Friends are important. You need to have them. They help you through the tough times and celebrate the good times with you. But the truth of the matter is that friendship is hard work, especially as you get older and need to divide your time between family, work and taking care of yourself. That's why it's important to learn to be discerning about who you choose to be friends with. Some types of friends are the type that are worth your time. Other friendships just aren't worth nurturing.
Here is a look at five common types of friends that you might be better off without:
- The friend you always feel like you "should" call. This person isn't the person that you call because you genuinely want to know how he's doing. You don't call because you've been thinking about him and miss talking to him. You don't call because you're having a tough time and know that he's going to say exactly the right thing. This is the friend that you call because you feel like you have to. Maybe you've been friends for a really long time and you've just outgrown each other but you can't let each other go. Maybe this friend really likes you and is always trying to make an effort to spend time with you and there's no good reason not to like this person, you just don't care that much about him either way. You shouldn't invest a lot of time in friendships that feel like obligations. You already have a family that you're obligated to; we get to choose our friends!
- Friendships of convenience. These are the friends that you have because it's easy to have them. They're the women who go to the same yoga class as you. They are the parents of your friends. They're the owners of the dogs that play at the same dog park as your pooch. In some cases, these people actually become your real friends. However, these people aren't the ones that you typically want to devote a lot of time to. Although it's nice to have them as acquaintances to help with carpool and take your dog for a walk, these aren't folks that are going to be there for you when the going really gets tough. Of course, you'll still enjoy spending time with these people since it's convenient but don't get so caught up in these easy connections that you nurture them when you should be nurturing your deeper connections.
- The martyr. You know her. She's always the one who is there to do something for you. She's the one that you call at the last minute when your plane is late and there is no one else to pick you up. You don't call her because you've been friends for twenty years and that's just what you do for each other; you call her because you know that she can never say no to an opportunity to help. The problem is that she never lets you forget it. She doesn't let you help her. She always has to one-up with you with how hard she works for you and everyone else around you. Admit it; you're hanging on to this friend because you know that she'll do things for you even though you're paying the price of feeling guilty about the friendship. True friends will do things for you when you need them and you'll do things for them when they need it. It's a fair exchange; not a competition to see who is the best martyr.
- The one who thinks she's your mother. She always knows what is best for you. She doesn't just listen when you have a problem; she tells you how to solve it. She gets angry at other people on your behalf when you just needed to vent for a moment about how someone else upset you. It's nice the way that she takes care of you. However, you're an adult and you don't need another mom. The way that this friend takes care of you takes something away from your ability to take care of yourself. It's not healthy. And unless you can find a way to create some better boundaries then this friend is probably not a friend that you really need to keep around.
- The friend who is never there for you. It might be tough to be genuine friends with a martyr or a mother type but it's even worse when the friend lies at the other end of the spectrum. This is the guy who always calls you at the last minute to do an errand for him and maybe even says "I'd do it for you" but the truth of the matter is that he's never there when you need him. He doesn't answer your calls unless it's convenient for him. He certainly isn't the kind of friend that you could expect to drop in on during an emergency. And yet he expects you to be there for every problem - and there are always lots of them.
These five friends might have a place in your life. However, they shouldn't be placed at the center of your friendship circle. As an adult, you really only have a limited amount of time and emotional energy to invest in your friendships. Those friendships should be sustaining, nurturing, caring, inspiring and loving. They shouldn't cause you guilt or stress on a regular basis. Think about who your real friends are!
patelabid on August 30, 2020:
Looks like i don't have any friends at all. Anyone interested to be my friend ? :-)
The best friend to have is the one with mutual respect as a human being.
Itisnotunhealthy on May 30, 2017:
Actually, you're wrong about the motherly friends. Some people do need a d want this, and it is healthy for some people. Psychologists even agree that it IS healthy to depend on another person (yes, even if it means being unable to take care of yourself) /as long as that person is dependable/ and as long as you are /both/ happy with it.
Independence is not possible for everyone and is not inherently good for everyone either. For some people, (co)dependence is healthy. This is a fact. Look it up yourself. Some people DO need that "motherly" figure in their life (nothing is /exclusive/ to motherhood, btw), and are better off for it.
You need to recognize these gray areas. The world isn't black and white. I know your intentions were good, but you were just wrong there.
Valerie on June 05, 2016:
I am starting to think that neighbor friends should be avoided. I have had two neighbor friends that started out as convenience friends. One ended after an 18 year run and the other with an 8 year run. Length of time means nothing at all!!
Tarek on February 09, 2013:
i don't like it
Rastamermaid from Universe on June 03, 2012:
Great hub Kathryn,straight with no chaser.
I've pretty much eliminated those 5 types from my circle,with afew others.
Debbie Downers,never anything positive to say about anything or anyone. They complain their lawn isn't green,then complain when it rains.
I agree friendships take work,some people aren't worth the effort.
Great hub,voted up!
CJ Sledgehammer on June 03, 2012:
In my opinion, most people are too self-centered to be a good friend and are too selfish to have a good friend.
Way too many userships out there.
I do not think I fall into any of these categories, but I do know that, with very few exceptions, reciprocal relationships are hard to find.
At the end of the day, most people are not worthy of friendship. They say to "have a friend, you must be a friend", but this takes too much effort for too many people who would rather look out for ol' number one.
Best wishes and be well - C.J. Sledgehammer
P.S. I liked your article. You are articulate and know how to get your point across. Voted up!
Ana on May 03, 2012:
its nice Hub
i was finding real friend if any body want real friendship please contact me.thanks
Life Under Construction from Neverland on April 24, 2012:
You have a great article here.. never thought about it.. Thanks for sharing. Voted UP!
Cyntii on April 08, 2012:
I guess I just shouldn't have friends, then. :\ Because I fit into not only one, but TWO of these categories....
The martyr and the mother.
Though I never thought of myself as a martyr. I just have three or four friends that I wouldn't hesitate to do anything for. It's true that I don't like them to do anything in return, but only because I'm just not used to it. When they want to, I feel grateful, though slightly akward. I grew up being taught not to accept help, but to give it.
And I know being a mother is my guilty crime. :( I have a few friends who I just want to stay safe, is all. I don't want to rule their lives or dictate their curfews....I just want to know that they have a place to stay, food to eat, and a grip on sanity.
:( Now I'm questioning everything that I do.
Tonette Fornillos from The City of Generals on March 30, 2012:
Very interesting hub Kathryn. I have a lot of friends that I believe are really nice to be around, but only a few of them that I really would love spending time with.
This hub certainly helps us understand why we have a special list of people that we consider invaluable and the ones we normally want to devote a lot of time to. I believe in this and only us knows the reason why. Thank you Katryn. I'm sharing this. My votes!
Reve from Dhaka on March 22, 2012:
Umm pretty interesting I guess. You have your own point of view. I guess friends do matter differently for us. Not all of us do have the same perspective about making friends and their contributions in our life.
Rastamermaid from Universe on February 06, 2012:
It's not the quantity of friends but the quality of your friends!
Rastamermaid from Universe on February 06, 2012:
Once you evaluate your friends and really look at all the pros and cons,your circle will become smaller.
It's about the quantity but the quality of your friends!
Ms.Wakeelah on March 16, 2011:
I agree. I've had to revaluate a lot of my friends, sort out who is a true friend and who's an associate, and narrow my circle of friends.
Maria Cecilia from Philippines on March 15, 2011:
still need to re read again to identify who among my friends will fall in the category, but I hope no one...
KimberlyAnn26 on February 11, 2011:
Nice Hub. Good advice. We should all be very picky about who we surround ourselves with. When you find good genuine friends, dont let them go. They are very hard to come by these days.
simplymoneyboy from Online World on February 01, 2011:
Nice hub. Really you explained a good way.
Edlira on January 08, 2011:
Even though I understand your point, in my understanding a friend is always worthy... that's why very few people qualify in being called that! The ones you describe above are anything else but a friend.
I agree with you on that, like with any other relationship, you have to work to make friendship function properly.
As Khalil Gibran says: "Friendship is a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity"
Ruchira from United States on December 03, 2010:
Nice hub...never thought of jotting down points on the types of friends so, a good job :)
Also, I agree with all the 5 pointers for not to look in a friend!
SEOWizKid on November 10, 2010:
Nice hub, made me think for once... haha. Nice job and keep them coming!
mache de la torre on November 08, 2010:
I can relate! That's why I got thousands of acquaintances but have a few real friends I can count on my fingers.
Rastamermaid from Universe on October 11, 2010:
So on point,I released myself of quite afew so-called friends for these very issues.
Also took a very good look at myself and what category I fell into.
I fell in the martyr category too many times.
Olivia St. George from USA on October 06, 2010:
Great hub! It takes a lot of trial and error, not to mention a thick skin to decide who is and isn't a true friend. Hang in there. The test of time usually prevails!
EatLovePray from Canada on September 11, 2010:
Great hub! I've never thought about this way..but it really is a big issue..!
Barbara Badder from USA on September 01, 2010:
You made me feel better about dropping one of my friends.
alexgg on August 03, 2010:
well, it is special article, and is so true about types of friends. Sometimes the one you think is a friend really isan't.
vaidy19 from Chennai, India on July 12, 2010:
A provocative hub. Thanks.
Friendship - it cuts both ways, doesn't it? I appreciate your point about making 'deeper connections' and a true friendship being a 'fair exchange'. Also, most of us do have these 'friendships of convenience' - both parties see some good in such relationships and are being practical while setting out to accomplish certain tasks. Choosing or not choosing to invest our time in friendships? That is tricky. Can we always be right? Can we always succeed? What about the other person's choices? What if we choose to invest time in a friendship considering it worthwhile and it turns out that the other person has the opposite view and even spurns our initiative? Would we take that in our stride and not be offended?
With martyrs and mothers, you are right in highlighting our own shortcomings and the risk that we run of enlarging those shortcomings. Making it all a fair exchange and honestly showing our ability to take care of ourselves is our responsibility, too. How can we blame them? Maybe it is we who make them the martyrs and mothers that they have come to be seen as. We must also pull our weight and try to bring about the balance that the friendship needs. Chipping away at their martyrdom will perhaps lead to a gloriously equal friendship.
Great friends are often stumbled upon. When we always make choices, we may ignore the opportunities of making some wonderful friendships.
imissukhan on June 14, 2010:
I like this article. It teacjes many lessons
Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on June 05, 2010:
Great hub. It is so true about types of friends. Sometimes the one you think is a friend really isan't.
Underradar from USA on April 28, 2010:
I enjoyed reading this article, it was very well put together.
stosh on March 30, 2010:
thanx hey you've just made me realise yhat it is important to know who your true friends are.Be blessed thanx
DjBryle from Somewhere in the LINES of your MIND, and HOPEFULLY at the RIPPLES of your HEART. =) on March 26, 2010:
Thanks for sharing! I have linked this hub on my hub about friendships too. God bless!
Tara Tufford from Columbus, Ohio on February 26, 2010:
I think that I have always known exactly what you just described in each of those types of friends. Its nice to see that someone else does notice the same difficulties or obligations in friends like that, that most of us know, but usually will never say in fear of hurting someone. So, thank you for the reassurance of being human.
Theblackorean2010 from ORIGINALLY: H-Town AT THE MOMENT: South Korea on February 24, 2010:
I'm diggin this hub...so true!!!
samboiam from Texas on February 22, 2010:
That was some great advice. It is hard to soar like an eagle if we are running with turkeys.
rhartlandsberg on February 20, 2010:
I can put faces from my past and present to many of these types. Thanks for the descriptions! Gives me something to ponder.
treasuresyw from Savannah, GA on February 18, 2010:
Cool hub! Thanks for sharing it. Peace
hublim from Scotland on February 17, 2010:
I’ve never thought about types of friends before, great article.
I tend to take each person as the come and see how a friendship develops, or doesn’t.
Everybody’s personality is different and I can think of people in my social circle who exhibit one or more of these traits, perhaps some of my friends could say the same about me.
I admit there are people I feel I should spend time with, which is totally different from the friends I want to spend time with.