There is no crystal ball to predict that a particular friend will turn out to be reliable, have a positive influence in your life or, by contrast, that a negative association will cause you emotional distress, or worse.
Since destructive or negative friends are not always that easy to spot, being forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes.
Some friends may be betrayers from the start; others may turn into betrayers because of what’s going on in their lives or because of changes in their personality.
Sometimes you need to consider what your friend is really like within the context of all the attributed shows of different behavioral patterns.
From his book, When Friendship Hurts: How to Deal With Friends Who Betray, Abandon, or Wound, Dr. Jan Yager found out six traits that may cause a problem in a friendship mainly: The Promise Breaker, The Double-crosser, The Self-absorbed, The Discloser, The Competitor and The Fault-finder.
According to Dr. Yager, the promise breaker is a friend who constantly disappoints you or breaks promises, most likely because she herself was constantly disappointed during her formative years.
Normally, when this type of friend promises to do something for you, even to meet you for a cup of coffee, you just say, “Sure,” but in the back of your mind you know that this friend “nine times out of 10” is going to cancel on you. You end up lowering your expectations for this friendship because nothing would ever materialize from it.
Then there is the double- crosser, this one is described as a negative friend who betrays you big-time. It could happen when they do something to hurt you, such as spreading a malicious rumour about you. Or it could be an emotional double-cross; for example, when a close or best friend stops speaking to you and you never find out why. Dr Yager explains that the double-crosser may have some real emotional issues that need to be addressed if you are to continue a friendship with her. If your friend was betrayed by a parent or sibling during her formative years, she may have a need to repeat that behavior with her friends destroying the good relationship that might have been built in the long run.
The Self-absorbed one, on the other hand, is explained as a tamer, the type of friend more negative than the Risk-taker.
“Still, especially over the long haul, a friend who does not make the time to listen to you will eat away at your self-esteem. For you to feel good about yourself, and for your friendship to thrive, you have to be more than a sounding board. The Self-absorbed does not care; she listens to you only because she is waiting to speak,” said Dr Yager.
This is simply the kind of friend that will always want to speak more; share more about her life than you would about yours. You may ask your friend to try to become more aware that she is talking non-stop, and about herself, when it’s really a nervous habit designed to fill up the time and space. In many instances, your friend is aware of this trait and choosing to ignore.
The fourth type, the discloser, is the one when you say to them, “this is just between us,” she nods her head but, unfortunately, that promise will last only as it takes her to get to her phone or e-mail.
Although there should be an atmosphere of confidentiality and trust between friends, this friend can’t help herself.
This friend quickly gets a reputation for being a gossip, in the long run getting you into petty fights with people whom you may have been talking about behind their backs, harmless as it might have been at the time.
The competitor will probably compete in every area of their lives and find it difficult or impossible to ease up even when it came to close or best friends. They may compete at work, at school, and even in community affairs. They may be in competition with their spouses or romantic partners, or even with their parents or their children.
These mentioned types of friends may find their distinctive personality traits hard or impossible to change or eradicate.
Even though a little bit of competition is healthy and to be expected, it should not be overdone. An appropriate amount of competition will motivate and stimulate, but too much competition between friends starts to destroy the friendship.
Last, but not least, the fault-finder is overly critical. Nothing you do or say is good enough for them.
“The fault-finder was probably raised by extremely judgmental parents who were also rearing equally hypercritical siblings. Being criticized during her formative years laid the groundwork for an overly critical adult. It’s a hard trait to reverse, and your friend may even be unaware that she is so critical or that it annoys and upsets you so much.”- Dr Yan Yager.
Above all these, a true friendship will survive the test of time. All one ought to do is sit down with their friends and kindly point out these traits to them and help them in overcoming them.
It’s simple and we can all do it if we value and want that friendship to thrive.