Saturday, July 9, 2011

And You Call That A Friend?

You're sitting at lunch with a friend you've known for years. She's complaining about her family, her husband, her job or lack of one. This friend rattles on and on through lunch giving you time to grunt when she pauses to take a breath. When the bill comes, she throws a few dollars on the table and says she's got to run. You leave feeling used and drained.

Guess what--you're right.
You were used and drained of energy.

As you can see, this week we're covering relationships. How often do we waist time with people that suck the life out of us, because we feel it's our duty, or out of habit or proximity without getting much in return? I've done my share of suffering through such friendships.  Ugh! I'm over it.

Life is too short to spend it with people who don't value you, are self involved or wear you out. Do any names or faces come to mind? We all have friends or belong to groups that, either no longer serve us because we've grown, or they treat us with disregard and indifference. Who needs it? Not you!

People change. Chances are, if the relationship isn't serving you, it isn't doing much for your friend either. Let it go. There's no need to make a big deal about it, just spend less time with them and allow the connection to fade naturally.  You don't have to have a big talk. This is not high school. No drama needed. You're an adult, and people come and go in our lives.

It's okay.

There are relationships that need some honest conversation to mend. If this feels like the case, and you want to invest further, by all means, go for it. State what bothers you calmly without blame. If the friendship is strong, you may come to an understanding. If it doesn't work out, let it go and know you tried. No hard feelings.

If you've been diligently working  on the coaching lessons, it's likely you'll be letting go of some old friends, a critique group or partner. Make room for relationships that inspire you and aid you in the creation of your dreams. Remember, the universe abhors a vacuum. Make room, and watch for the good that will fill it.

This week, make a list in your journal of people and groups that suck you dry. Decide how to handle each case. Let them slowly fade or talk it out. Notice how you feel about ending these connections and why. Write about it and then act. Even a bad relationship ending brings a feeling of loss. Let your self feel it. Write what you'll miss or what you wished for that didn't exist. Be real and honest in your journal.

You have to be your own best friend first.


  1. Some people call these types of friends/acquaintances "psychic vampires" because they drain you of your life's energy. I think this is a pretty apt description and have known a few myself. Unfortunately, these psychic vampires do not take to sitting down to talk about things. They really just want to feed off of your sympathy, or if you are unresponsive, to use you as a sounding board. As a crisis counselor, I am prone to listen to people the first few times they need someone to complain to. But as crisis counselor, I also know that after a bit, it's time to ask them what they are going to do about it---to put it briefly.

    Glad you posted this on CHRW.

  2. Great post!
    I can absolutely relate to this. I did have a friend who was always complaining, talking over me and belittling me.
    I realized I was really starting to resent her and that was not healthy for me.
    Finally, she snapped on me because I was hanging out with friends she no longer talked to and I just let it go. Normally I'd be calling and texting to apologize but I realized it was better if we just parted.
    One of the best things I ever did for myself.

  3. In the last 10 years I've become much more honest in my relationships with people. Instead of namby-pambying them and always taking care of their feelings over my own, I try to tell it like it is, always in a kind way of course, then deal with the consequences. I feel that if we want to be in a relationship, we've gotta keep it real and if not, then "bye bye".

  4. Wow.
    To all those for whom I've become an energy sucker, I apologize. For those who try to bleed me dry, seeya!

    But seriously, this is also a good time to evaluate what kind of a friend each of us is. I'll try to do betta.

  5. I find the older I get, the less tolerant I am of people who would suck the life from me. However, raised in an Italian family, I have 'guilt' issues so I can't seem to walk away the way I would often like to do. I have stepped back, though, so maybe that's a start?

    Great post as always, Sandy. Excellent advice that shows us it's okay to take care of ourselves first.

  6. I've had a few of these throught my life. One I stuck with until she stopped over at my house one time and had a major meltdown at my husband. I stopped answering her calls, and didn't respond to the many notes she left, until one day she left one at my workplace. So I wrote her one back and told her not to contact me again. I haven't spoken to her since, and I haven't missed it. Not long after I severed ties with this friend, I started writing fiction again!

  7. No better teacher than experience. Sounds like you've all lived this and we're on the same page. Way to own your life and stand up for your future!
    People that suck you dry are often oblivious that they're the grand canyon. It's not your job to do the impossible and fill them up. No one can.

    Thank you for your insightful comments.
    You girls rock!

  8. Another valuable lesson, but sadly, not one I can apply at this time. My "psychic vampire" (loved that reference) works with me. There's only two paralegals, me and her. Makes work very difficult sometimes, and when I've tried to "talk" to her, she tattles that I'm causing trouble. I just keep my mouth shut and do my work. The vampire is my father. I smile a lot, pray a lot more, and keep writing to my "happy place."

  9. I've done this. There are just those who don't get it. Thanks Sandy!

  10. I think we all know 'physic vampires.' I really love that phrase. Sometimes we each need that support. The operative word is sometimes. Constant blood letting can wear you and the relationship out. But sometimes ending the relationship is the only thing you can do for your own sanity.

    Thanks for the post. It's excellent.

    ... Ruth

  11. There's actually a book called "Psychic Vampires," found in the metaphysical section of the bookstore, not psychological.