Deal With Difficult Friends

We’ve all been there. We all like to believe that everybody else is like us and it baffles us when we are treated in a manner far less than we deserve by people we think of as ‘friends’. The truth is, we are humans and sometimes we act in odd ways. Trying to deal with tricky friends can be one of the most frustrating things of all, so I have tried to come up with some effective ways of managing this issue. I came up with this blog post after a trip away with a few friends. It was great, except for the odd moment here and there and this is where these steps came from, so I’d say these tips are great for dealing with friends when you are together for a reasonably long period of time/living together at uni or something similar.

Number 1: Never rise to it. This is the hardest piece of advice to follow through. No matter how much you feel your fists flexing ready to punch your friend square in the face, try and deep breathe and let the moment pass. They may be tired/fed up/any number of other reasons for being cranky and difficult and it may just be up to you to let them calm down and their annoying moment pass. If you don’t rise to the bait, an unnecessary argument can be avoided

Number 2: Linked to Number 1, Put yourself into your friends shoes: On a recent trip away, I had to remind myself that one of my friends was extremely tired and it was her ‘time of the month’ and they were probably reasons for her irritability. It doesn’t excuse bad behaviour, but being a little bit empathetic towards others helps to diffuse yourself from getting angry

Number 3: Don’t involve money. Money can be lethal for friendships. A couple of pounds here or there is usually fine, but when you start doing ‘favours’ spending a decent chunk of money on the taxi, or the tea and cake, or whatever it may be, and the ‘favour’ isn’t returned (even though a favour is a favour) it can cause immense tension. Stick to your own budget, pay anything back you owe even if it isn’t immediately asked for and only offer to pay for something as a favour if you really mean it. If you’re being truly kind and splashing a bit of your cash, do it selflessly and don’t expect to be paid back, otherwise, like I said, keep to your own limits

Number 4: Assess your own behaviour. I originally said Number 1 is the hardest step to follow, and while this is true, this step is also equally challenging. When you feel like your friend is being difficult, have a quick assessment of how you’re behaving. This is difficult because we often don’t realise we’re behaving in a particular way and we never like to believe that we could be in the wrong. But seriously, take a figurative look in the mirror and just double check that you yourself aren’t being tricky/over-sensitive/difficult before you follow step 5…

Number 5: When a friend’s behaviour crosses the line, don’t be afraid to address it. After following all the above steps, if your friend is still behaving out of line, say something. If you value your friendship, then saying something in a careful way (not blowing up because you’ve let your animosity fester and fester) will be good for your relationship, it won’t end it. Like I said before, sometimes we don’t realise how we are behaving and this may be true of your friend. If so, they need to be told that they are acting inappropriately and you will feel better for getting things off of your chest. Sit them down and explain what they are doing wrong in your eyes and how it is affecting you

Finally, if all else fails, go and have some quiet ‘you’ time! The best way to deal with a difficult friend, is sometimes to have a break from them. Walk away and have some breathing space.