I have had a few experiences with difficult situations that arose between myself and a friend. I lost a very close friendship when I preferred silence over healthy discussion. To this day I miss this friend. She is the only friend through a silly confrontation that I miss. The other few losses were reliefs.
And, this is what you must decide. Do you walk away? Do you remain silent out of fear of your friends thoughts? Is a friendship worth the risk of the other person turning a deaf ear?
I have learned it is worth the risk. Taking the high road, by divulging your feelings, is the best course of action. Silence solve nothing. It furthers the estrangement.
I had such an experience just recently. My close friend’s comments toward me disappointed me. They were hurtful. This situation went on for about a year.
Finally, I had the last straw. My reaction was to finally delete her from my life. I decided to sleep on it. I pondered and I asked myself did the good far outweigh the bad. In other words was a healthy and truthful discussion worth a risk.
I woke up feeling it was because we are very much in sync. We have so much in common, we are never bored, we laugh, we ponder openly over our problems, we respect one another advice and on and on.
The Moral of the Story
The end result was lovely. She was open and loving and apologized. She did not keep her feelings close to her chest. We both felt, ending our friendship would be a loss and sad for both of us. We are going to talk further over a glass of wine.
Therefore, the moral of the story is: The risk of a negative rebuke from your close friend is worth its weight in gold. The truth may hurt but the end results leaves you with clarity. And, hopefully a stronger bond.
In the course of our lives, we have many relationships, sometimes they are hard. For today’s musings, I would like to discuss how to deal with unbearable people, especially dealing with difficult friends.
All of my stories come from my personal experiences. Here’s one I want to share with you.
The Drama of a Difficult Friend
I was in line at Starbucks waiting to purchase my latte, and overheard two women loudly discussing what sounded like an unbearable friend.
They were aggravated and angry, and said they could no longer tolerate her behavior. These intolerant women were gossiping up a storm. It was two against one! The line was long so I overheard most of their story.
Keeping a Difficult Friend
Darlings, here are my feelings on the topic: If my close friend is unbearable and I notice her problematic behavior is getting worse and it’s affecting me, I still can’t abandon her. She is my friend, and she is important.
I don’t abandon her, but I verbalize my unhappiness by telling her, as kindly as possible, that I can’t stand her actions. Of course, I offer her my help and suggest she get outside help if it is needed. Dear friends, I believe in Karma, “the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, is viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.”
In the right situation, I also believe in ‘delete.’
I am not adverse to moving on from a toxic person when it is necessary. If the unbearable friend is an acquaintance, I would delete her from my life and not put any energy into the relationship. Period.
Now, Back to the Line at Starbucks
The two women carried on and on. I knew by their conversation they had not communicated their feelings to their friend. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I assumed they did not know how to broach the subject and had little experience dealing with difficult friends.
As I walked home I thought about you, dear readers. I wondered if you may be involved in similar sticky situations with critical, overly boastful, selfish, or unkind friends. I don’t know how you define unbearable, but that is my definition.
So, what to do?
My 4-Step Plan for Dealing with Difficult Friends
Remember, “for every action there is a reaction.” Before you can react to her actions, and you are going to, you first have to try and figure out why your friend has become difficult or more unbearable than usual.
That means: Have a difficult conversation!
1. Make a personal phone call. Invite her to lunch.
Pick a comfortable setting like a cozy restaurant. This is serious time and should not be done over the phone or in an email. After all, your friend is in need.
2. Prepare yourself for the conversation.
Has something happened in her life? Does she need counseling? Have a few resources for her to investigate. Perhaps she was always somewhat intolerable, and you were blindsided because she has so many great qualities. Have answers in your mind.
3. Don’t be a bad friend.
Be tolerant and kind, but also prepared to be met with anger.
4. Know that you are doing the right thing.
Dealing with difficult friends takes courage. If she rejects you, consider that this isn’t about you. Persist in being her friend and always take the high road.
Having healthy friendships begins with effective communication strategies. If you are dealing with difficult friends or family members, try what I suggested. As I always said to my grandchildren when they were small…”try, try, try.”
Dear reader, what tools work best when you are dealing with a difficult friend? Share your wisdom in the comments!