Have your friendships ever caused you trouble or problems? What is an example?
Ohhhh Gary, Gary, Gary… how long do you have?
My life to date has been one long saga stitched together with crises, backstabbing and betrayal.
As a teen/young adult, I had many different groups of friends; the more the merrier in fact. As an adult I’ve learned that it’s all about quality over quantity.
Friendships are fraught with hidden dangers and unwritten rules – the main difficulty being that you’re expected to know this stuff without anyone explicitly telling you. As humans we learn about relationships and how to navigate them ‘on the job’ as it were.
The other problem with everything being open to interpretation, of course, is that not everyone’s unwritten rules are the same.
The biggest problem I’ve had in friendships has been my own self. I spent far too long bending myself out of shape because I so desperately wanted to be accepted and liked. I thought that trying to be all things to all people would bring me more friends and I was right, it did. The problem was that only a small percentage of those people actually gave a shit about reciprocating.
If you start a friendship by ignoring the red flags then you’re setting a precedent for the entirety of that relationship.
‘It’s ok that she talks endlessly about herself,’ I would think, ‘she obviously needs a listening ear and I will happily provide that. Then hopefully she’ll do the same for me.’
Fear of rejection turned made me a people pleaser who began every new interaction with the goal of making the other person like me. Whether I liked them or not didn’t enter the equation.
This is why boundaries are so important. By continuing to let ‘Chatty Cathy’ dominate every conversation and by making myself available every time she needed something, I set the tone for the next 5 years until I was finally exhausted enough to cut contact.
Chatty Cathy will likely never understand why I disappeared. I didn’t tell her that her narcissism had sucked me dry to the point that I had nothing left to give. For her it would’ve come completely out of the blue after all this time.
I think the moral of this really is that by being your authentic, wonderful, unapologetic self, you will find the people that belong in your life.
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