Relationships That Aren’t Worth Putting Up With

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

The Jealous Types

There are warnings old as the Bible about those who covet others’ things, and so while it’s not news that the jealous ones are to be avoided, the reality is that it’s sometimes hard to spot them. The jealous types who are insidiously so, tend to be the ones that subtly undermine your confidence. Whether it’s putting down your ideas, laughing at things you care about, or flat out ignoring something positive that has happened in your life. The jealous types are out there to quietly seethe, and sometimes this comes out in weird ways.

The Naysayers

Otherwise known as “The Critics”. For every big idea you have, this is the person who is ready to tell you how it’s not original enough, or it’s impossible, or it really isn’t that good of an idea anyway, or you’re too old, too poor, too silly, too whatever, to achieve it. Constructive criticism is a whole other bag, and it’s not out of bounds for a friend to be honest and express constructive thoughts if they are genuinely concerned about you or your wellbeing.

The Responsibility-Shirkers

Also known as the “Unavailable Friend”. Those who do their best not to act or speak, when it really is up to them, are the Responsibility Shirkers. They mysteriously fall silent when they should speak, or count themselves out when they should appear. It’s a little like lying by omission. Someone who doesn’t stand up for you, who doesn’t seem to be on your team, and who, when you ask for help from them, will look for ways to suggest they shouldn’t be involved/it shouldn’t be up to them anyway. The person who always bows out of what’s important. This kind of Unavailable Friend will likely also ask for your help, your time, and your support. They just don’t reciprocate.

The Emotionally Draining and Drama Cultivators

Some people are just hard work, and they like it that way. And if you like drama too, then congrats! No problems here. But for many of us, there will be people who are extremely emotionally taxing, most of the time. You can tell because afterwards you feel drained. If the person demands constant reassurance, constant support, and perhaps relies on gossip and drama to fuel things, then you might have an Emotional Drainer or Drama Cultivator on your hands.

The Stonewallers and Ghosters

People with whom it’s almost impossible to talk through issues, who shut down conversation before it really can begin… It’s just too hard to really get through to each other, if you proceed from a point of closing down all opportunities for connection and communication. There’s really no good way this can go long term; you feel resentful and angry at being ignored or shut down, and they never engage. Where can you really go from there?

The Narcissists and Status-Obsessives

I really do not care about someone’s Instagram. Sorry. I really don’t care if hanging out with so and so is an important status point . I don’t care about the brand of your car or your handbag or your whatever. I don’t care for you to compete and contrast your x with my y. For this reason, I find the Status-Obsessives and the Narcissists particularly problematic.

A few important conclusions…

I want to finish by saying that some people can have hints of these traits, but still be good friends much of the time. Recognising these qualities is not just about understanding what goes wrong if and when it does, but also helps us to articulate to the person — to help both you and them grow or change into the relationship. I firmly believe that if there are things that feel wrong in a relationship, it can still be very much worth addressing and trying to move the relationship in a better direction. But you have to know your limitations and boundaries for this to be the case. Observation and self-reflection are key.

Emerging fiction author, London Writers Award 2020. Working on my debut novel, rep’d by Kate Evans @ PFD. Podcasting on Author Not Present.

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