Be A Less Crappy Friend

I am the first to admit that I can be a crappy friend.  However, I think that part of my problem is that I cannot accept when friends behave in ways that I deem crappy.  Behold, three tips to be less crappy.

Don’t keep people waiting.

My wonderful mentor once told me that “people who keep others waiting make it clear that their time is much more important than anyone else’s.”  I agree with this statement to a certain degree.  I don’t believe that people run on perfect inner clocks and are never tardy to appointments.  However, I find it increasingly rude when the same people are consistently running late.

I have a friend who cannot arrive at a place on time if her life depended on it.  Every time we hang out, I am guaranteed to wait, often in the cold, for at least twenty minutes before she shows up.  She almost always pushes back plans to a later time and will still show up late.  One time, I took her out for dinner to celebrate her birthday. Not only did she keep me waiting for over two hours after she insisted she was on her way, but then she dashed off to meet her boyfriend before I could even buy her dessert.  It’s so completely frustrating because she is fully aware of the problem so I feel like it would be pointless to say anything.  I have read in magazines that it is useful to turn the tables and keep this particular type of friend waiting so she will understand how annoying it is.  I have tried this tactic, leaving my place at the time when I should be arriving at the agreed upon location, but it’s no use; I will still be kept waiting.

Do follow through with plans to hang out.

Because of my busy schedule, I am not a person who goes out a lot with friends so when I make plans with someone, I’m usually very excited for the chance to catch up with a person I may not have interacted with in a while.  I’m thrilled to see how they’ve been for however long it’s been since we’ve seen one another and eager for a night out with a pal.  So you can imagine my disappointment when a friend flakes out.

One buddy repeatedly sends me text messages saying that we should hang out.  I learned long ago to stop asking him to join me for happy hours or nights out because he always says no or cancels at the last-minute.  He has to work or he’s tired or he’s out-of-town or he just doesn’t bother to get back to me.  The only times we seem to be able to get together are when we are celebrating milestone events in his life: birthdays, house-warming, graduation.  For years, I went to everything I was ever invited to, often driving hours out of my way to do so.  Now, we live in the same town and we still never end up hanging out.

Don’t dish it if you can’t take it.

It all goes back to childhood games and recess on the playground.  Don’t tease people if you don’t want to be teased back.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.  Pretty simple if you ask me.

“How do you like it when I take your shoe?”
“I’ll kill you!”

I have a co-worker who frequently cracks jokes at other people’s expense and never seems to know when to quit.  Though I enjoy working with this colleague, I cannot stand the pranks that are pulled on me—always at the worst possible times—and I have lost my temper with him on more than one occasion.  His reaction is always the same: pouting followed by the silent treatment.  My co-workers and I feel trapped.  We either deal with the incessant behavior or we risk a hostile work environment until he gets over being upset that we got upset for being on the receiving end of something we didn’t like.  It’s a lose-lose situation.

I would love how my Wonderlings deal with these kind of behaviors.  What have you said or done to let your pals know when they’re doing something that you don’t like?

I could use the tips.

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12 thoughts on “Be A Less Crappy Friend

  1. L says:

    I fortunately have fewer such annoyances because years ago I made it a conscious point to reevaluate my friendships. I stopped investing the time into relationships that weren’t giving me the same considerations. I’m happy to say that my (albeit smaller) group of friends are the kind that I’m pretty sure have the same feelings towards respect and friendship that I do. And for the rest? That’s what Facebook is for.

    • Jessica says:

      I am a big believer in reevaluating friendships and walking away from people who clearly don’t value me in their lives. Why make someone a priority in your life when you are an option in theirs? Unfortunately, that has created a very limited group of long-distance friends and little to no actual local friends. At some point, you just have to accept the crappy friends in your life or be left friendless. I’m definitely looking for some more local friends that can be relied on.

  2. mylifeisthebestlife says:

    We have the same pet peeves! I especially HATE when people are late. My time is important to me and I HATE HATE HATE to be late for anything, and I just don’t understand when people don’t show me the same respect.

    • Jessica says:

      Exactly! I tend to run late for things, but I make a conscious effort to arrive on time, if not early, when I know someone is waiting for me. It all goes back to treating people how you would like to be treated yourself. If I can’t stand when other people are late, why would I show up late for them?

  3. artzent says:

    It is pointless to say anything . I have been telling my daughter that she shows disrespect for years now. Not just with me but everyone. It seems to be a habit that is hard to break.

    • Jessica says:

      I’m sorry to hear about your daughter, June. I agree that these are hard habits to break, but I do hope that your daughter eventually learns that nothing can be gained with disrespect.

  4. Cécile says:

    I agree with your list, ugh!
    I try to take people as they are (within reason, and as long as I feel like they respect me). It means that I’m quite easy on the people I really like and quick to forgive. However, I’m also picky and stop hanging out with negative people, and people who flake constantly or make me wait (your friend who makes you wait is totally disrespectful I think)

    • Jessica says:

      I think it’s great that you can accept people and are quick to forgive, Cécile. I have such a hard time with both of those traits and find that I am too quick to let go of friendships. Though I never regret walking away from them. It’s very hard to be around people who are negative or who so clearly are wrapped up in their own world that they don’t value the people around them. I hope for both our sakes we can find a great group of respectful people to share our lives with.

  5. Truth and Cake says:

    Okay, I’m going to put myself on the fire here for a second and say that I have to work really hard to be on time and early for things. It’s something I’ve put a great deal of effort into for the past couple of years. In the mind of a “late” person, it has less to do with respect than with our perception of time. I easily lose track of time because I get wrapped up in whatever I’m doing at any given moment. I’m a very “present” person vs. a forward thinking person. I usually underestimate how long something will take: how long it will take to get to the restaurant, for instance.
     
    That being said, it’s much easier to be on time or even early for something if you know the person waiting for you has a rigid perception of time (i.e. will be upset or will show up super early). So I don’t think showing up late will teach that person anything: they already have a different perception of time than you do. Clearly telling them that it upsets you is likelier to have an impact. And if that doesn’t work, it may be that your personality types are incompatible. Now, I usually show up on time (or even early!), which greatly reduces my stress levels but I’ll tell you–it doesn’t come naturally to everyone!
     
    The last two really irk me and I know quite a few people who consistently flake out. The flakiest person I know also suffers from serious anxiety, so again, it’s less about respect and more about their own issues. If it happens too often, I just assume that they’re not super interested in building or maintaining a friendship with me. After all, we show up for things we’re interested in and pass on things that we’re not, right?
     
    Good post, Jessica! And more motivation for me to continue working on showing up on time! 😉

    • Jessica says:

      Rian, thank you so much for shedding some light on the tardy issue. I never would have thought about it as a perception of time difference and I applaud you for working hard to be on time or early.

      I think the difference between you and my friend is that you make a conscious effort to be on time for things. My friend is fully aware that she is always late for things yet, unlike you, she has a more take-me-as-I-am type of attitude and not an I’ll-try-to-adjust-to-my-friends-who-always-show-up-on-time. For example, she agreed to be my driver for my birthday last year so I could enjoy some cocktails. I repeatedly told her that I would be at her place early so that we could arrive at the party on time. When I got to her place, surprise surprise, she wasn’t ready and I had to wait for her to finish, making me late to my own party and leaving my friends waiting for me to arrive for over an hour. I was not only upset, but embarrassed that my friends were left waiting for me. Even if I was the birthday girl, I didn’t want to be late to my own party.

      My flakey friend is one of the most social people I know and in no way suffers from an anxiety disorder. I do believe that he just gets lost in his social butterfly antics and is more interested in a revolving door of new friends than maintaining relations with the older ones. Which is perfectly fine if that’s what he wants. However, I need consistent people in my life and I think that our personality types are incompatible. I need stability, he needs novelty.

      Thanks for such an excellent and insightful comment!

  6. ArbitraryAmbrosia says:

    Oh I can definitely relate to your pet peeves, especially people who flake. I’m really big on if you say you are going to do something, you better do it! Needless to say, I’m very disappointed when someone cancels on me. Great tips!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks, Amber! “If you say you are going to do something, you better do it!” I couldn’t agree more. Why commit yourself if you have no desire to follow through?

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