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Are They A Friend, Or Just A User

Updated on November 20, 2012
Snow on the mountains and a tree full of oranges
Snow on the mountains and a tree full of oranges | Source

Let's have Dinner

Let's see if you can identify with this scenario. You have an acquaintance that invites you to dinner, and you're totally dreading the encounter. You will do almost anything to avoid this particular invite, because you know the ultimate outcome.......... Alas, dinnertime has arrived, after sitting down, pleasantries exchanged, (you know where this is going), then it begins, the nonstop volley of complaints, put downs, criticisms, etc. Nothing is ever enough, everybody is always wrong, and so on. You soon discover, as usual, it wasn't dinner you were invited to, it was a complaint fest. As always you pay for your dinner by lending a listening ear. Throughout dinner, you're constantly saying to yourself, never again, but you know it's not true. You sit back, and as you listen, you realize the story never changes, it's always all about her, how she's been taken advantage of, how she's always wronged, the usual, and you must listen, and you do so, dutifully.

The scenario

The story goes like this. She's invited to her sister's house for dinner. She's never really gotten along with her, because, "mother always liked her best." Well anyway, when she gets there, she's greeted at the door by those talkative, irritating little brats of her sisters. Oh, she pretends to like them, but they're just so irritating, always talking, and asking her embarrassing questions, like, how old she is, where she works, what kind of car she drives, etc. She smiles sweetly, wishing they'd just leave her alone...........That dumb oaf of a brother-in-law comes in grinning like a Cheshire cat, pelting her with questions she considers none of his business, like, how's work, how's the car running, what her plans for the weekend are? Why don't he just shut up. Okay, dinner is on. What is this, she knows, I don't eat this, it messes with my skin, and besides, she never prepares it the way mother did anyway...............Oh yes, and her sister, Miss Patty Perfect, housekeeper, she's just showing off, because she knows that I don't like to clean. She just invited me over to show off her house, (no she didn't)...................And oh, what a day she had at work. They actually expected her to write that report all by herself, (even though that is her job). "They don't pay me enough," (six figures), for that." After all her manager always ask for and gets help, so why can't she. Oh, and today she took just a little longer lunch, (about 45 minutes), and they complained, again, "what jerks."............ Then when she gets down to the parking lot, that attendant, oh my goodness, he's always up in her face, saying things like, "and how was your day, miss?" Opening her door and saying have a good day," I know what he's up to..........................The traffic, every body's always in her way, that car knew she wanted to make that turn, and the driver just took his own sweet time. Everywhere she looks, "no driving jerks."

Okay, this is not a real scenario, I just made it up to make a point. I remember reading somewhere, a statement that says something to the effect,that, "A PERSON THAT'S ALWAYS AT WAR WITH OTHERS IS NEVER AT PEACE WITH THEMSELVES." Most of us knows someone like that. Who is she/he? Who knows, it might even be us. (Something to think about).

The dissection

Let's dissect this scenario. Those "irritating little brats," for instance, what harm did they do? Aren't those questions kids usually, innocently ask? Yes, and that, "dumb oaf of a brother-in-law," what did he say that was so irritating? He was only showing interest in her as any caring person would, or perhaps he was just making small talk. What about her sister, doesn't she seem like a loving sister, taking the initiative to include her in her family affairs? How about her job? Wouldn't you think that anyone making six figures, (or just having a job today), would be expected to perform up to the standards of someone making her salary? That parking lot attendant, if he said or did nothing, couldn't that be a reason for her to complain? I could go on with the dissection, instead, why don't you take it from here.

What now

After dinner you're completely drained as usual, once more vowing never to do this again. However, you consider that you're the only "friend" this, ungrateful, spiteful, complaining, mean spirited, person has left. She's managed to drive everyone else away. Now the dilemma, what do you do? She says, by implication, that you're her only friend, but this friendship is detrimental to your mental stability. Should you feel responsible for her? Do you always have to be the sounding board for her multiplicity of complaints? In this case, should you be your brother's keeper? Here's something to think about, she complains about everybody that she knows, aren't you somebody that she knows. (I'm just saying).

Here's a few other things to consider.............Why has everyone else disappeared from this person's life? Don't you spend countless hours trying to put out those imaginary fires that she seem to always have, and always trying to help her see the other side of the coin. You spend sleepless nights trying to figure out a way to cut the ties, dreading every time the phone rings, could it be her. You're not free to have other friends, or at least around her. In essence this person is making your life miserable.

Ask yourself, "what haven't I tried to help this person to change?" What could you lose, with the continuation of this "friendship," (could it be peace of mind, friends, sleep, maybe even a little sanity)? What's to gain? Really, is this the kind of friendship that you need. in other words, what are you going to do about this situation? Well, these are questions that you and only you can answer. But whatever your answer is, ask yourself, Can I continue on this way indefinitely, or even do I want to?

What about you

Just a little aside, what about you, are you either of these persons, do you see yourself in any of these situations? (Just asking). Could you afford to take stock of your own actions, and perhaps make some changes? (Another hub).

Do you see yourself or someone you know in this story?

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    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 6 years ago from Southern California

      So right Karen N, I too have known ones like that, and as you said, I've had to cut ties.

      Thanks Jean, you know usually after numerous attempts to help, and prayer, you just have to, as Karen N says, cut ties.

      Thanks Susie Writes, for the validation. I actually wrote the hub because of a situation I witnessed over a period of time, not to me but another friend. I also recommended the step you inadvertently took, telling them about your own life, and making it all about you for a change. Thumbs up to that.

      Thank you all for responding to this hub. Please come back for more of the same, (smile).

    • Susie Writes profile image

      Susan 6 years ago from Northern California

      FF, this is exactly the subject matter I am researching and writing about now - friendships. I had a "friend" who was exactly as you have described, always negative, filled with hate, abusive to family, pets, etc... I listened to a lot of her garbage and did not realize how seriously it affected my life until she dumped me because I was in the throes of my own life crises and our relationship was no longer all about her and her issues in life. At first I was hurt but then ... I began to feel lighter in spirit. My energy returned. I started writing again, sewing, crafting, seeing the beauty of life all around me - just like I did prior to meeting her.

      These black holes of negativity are insidious. They suck you in, telling you how wonderful you are and how much they love you and need your friendship. You want to help make their lives better. But what these vampires need is not a friend to suck the life out of, they need to pay a therapist. Keep them out of your life!

    • jean2011 profile image

      jean2011 6 years ago from Canada

      I have come across people like the ones in your hub. Whenever I can help I help, but most of the times I ask God to help them see how they can change. Very interesting article. I have voted it interesting!

    • Karen N profile image

      Karen N 6 years ago from United States

      I've known a few people like this. Eventually for your own sake you may have to cut your ties to them.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Unfortunately I know quite a few of those characters. Actually that's how I write my hubs, from people and incidences that I'm familiar with. Thank you msannec for stopping over and taking time to read my hub. See you soon.

    • msannec profile image

      msannec 8 years ago from Mississippi (The Delta)

      Sounds just like quite a few of my family members, how did you know them, lol. Great post, I enjoyed reading it.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Hi uliveulearn, I like your moniker. Good to meet you here in the community, welcome.

    • uliveulearn profile image

      uliveulearn 8 years ago from Canada

      Thought provoking and something most can relate to. I always say some people I can only take in small doses at a time. I have a few things in common with you. Somewhat seasoned in life, grown children and a grandma. I am just getting started here and enjoy your hubs.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you so much Duchess, I do agree about the friend to vent with, if only it were just that, it would be okay, but too often it goes too far. Thanks for weighing in on this hub. Please come again soon.

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 8 years ago

      I think everyone, if they are truthful, can say that having a true friend gives you leeway to vent when it's needed. But you are right fastfreda, you can't live your life that way. It's unproductive, but often we don't see it in ourselves until someone points it out to us. I know I have been guilty of this on occasion, and I have friends who are not afraid to tell me when I am. So, if you have a friend like this, if you really consider yourself a friend, you need to let them know. [Just my opinion :)]

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks habee, I will, you know I like your hubs.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Good hub - kinda funny and sad at the same time. FF, please go read my funny, true story about how a fellow hubber repaired my car! I think you'll get a laugh or two!

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Actually I know of a situation, but not in my life. I've heard that term, "toxic friend," before, but not the "serial friendship killer," I love it. I totally agree with all you said. Thanks for everything.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Fastfreta,

      This is such a common scenario. I absolutely love the way you developed it. Sounds like you actually have (or had) someone like this in own life.

      I think the terms for this person is a "toxic friend."

      Since it's so totally one-sided and the toxic friend is so self-centered, she will never change. The best thing to do is cut the ties and run, run, run. She will inevitably try to make you feel guilty. But she is a serial (friendship) killer, so will soon find her next victim.

      The only thing that can change a person like that is having a psychic change -- becoming spiritual and humble!

      Really enjoy your writing, lady!

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Warren E, thank you so much for your comments. I agree with your perception and the suggestion is well taken. Thank you for stopping by. please come again soon.

    • Waren E profile image

      Waren E 8 years ago from HAS LEFT THE BUILDING............

      I know a few people like that and they really can't perceive themselves as being that way,making them aware of how they are,in a kind and informative way can help a lot,like casually and openly recording their behavior on a cell phone and playing it back for them privately,in casual and innocent way!

      "Proverbs15:30 The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: [and] a {good report} maketh the bones *fat."(*healthy)!

      I enjoyed reading this,and I hope my comment serves the purpose of this hub!:)

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks Veronica for stopping by, please come again.

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 8 years ago from Georgia

      Very well written. It's so true that a person at war with others is never at peace with themselves.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you Paul and BJC, this has been an interesting hub. I love to hear real life situations. I took the issue to the forum to see what I get. Should be interesting.

    • profile image

      BJC 8 years ago

      Very honest hub as most of us know someone like this. Some people like to complain because they like being the center of attention or they have a low self-esteem and are "needy" people. I try to look at the positive in them and steer them to the positive side - make them laugh at something silly. Some people though will always see the glass half-full.

    • Paul Marshall profile image

      Paul Marshall 8 years ago from Australia

      WOW ! This hub hit very close to home. To answer the inevitable question, I could no longer handle such selfishness & we went our seperate ways. Even more interesting, the person was my wife, & that is why I am A Single Dad.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      As usual, thank you emohealer, what a nice person you must be to be around.

    • emohealer profile image

      Sioux Ramos 8 years ago from South Carolina

      I was very amused as I read through your scenario, yes I have seen it and when I did it was just as amusing then. First off I enjoy dinner way to much to talk much about anything but enjoying dinner, sometimes with my mouthful. Folks can and will say whatever they want to when I am not around, but it is just sort of understood if any one knows me or knows of me, while I am there everyone is going to have an enjoyable experience or don't invite me. If I find that I am uninvited somewhere, that is a good thing, because my peaceful way is being respected.

      I always enjoy and appreciate sitting down and listening as you talk while my eyes read your hubs. Well put, well thought out and always uplifting. Thank You!

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you all, create a page, ladydijay, ashleyr, this is a hot topic, and I certainly will put it in the forum. You all made valid points, thanks for that, these also enhance my hub.

    • profile image

      ashleyr24 8 years ago

      Another great one! I have seen people like the negative person in your scenario. I've also seen the "pleaser" in this scenario as well. The person who just sits there and listens to all of her friends complaints either because she's too afraid to hurt her friends feelings (the truth hurts) or afraid her friend will get mad at her and turn on her. It is very important that we choose our friends wisely. Oftentimes this whole situation could have been avoided if the other person saw what type of person the negative person was from the beginning and distanced herself before they've become too attached. This is just my opinion though, nothing psychologically researched here (as you can probably tell). I'm just adding to what your blog so gracefully verbalized. . . This is a hot topic. Good job on this one. As always, enjoyed your Hub!

    • profile image

      ladydijay 8 years ago

      This helps me to examine my self, and also reminds me of the reason I don't want to go to some of the meals I'm invited too. Go fastfreta.

    • create a page profile image

      create a page 8 years ago from Maryland, USA

      Yes fastfreta you did it again. I know two children (both only two years old) who are just like that negative person. They are the best of friends and the worse of friends. I find the only thing that works is to separate them. If I don't one would literally kill the other.

      My view of the characters can be summarized by the following proverbs:

      'misery loves company'

      'birds of a feather flock together'

      'show me your friend and I'll tell you who you are'

      In addition, I have to agree with James Ginn, someone needs to share the love of Jesus with her. I also support alekhouse's idea to put it in the forum. You should get some very, very, very interesting comments there.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      BK, Brenda, alekhouse, cindyvine, typep, DoodleLyn I love it, thank you all, just what I was looking for. And alekhouse I will do just that put it out in the forum.

    • DoodleLyn profile image

      DoodleLyn 8 years ago from Upstate New York, USA

      I guess I would be the "listening and dreading" friend, though I'm working on fixing that. I, too, am eliminating toxic people from my friend list. Life is too short, and I am too "seasoned" to let that kind of negativity into my psyche. Thanks for yet another great hub! You're my hero!

    • typep profile image

      typep 8 years ago

      The negative one is my mother in-law! ;-)

      Thanks great read!

    • cindyvine profile image

      Cindy Vine 8 years ago from Cape Town

      Yeah, you often come across negative people like that who always find something to complain about. I reckon, we just feed them bitter aloes every time they complain. What ya think?

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Well, I have to totally agree with BKCreative. As I get older, I have done the same thing. My friends, whom I select carefully, do not bring me down; nor do they want to spend our "precious" time together tearing down other people.

      Good hub, Freta and great topic for discussion. You should throw it out on the forums.

    • profile image

      \Brenda Scully 8 years ago

      ha ha ha brilliant as always

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Fortunately, I am too old for this fastfreta - and I mean that in the best way possible.

      As I got older not only have I removed toxic situations from my life - but should one come about, I have given myself the right, as an elder, to speak on it. Can't wait for someone to give me peace of mind - I have to take it.

      That's the nice thing about getting older - you finally know for sure you don't have to put up with someone's drama and it should not be expected of you!

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Great response James, and I agree that what goes in, must come out, (chaos). Thanks for stopping.

    • James Ginn profile image

      James Ginn 8 years ago from Ohio

      You are a wise enough woman to know that a mind full of chaos begets a life full of chaos. Her "friends" deserted her because they didn't recognize her "illness." The only prescription here is for a real friend to share the joy of life wth Jesus. Even at that, I can't say I'd want to drive cross country with her in my car.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks Feline Prophet, I had hopped to get responses like yours. Thanks for that.

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 8 years ago

      This sounds so familiar! I find that sometimes I continue to put up with this sort of behaviour because I basically dislike confrontation. I know it is counter productive, and the relationship isn't bringing me anything but grief...but I find it difficult to ruthlessly severe ties. Sigh.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      I have seen several situations where both of these people exists. I left the hub open to for responses just like yours, thanks for your response.

    • DynamicS profile image

      Sandria Green-Stewart 8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      fastfreta, very intersting. I do not know anyone like either persons you mentioned. But if I did, I'd tell the complainer the truth - she has no friends because she is too negative and people can't stand her for that. I'd also tell the friend who is being a martyr that she is not being a true friend. She should set some ground rules for their friendship. Like whenever they get together, she cannot say anything negative or complain about anything. If she does, then you will change the subject. Both should continue being friends as long as it is possible, but in the end both friends must have their needs met for the friendship to continue.

      I sense that this may be a real scenario that you have witnesses?