The Friend You
by Lisa Earle McLeod
All friends are not created equal. Most buddies add to your life, but there are probably a few you would be better off without. The common denominator for this friends-gone-bad is that they act as if it’s all about them and never about you.
We’re all guilty of being a little self-absorbed at times, but friendship is supposed to be a two-way street. If one of your friends isn’t holding up her end of the bargain, consider calling her on her bad behavior. One word of caution: Before you start friend-cleaning, ask yourself if you fit any of these descriptions. You don’t want one of your pals reading this and deciding to dump you!
The Whiner. Nobody knows the troubles she’s seen. Things most of us accept as part of daily life — carpool snafus, demanding bosses, men with poor communication skills — she treats as evidence that the world is against her. We all enjoy complaining occasionally, but with her, it’s a nonstop moan-fest. Susan, 30, refers to one of her friends as “the Crisis Queen.” “It’s always a catastrophe. It’s draining just to have to hear it,” she says.
The Leech. She treats her friends like servants who exist to feed her dog, cover her shift at work, pick up her dry cleaning or peel her another grape. “She’ll start off asking what I’m up to, but she really just wants to find out if I’m free to help her out,” says Ellen, 39, a single parent, about the leech in her life.
The Busy Bee. She’s the PTA president, a party organizer and a domestic goddess all rolled into one. She makes you feel as if you are but a mere blip on her overscheduled radar screen. She consistently shows up late or says she’s too busy to take your calls. “She makes it seem as if she’s doing you a big favor by making time for you.”
The Yakker. Thank God for the caller ID. Everybody has friends that like to talk (if any of my pals are reading this, please know I’ve got that muzzle on order), but this buddy never lets you get a word in edgewise. In fact, she missed her calling as a telemarketer or a carnival barker. “I could hand the phone to one of the kids for five minutes and she wouldn’t notice,” says Kristy, of her personal Chatty Cathy.”
The Adviser. We all count on our friends for advice but nobody needs a steady stream of unsolicited intervention. Whether this pal is trying to prove how smart she is or start her own counseling practice, she’s got the answer for everything — whether you ask her or not. Jodie says she quit sharing things with one of her friends. “She can’t just listen; she always has to tell me what to do.”
The Dumper Whenever something better comes up, she drops you like yesterday’s business. The worst kind of dumper is the one who treats her female friends like fill-ins or time-passers until a guy comes into the picture.
The Bragger. She’s been there and done that — way better than you have. She just can’t resist telling you how many carats her diamonds are or how much better her office is. She lets you know that your discount designer duds are so last season, while her outfits came straight from the Paris runway.