Tips for dealing with difficult friends and why you shouldn’t give up on them

March 28, 2017 Published by
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Honey Good talks about dealing with difficult friends

In the course of our lives, we have many relationships. 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 past and present experiences. Here is the latest one…

The Story

I was in line at Starbucks waiting to purchase my latte, with my pooch Orchid, and overheard two women discussing what sounded like an unbearable friend. They said they could no longer tolerate her behavior. They were aggravated and angry. They were quite intolerant. They were two against one! They were gossiping up a storm. The line was long so I heard most of the story.

This is my feeling on the topic:  If my close friend has a tendency to be unbearable and I notice she is getting worse and it’s affecting me, I still can’t abandon her. She is my friend. I will verbalize my unhappiness by telling her, as kindly as possible, that I can’t stand her actions. I will offer her my help and suggest she get outside help. I believe in Karma, dear friends, “the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, is viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.”

I also believe in ‘delete.’ I am not adverse to moving on. If the friend is an acquaintance, I would delete her from my life. I would not put any energy into the relationship. Period.

Now, back to the line at Starbucks, dear readers.

They carried on and on and 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.

As I walked home with Orchid I thought about you, dear readers, who may be involved in similar sticky situations with often critical or overly boastful or selfish or rude or unkind friends. I don’t know how you define unbearable but that is my definition.

So what to do?

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 have to try and figure out why your friend has become unbearable or more unbearable than usual. That means: Have a conversation!

This would be my plan:

1. Make a personal phone call. Invite her to lunch. Pick a comfortable setting like a cozy restaurant. This is serious time. This 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.  Or, was she always somewhat intolerable and you were blindsided because she has so many great qualities? Have answers in your mind.

3. Be tolerant. Be kind. Be a friend. Be prepared to be met with anger.

4.  Know that you are doing the right thing. If she rejects you, this isn’t about you. Persist.

I am not currently dealing with difficult friends. But, if I was, I would try what I suggested. As I always said to my grandchildren when they were small…Try. Try. Try.

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19 Comments

  • Tracy says:

    I would add when they do have this conversation that one speaks while the other one listens. We don’t want her to feel like she is being double teamed.

    I do have one friend who can be difficult because she is very much a know it all but I am still her friend. I just deal with her in moderation. It works for both of us.

    Happy new year.

    Tracy

    • Honey Good says:

      You are so right. Each person should validate the other person’s feelings, too. It is called caring and friendship and consideration of another’s feelings. Happy New Year to you and yours. Warmly, Honey

  • Wanda Rosa says:

    I really like your suggestion I think we need to give the opportunity to said what we think. When l was in this situation I just get time for her to change and way praying for her, then I went back , I find out the person had a lot of health issus that let her act different but I couldn’t understand on that time. I decided to take some time out then came back. Thank you for your suggestion I will try to do it .

  • Dawn says:

    One of the issues currently affecting relationships is the divisive presidential election. I don’t want to get into a debate with those friends who are polar opposite than me politically. However, requesting that we keep the conversation in a political-free zone seems to fall on deaf ears for some of them.

    • Honey Good says:

      Politicians no longer care about Americans. They care about themselves. It is now party against party instead of each party caring about the welfare of Americans and America. Amen. They are good examples of ‘how not to be.’ Warmly, Honey

  • Ellen McDermott says:

    I have a friend with the "perfect life"…you know. ..the best spouse….brilliant children. ..exceptional grandchildren. ..blah blah blah. I am tolerate until I get that second glass of wine down. ..and then I let loose.

    • Honey Good says:

      Well, obviously she respects and values your friendship, And, a friendship is a real friendship when you can state your feelings honestly, even though it takes two glasses of wine. Warmly, Honey

  • Doris says:

    Very good advice ✅✅ this keeps your sanity in ✅✅ an allows people to grow????????????

  • This is a good,common sense article.Very helpful to one who is just finding the resouces about this part.It will certainly help educate me.

  • Derah says:

    Honey – this article came through as I googled the nagging question of whether I keep having a friendship with her. A 30+ friendship with this woman ((15 years older) than myself. She is 80 now. I lost my husband in 2014, then she lost hers in 2017. I call her and she talks non-stop about herself and every problem in her life – she has no boundaries and she has no respectful listening skills. She talks incessantly and talks over me constantly. We live 4 hrs apart so phone is the best way to stay in touch but seriously I am losing patience with her rude selfish communication or lack thereof skills. We used to share good times but I am concerned that now as she lives alone she has no self control (like her wonderful husband did) to reign herself in when she rants on & on. Her behaviour pushes me away even if I have told her that sometimes she just needs to listen & stop talking. I dont think she is even aware of herself. I am concerned that her behaviour seems out of the norm for someone like her that I have known so long.

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      I think you are correct to be concerned.She lost her husband in 2017 and as a widow myself when I was in my 40″s the mourning process can go on for a long time.If she has family and friends in her community that you know it might be a good idea to reach out to them. Also, listen to what topics she talks about the most, non-stop. You may get at hint on what is going on in her life. She needs you. Help her, if you can especially since this is not her normal behavior. Keep in touch with me. Warmly, Honey

  • FREEshavacadoo says:

    Yeah i know, I have this friend who asks for rides ALL the time!!!!!!! he is so ungrateful when he gets in the car and he eats all my food. I CANT handle this ANYMORE!!!! and his SISTER! Dont get me started.

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      I have a word for these type of difficult friends: DELETE! If you love them deep down, have a conversation and set ‘YOUR” rules. Warmly, Honey

  • Jonny Nrobo says:

    Often I feel like I am below the norm for a person my age. I persistently rely on an unreliable sister and am surprised when she is unable to get me places, so I am forced to take out my temper on whimpering freshman who are physically unable to defend themsleves.

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      You must learn to rely on your own decisions even when you make a mistake. This is how you learn more about yourself and your needs. Even a wrong decision is positive. Warmly, Honey

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