A reader who I’ll refer to as P. wrote to ask why people think they can treat you nice one minute and then become hurtful. Her friend picks on her unfairly, calling her stupid and other names. She hurls insults at P. for little things, like forgetting something, even things she herself does. One minute this friend can be nice and the next she blows things P. does out of proportion in mean ways. P. said she has to accept her “quirky ways” to remain friends with her but said it’s a challenge to do so. She’s taking a break from her for a while.
In my opinion, the friend isn’t quirky. She’s nasty. P. is wondering what she can do to accept her friend. I always recommend dropping friend like that permanently, not just for a while. But if you have a friend like that and would like to at least try to change the dynamics, you can speak to her and set a boundary. Write down some very specific things your friend has done that hurts you. Bring it with you when you speak to her. Find a peaceful time to talk. Try to stay friendly. Being confrontational will make her defensive.
Tell her honestly that you don’t like when she behaves like this and will walk away when she does it in the future. If she doesn’t like what you say explain that the choice is hers. You don’t want to end the friendship but you can no longer tolerate unacceptable behavior. Is she willing to make an effort or would she rather you stop interaction with her? Let her know that if her friendship didn’t mean so much to you, you’d have just dropped her. So you’d appreciate her seriously considering what you’re sharing.
If she goes on the defensive or verbally attacks you, walk away and don’t look back. I’ve had to let go of good friends who had a mean streak or didn’t know what being a friend meant when they pushed me too far. It can hurt to let go of someone you want in your life but remind yourself that you don’t want to be treated badly. You DESERVE better treatment! Love yourself enough to cut your losses if your friend doesn’t want to change.
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