always wants what you have. The mentality is “there’s not enough to go around, so I want what’s yours.”
Advice: Tell your friend you sense her envy and that it’s uncomfortable. Tell her if she acts on her covetedness, you will associate with her less.
Friendship Killer #8 – Disloyalty
God I hate disloyal people. Disloyal friends are the backstabbers. Gossips. They’re the ones you share a confidence with and then you hear about it on the 6:00 O’clock news. They’re the ones who laugh at you when you fall down – instead of helping you up.
Here’s the deal. I don’t think people should be loyal to a fault. But you should be loyal until your friend no longer deserves your loyalty.
Advice: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Friendship Killer # 9 – Liars
Liars annoy the heck out of me. You can’t trust them. Ever. And you can’t have a friendship without trust.
Advice: Confront your friend about their lies. Tell them that you cannot trust them if they’re lying to you all the time and that trust is an important, and necessary part of the friendship.
Friendship Killer #10 – Being Too “Busy”
Relationships are not one sided. Everyone is busy. But friendships take time and effort. You’ve got to decide whether you really want the friendship because it takes an investment.
So if your friend is always saying she’s “busy”, it just means she doesn’t want to be friends anymore.
Advice: I’d see how often she tells me she’s too busy to hang out before I pull the plug on the friendship.
Friendships are an important part of life. So you want to make sure you’re not getting drained by the very people who are supposed to be uplifting to you. This advice goes for any type of relationship.
So, start paying close attention to your circle of friends and see if any of them fit into one or more of the “friendship killer” categories. Then do what you need to do to take care of yourself.