Many of us have been in belittling friendships and relationships where we feel suffocated. Perhaps it is because some of us get into situations where we give it so much of our time and energy, that we start erasing the boundaries of self-respect, and before we know it, have a situation that is unbelievable, and must be cut short.
There are fantastic people in the world.
I know, because I’m always meeting them, wherever I go. But I’ve also had my fair share of nincompoops and creeps: something about being 153 cm tall and about 100 pounds makes me a great target for people thinking they can terrorize me, and push me around.
Hence, I’ve learnt that the best way to cope with it is to out the negativity. Taking control of my life- you only live once, and there is no point in sticking around for crappy behaviour.
You’re not Gandhi and waiting for a miracle that may never come means that you’re putting yourself on the back burner for other people’s expectations of you whilst not paying enough attention to you. Who you are. What desires and goals and hopes you have.
Here are ten signs you may be in a situation where a fresh start is warranted. We all deserve to feel valued and secure in our assertions, and in our friendships and relationships. After all, whilst birds of the same feather do flock together, the other adage that is even more important to keep in mind, is that we truly are a reflection of the company we keep.
1. You are the one making all the phonecalls and the effort.
Are they not reciprocating? Spent weeks and months making calls, and your time is taken for granted? There is such a thing as being perseverence, and there is a fine line between perseverence and nagging. Move on. Your life is too short to play second fiddle.
2. You are verbally and emotionally abused as a means of this person to reach the end of feeling good about themselves.
Are swear words a part of this mate’s daily lexicon, when you get Do you often find that you get labelled, and that to, unnecessarily so? CUT IT, your life is too short for sadomasochism.
3. Your “friend” steals from you.
It can be a little thing such as “borrowing” your clothes when you’re on vacation, or eating all your food without asking if they’re your roommate, but unless you’ve established that this is okay from the start, taking something that belongs to you without asking is akin to stealing. End of story.
4. You feel uncomfortable around this friend to the point that your hair is constantly prickled…
We all have moments of discomfort and it’s great to get out of our comfort zones and challenge ourselves, but challenges should not come at the cost of constantly feeling eerie or having to watch your step. Trust your gut instinct. Even if it’s a friend of a friend who comes as a legitimately vouched for person, don’t fall into the obligation trap of having to entertain those who simply set you off the wrong way.
5. Your “friend” is constantly lying to you or are unable to keep their word.
If someone takes you for granted, they take your values and your assertions for granted, not to mention your time. You’ll find that you’re always the one making an effort. And when they start lying to you about petty things, or continue to do so even after you’ve expressed disgust at such behavioural tendencies, just remember that temerity comes in many forms- and people who do not value you will often start out by telling you little white lies to placate you.
6. You are threatened with their suicide if you don’t do exactly what they want.
Look, being shoved to the back burner is one thing. But if someone threatens you constantly with them taking their life if you don’t do exactly what they want, this a manipulative fart. Exercise some control over your surroundings. Move on. Do it. NOW.
7. Your friend excuses their crappy behaviour because of (insert substance) addictions.
Anyone who is unwilling to take responsibility for their actions has serious issues. These issues are best addressed by a doctor or a therapist: you don’t owe it to anyone to constantly have to counsel them. Make references and suggestions of authoritative figures, mayhaps, but you’re not there to pick up after other people’s substance abuse. Take yourself out of this equation.
8. You are the constant object of someone’s ridicule and jokes.
You are a smart and intelligent person, especially if you’ve made it thus far in the article. Pat yourself in the back. There is no point in lowering your standards. I recall Eleanor Roosevelt‘s strong words, where she states something along the lines great minds talk about ideas, average minds about places, and pathetic minds, about people. Someone attacking you instead of intellectually endeavouring to answer your queries? Move on.
9. You find that your “friend’ has suddenly quit their job and you’re footing their bill.
It’s great to help out those in trouble. But be careful- if you’re footing someone’s bill constantly, chances are they are not simply taking you for granted, they are using you. Especially if the behaviour of getting you to take care of the bill and the rent continues for longer than four weeks, refer this friend to their parents or other guardians. It’s not your problem.
10. You find out that your secrets are suddenly on Wikipedia.
No, but seriously- trust is an important thing. Kahlil Gibran said something very profound once, about how if you reveal your secrets to the wind, don’t blame the wind for revealing them to the trees. I’m paraphrasing, but the point really is that if someone is saying rubbish about other people to you, they’re certainly doing the same about you when you’re not present. Be very careful when you see symptoms of this. Abort friendship missives, immediately.
11. False familiarity is a powerful weapon.
I’ve been in situations where I’ve met someone and found that they have gone around claiming all sorts of affiliations to me after meeting me a couple of times. This is symptomatic of a deeply insecure person who needs to have strong affiliations with others in order to feel good about themselves. The trouble with this kind of person is that they actually do begin to fall apart if you try to extricate yourself from their presence. Do so with caution- try not to burn bridges but simply wean off. But if someone is claiming to be your best friend and you don’t even know them, even if you were play school mates or even if you just met them at a party, remain alert. This kind of person easily becomes an enemy: they are incapable of true friendship or empathy. Take control. Move on.
- Taking Your Partner for Granted: Its Pleasures – and Perils (psychologytoday.com)
- Toxic Relationships (psychologytoday.com)
- Fickle Friends (laurenakramer.wordpress.com)
- Friendships… (esserzoo.wordpress.com)
- On Friendship (pawsitivelydelightful.com)
- Weeding out the negative and Growing Pains (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)