Getting Rid of Unhealthy Friendships
There's a group of women that I know (I won't mention any names). They are just regular people on the outside; if you don't know them very well, you would think they were normal, well-liked, unassuming women. However, if you know them well, you will see them for what they really are: jealous, phony, envious, rude, self-absorbed gossips! Why do people feel it is necessary to talk behind other people's backs? Then, they have the nerve to talk to you as if you are best friends when they see you in person.
I've known this group of women for several years now. Don't get me wrong, I actually met with them socially on many occasions. We had some nice times together; I guess I was more tolerant of their behavior then, but slowly I realized that I wasn't being true to my nature by spending time with them. Even though I did not participate in telling the gossip or talking about other people, I did listen to the conversation. I realized that I was being hypocritical, so I slowly eased myself out of my social relationship with these women.
Don't feel sorry for me, I have other people to be friends with. We talk about recipes, our favorite television shows, current events, etc. While we give our opinions on matters and don't always agree, we are not participating in that annoying gossip: who went where, who was wearing what or laughing at someone else's expense. These women talk about everyone. In a two minute conversation with them, you could hear it all. I don't care what someone else's child did; I care about my own. I don't care who has a new handbag and how much it cost or who was invited to a party and who was not. If I like someone's handbag, I will tell them so, I will not try to find it at the store or online to see how much they paid for it and then talk about it with others. Yes, they have done this! I don't care what name brand you are wearing. If I like what you are wearing, I will compliment you and if I don't, I'll just keep it to myself. I will not call you to tell you about the awful outfit someone was wearing. Yes, they do that too!
Through the years, I have heard them talk about many people behind their backs and then talk to them as if they were great friends in person. A majority of their conversations are gossip and then of course, the other part is the complaining! Why is there so much homework? My son has ten tests this week. It's not fair that my child didn't win the award or get the part he wanted in the play. Oh, how many times did I hear all of this before; I decided to make a clean break!
It didn't happen over night; I had to be subtle. I started to politely decline invitations for getting together. I kept face to face conversations short and sweet. Finally, the phone calls stopped. My house was quiet in the afternoons and evenings. There were not any more phone calls about "who did what to whom" and "you're not going to believe this" or "I'm so annoyed." I found that what used to be hectic afternoons of cooking dinner and kids doing homework, could be so calm without the barrage of phone calls.
Other people have noticed their behavior, but are more willing to put up with it because they don't want to miss out on the invitations and social interactions. I just can't be phony. My relationship with them was becoming too draining. They did not think they were doing anything wrong. I couldn't take hearing them talk about other people's children. They probably talked about my family too; nothing and no one was off limits. They even spoke about each other! Now, the three of them are thick as thieves. When they are engrossed in conversation, the building could collapse and they won't notice! That's how self absorbed they are.
I am still politely friendly with these women. I wish them well for birthdays and holidays and I will chat with them if I run into them at school or at a social event, but I am free of the craziness and I don't miss it at all. I still witness the phoniness here and there and I am sure that my "split" from them was a huge conversation maker between them and others who noticed. I don't care though because I know I can face people and talk to people without being fake. If I like your company, I will spend time with you; if I don't, I will be polite but short. Whether you are my favorite person or not, I can guarantee I won't talk about you behind your back.
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