You are who your friends are.
Or, as your mother used to shout before you ran out the door in your teenage years, “GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION!”
We know you hated hearing that. In made you cringe. You liked your friends, why didn’t she? Eh, nevermind, you totally knew why she didn’t like them. And now, years later, you’re realizing why it bothered her so much. Back then, you figured, “hey, who cares, I am me, and no one can change that!”
We’re assuming by now you’ve realized there’s another side to the story.
Friends, no matter how old we are, have a huge influence on us—even if we are out of those impressionable teenage years. It’s no surprise that plenty of successful business mentors advise younger proteges to hang out with successful friends. Success breeds success. It’s the same line of thinking as “never be the smartest one in a room.” In fact, I like to be in rooms where I am the dumbest person in the room. It’s not even that hard. Lolz.
Anyway, the people you hang around have more of a role in our lives than we think. They become the norm for us. They are our base line of what relationships, family, careers, work ethic, and success look like. So yeah, it’s safe to say it’s really important that you pick the right ones. Which is why we are here to point out that not all friendships should be treated equal!
Some friendships are simply meant to be a bit more casual—and that’s totally OK. We can have our best friends, and then, we can have our “bad” friends. Our best friends push us to do better, motivate us, and support us 100% of the way. Our bad friends might have these roles occasionally, but otherwise, they’re a bit inconsistent, and maybe don’t bring out the best in you. But do we have to cut them out completely? Nah. However…it is up to you to be aware of them, and maybe limit your expectations.
So without further ado…
Here is how to handle BAD Friends
1. The Convenient Bad Friend
This is the friend you have whose friendship is completely on their terms. You probably only see them when it’s convenient for them. It’s not that they don’t like you, they just don’t hold you to the same level as you hold them. These are the people who will typically call you when they are super bored on a Monday night and no one will go out. Or, even worse, will call when they need a ride to the airport last minute. And you can definitely count on the fact that you will not hear from them if their normal crew is around. It doesn’t bother you a ton, but enough to realize that you aren’t a priority…and occasionally it gets to you.
No worries. It’s not personal. It really isn’t. But, in order to not feel broken hearted every time you see an Instagram shot sans you on Friday night, you simply have to reassess your friend prioritization…because any time you call them to do something you really want to do, you can expect a good ole *I’m sick* *cough, cough.*
2. The Negative Friend
This one is difficult. You really like this girl. She’s there for you all the time, she genuinely cares what you have to say. Overall she seems like a good influence.
Except for one tiny thing.
She never has ANYTHING positive to say. You’ve even talked to her about it! You try to bring up the bright side, explain to her that “thoughts are things,” and distract her from all the negative observations she tends to notice. But, ugh. It still won’t stop. And now, you are being a bit negative. Uh oh.
Being negative isn’t a crime. Your friend doesn’t deserve to be shunned from the world. But, she might not deserve all of the quality time you’re putting in, because unfortunately, she’s influencing your way of thinking. Anyone’s life has the ability to look really awful or really awesome, it’s just a matter of perspective. And if you want to see your life with rosy tinted glasses, then it’s probably best to surround yourself with other people who drink the happy kool-aid.
3. The Super Lazy Bad Friend
These friends can be really fun. They always are down to go out, hang out, or chill out. In fact they are pretty much down to do anything except work. And as much as we love this friend, we have to recognize that they might not be challenging us as much as we need. Don’t get us wrong, it’s not their job to get our butts moving, but sometimes they can rub off on us in ways we don’t want.
Success breeds success, and if we constantly surround ourselves with people who really don’t feel like pushing themselves to do anything other than drink beer every night of the week, then the chances of us pushing ourselves to do anything else plummets. This doesn’t mean you have to completely cut them out, but be aware of the influence they may have on you. It’s important to focus on what you need to get done, and then cut loose and relax. As long as these friends can respect your need to werk it, you guys should be good.
4. The One Upping Bad Friend
This girl just CANNOT deal with the fact that you might have something wonderful going on in your life! So, in order to support you, she just has to share something even BETTER about her wonderful existence. It’s a shame really, because she has the most hilarious sense of humor and can really bring light into a dark situation. But friends need to support each other and have a give and take.
As annoying as this habit is, it typically comes from a girl dealing with low self esteem. If this girl means a lot to you, be honest with her. Tell her that this behavior comes across as if she’s not happy for you. And then desperately try to build her up when it’s her turn to shine. If the behavior still continues, just remember that it’s best to surround yourself with people where you feel loved, accepted, and supported.
5. The Needy Bad Friend
Chances are, you only hear from this girl whenever a crisis is happening. They hardly ever check in when everything is good and well—they only need you when shit is about to hit the fan.
It’s flattering sometimes. You are a great mediator and an even better listener, so you can offer good advice and help her feel better about the little mess she has created for herself. You give her the time and attention she needs to heal, and you even let yourself get excited that maybe this catastrophe has given new life to your stale friendship.
But then, she’s gone. And you have to wait another six months until she comes back again. So, you have two choices. Be there for her when she needs it but don’t expect anything in return, or stop enabling the behavior by telling her to seek out someone else. (We know of some people who could help….hint, hint.)
6. The Mean Bad Friend
Now, she’s not a bully to you. No way. She’s super nice to you. You two hang out all the time and get along famously. In fact, you actually didn’t even know she was a mean girl for a while. Sure, your other friends mentioned a few times that they didn’t LOVE her, but she has a strong personality. Maybe she’s just not everybody’s cup of tea. It wasn’t until recently that you started to notice, dang, she really isn’t nice to other people!
Maybe she started pointing at strangers and laughing at them for their attire. Maybe she openly was rude to a friend at a house party because they wore shoes in the house accidentally. It’s even more likely that she just got comfortable enough with you to really start talking bad about some other girls in the group.
Whatever happened, it’s not good when you realize your friend is a bully. It’s up to you whether or not you want to continue being friends with her, but know that 1) if she’s a bully, chances are people will think you are, too 2) you are just encouraging the behavior by giving her the positive feedback of being her friend and most of all, 3) if she does it to other people, chances are she will do it to you, too.
This isn’t a cry for you to de-friend any casual friend you may have. Instead, let this blog be a guide to understanding why some friendships simply aren’t mean to be serious, and that’s totally ok. And, hopefully you can learn that sometimes, things just aren’t personal, and people are how they are. If you need some extra support while you strive to find your real buddies, come chat with us. We’ll support you no matter what!