I’m in a very happy place right now where my friendships are concerned. But that didn’t happen without me culling some “unnecessary hanger-ons” from my life. For a lasting relationship to be meaningful, it has to be a mutually beneficial one for both parties and, as soon I realise that there is no such balance, I have no problems cutting that person out completely. It may sound harsh but truth is, everyone’s lives are so hectic and busy. You barely have the time to maintain the friendships that you treasure, let alone the ones that suck up your time and energy without giving anything back in return.
Start being kinder to yourself by cutting these four types of friends out from your life.
1. The Drainer
“The Drainer” is what I call the person who makes it about her all the time. When you meet up, she’s always complaining about work, how much her life sucks, what a douchebag her boyfriend is being, how the world owes her a living. Of course, friends should be able to confide in each other. But something is definitely wrong if you’ve met up for her, and all she’s done is spent the last two hours talking about herself without asking about what’s been going on in your life. “The Drainer” is an apt term to describe her because she has like a vampire – all she does is suck up your time, energy and goodwill. This person doesn’t need a friend – she needs a therapist.
2. The Barnacle
This is the friend who only seems to have one friend – you. That must be the reason why she expects you to hang out with every Friday night, and takes it very personally when you try to gently let her down. She has all these strange rules about all these obligations friends have to each other and has no qualms guilt-tripping you when you are unable to meet up with her. Being her friend is like being in a relationship – without all the fun parts. I mean, to start with, the reason why you became friends with her when you guys were still in school was because you felt sorry for her. Now that everyone has their own life to lead, this friend needs to grow a pair of (metaphorical) balls and stop using you as a crutch to make her feel better about herself.
3. The “Conservative”
She went to uni, landed herself a job in the civil service, got married by 27, and had two kids by the time she was 30. Nothing wrong with that, of course, except that that’s not how YOU want to live your life. This friend, however, is critical of the choices that you’ve made in your life because she deems them “risky”. Her catchphrases: “You’ve got a great job. Why would you want to quit to go backpacking around the world?” “Why would you want to take Job A when Job B pays better?” “Are you sure you want to date Guy C? I don’t think he’s earning a lot.” This friend has something judge-y to say about every decision you make about your life that’s filtered through her tunnel, microscopic vision and she cannot imagine that someone else will want to live their lives any differently than from her “safe” existence. You don’t really need to justify your life decisions to anyone, so this friend simply has to go.
4. The “Grey-Zoner”
I’ve nothing against the whole “friends with benefits” arrangement – we’re all adults here – just as long you’re clear about the lines that are drawn. But things can get messy quickly if you start to develop feelings and expect a more from him (like a real relationship, maybe?). He, on the other hand, seems … well, ambivalent. He often says things like, “I’m not ready for a relationship right now” or “I’m keeping my options open” to maintain the distance he wants, but he’s not exactly pushing you away either. When you decide to take charge of this situation and start to pull away, he doesn’t take the hint and, in fact, goes out of his way to be extra nice to you, screwing with your mind even more. I hate to break it to you, but just because you’re friends with this guy doesn’t make his douchebaggery any more forgiveable. In fact, you should take him to task for not taking your feelings seriously. There are no two ways around it: he wants the good things that come with being in a relationship while fobbing off the inevitable responsibilities that come with being in one. You don’t deserve to be treated with such disrespect. Put aside whatever feelings you have for this guy and cut him out from your life. TODAY.
About the Author: Denise Li is a founder of Material World and a freelance writer-editor. Before that, she spent a few years in the Features section of CLEO and Cosmopolitan Singapore. She considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and makes it a point to head there for a yearly pilgrimage. She’s also a fitness buff and enjoys boxing, running and the occasional yoga session. She can safely say that she only has kind, generous and intelligent people as friends. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseLiTweets.
[If You Like This, You May Also Like]