You can probably scroll through my entire website and find an article or two similar to this one. I guess it's something I speak about often only because it rears its ugly head again and again. At this point in my life, I just want uncomplicated and pleasant friendships with no hidden agendas, or jealousy or some sort of underlining anger. I also want to say that I'm not easily offended, unless it happens more than a dozen times. Then I'm at my boiling point, where the comebacks or even downright insults (proverbial slaps in the face) come rising up to the surface. Simple rule of mine: be nice to me and I'll be nice to you. But I keep finding people who are just...not very nice. I'm very observant to the possible causes and can empathize. But I could never randomly hurt someone, or insult them, even if I didn't particularly care for them. It's not how I work. But when someone presses my buttons more often than not, I tend to be a little more blunt, perhaps even abrasive as I confront their behavior. I get friends who like to point out my "issues" in my relationship, while fumbling with their non-existent ones. Either their "significant other" is cheating on them, or they're using them for money, and some are with them because they came in 2nd place being rejected by their 1st choice. I tend to get digs about "you deserve better" and others have said, "it must be nice to be a kept woman" -- thinking I do diddly squat here just because I work from home. I do get a lot of that, and it usually never bothers me, unless it's coming from a very resentful place. I always ask, "What's the motive behind that one?" As they say, familiarity breeds contempt.
Here's the thing: friendships shouldn't be judgmental. They should be caring, understanding and relatable. It should be a give and take---a special bond where you can tell your friend absolutely anything in a nonjudgmental environment. It shouldn't be a competition of whose life is better. I see it like this: if my life seems worse than yours, then how can you help me improve? Maybe make me laugh and tell me something positive that you believe in. A true friend will uplift and edify you---not tear you down.
"Oh, you cook? Well I can do that better."
"Oh, you like photography? Well, I can do that better."
"Oh, you have a website and write? Well, I can market that better than you can."
It never ends! This is why most of the time, I keep to myself and just stick by my old friends from high school and hang out with some of the people I work along with. There's no tension there, there's no judgement, no complications.
Another thing I've come across are friends who have a hidden agenda---the ones who make sexual innuendos or even 'romantic' innuendos. If you're the type of person that hits on another person who is married, then I have to wonder how desperate you are that you would try to be a homewrecker in order to have a relationship. When a relationship starts off with one person breaking up with their ex---then that person will end it with you the same way. If you are OK with being the "homewrecker" type, then you're not the type of person I'd want to associate with. People like that are insecure---they think in their tiny little minds that they're "playing it safe" all the while, hurting a special union between two people, possibly tearing the couple apart. They're also the types of people who like a challenge---to see if they can get the person to tear away from their spouse. It's kinda gross. They want what they can't have, and that's a special kind of mental illness I won't even approach. If a friend does not respect your relationship or marriage, then my advice would be to keep a safe distance from them.
The older I get, the more I wonder about people and their motives. I also question their integrity---do they walk the walk that they're preaching? Nobody's perfect, but if you insult me and say, "Oh you shouldn't eat that, you'll gain weight," while shoving three or more fast food tacos down your throat, whilst smoking a pack of cigarettes afterwards, then you're a different kind of "special" I can't relate to. I've been told, "You need to get out more," while they're sitting in a florescent lit office for 8+ hours, to only go home and play video games, as I'm walking around the pond in the late afternoon for exercise. Like, what is wrong with this picture? My work is very different than most, and my time spent outdoors is more than most would think. I quit drinking, which limits my time out in bars, so the assumption, "she doesn't get out much" is usually because I'm not sucking down a couple of martinis, followed by a half dozen glasses of wine some hole in the wall until 2am. I found quality of life in staying sober, thankfully.
I keep my circle of friends small. I have quality friends, I don't need quantity. I don't want to deal with insecure, narcissists who have delusions of grandeur, who belittle you all because they truly believe that they're healthier than you, that they're wealthier than you, and that they have a better relationship than you do---or they just think they know what's best for you. I don't need to be mocked because of my anxiety disorder, while they pop a few Xanax and Ambien to calm themselves down at night. I'm tired of hypocrites. I'm tired of people who hurt people. And of course, I know that from experience, because hurt people usually hurt people. I get that. I understand that. And, I'm also a very forgiving person. I just lack trust in people. I usually like to give the benefit of the doubt. But when it's on a consistent basis, where all you're doing is trying to defend yourself, or trying to make them understand why their judgments are so harsh---it's time to take a step back and shut the door to your closed circle.
"Don't tell people your problems. Eighty percent don't care, and the other twenty percent are glad you have them." ---Lou Holtz
For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at Deb's Cucina for some of her famous recipes!