Identifying bad friends

How to weed out bad friends?
realsocialskills said:
Here are some rules of thumb:
Good friends are people you like. If you’re trying to figure out whether you like someone, here are things to keep in mind:
  • Do you like being around them? Is interaction with them usually pleasant?
  • How do you talk about them when they’re not there? If most of what you say is a complaint of some sort, you probably don’t actually like them very much
  • It’s ok not to like people
  • But if you don’t like someone, it’s probably better not to try to be their close friend or spend lots of time with them
Good friends are people who like you:
  • Does this person enjoy your company?
  • Do they respect you when you’re there? If most of what they say is insulting, they probably don’t like you.
  • If they make a lot of jokes at your expense that hurt you, and mock you if you tell them to knock it off, they probably don’t like you very much
  • If they act like they’re doing you a favor by being your friend, they probably don’t like you very much
  • Life is a lot better when you surround yourself with folks who like you, and minimize entanglements with people who don’t
Good friends don’t creep on each other:
  • People who insist on touching you in ways you don’t like probably aren’t very good friends
  • People who won’t stop hitting on you or making sexual comments probably aren’t very good friends
  • People who insist on talking to you about explicit sexual topics you aren’t comfortable hearing about probably aren’t very good friends.
  • People who make a lot of explicit comments about your sex life or sexual desires without caring whether you want to discuss that with them aren’t good friends
  • In some social circles, you might come under tremendous pressure to laugh this kind of thing off
  • But it’s not ok, and life is better when you don’t tolerate it, and when you are able to create a social circle of people who don’t tolerate it
Good friends understand that you have a life outside them:
  • Friends aren’t always available when friends want them to be, because they have a life and other things that matter
  • Good friends understand that you spend time with other people, and have emotionally significant relationships that they aren’t part of
  • They also understand that you have other things you need to attend to, such as work, school, taking care of your health, etc
  • And they don’t treat it as an offense against them when you spend money on yourself, even when you’re buying something they wish they could afford but can’t
  • Friends who expect to always unconditionally come first in your life are not good friends. (Even if they think they put you first. Even if it’s true, but it usually isn’t.)
Pay attention to your feelings:
  • If you feel horrible about yourself every time you see someone, it’s probably not a good friendship
  • If how you feel about someone changes a lot, there’s probably something really wrong. It might be fixable, it might be possible to work around it, but it’s important to figure out what it is
  • If how you feel about someone is dramatically different when you’re with them than when you’re not, something is wrong and it’s important to figure out what it is
  • For instance, if you consistently dread hanging out with someone, but enjoy it when you do, something is wrong (it might not be a problem with them, it might be social anxiety or something else. But it’s important to figure out what’s going on)
  • And when you swear up and down that you like someone, but you also avoid them and don’t feel good when you spend time with them, you probably don’t actually like them as much as you think you do. Even if they have really great qualities.

Sometimes it’s not a bad friend. Sometimes it’s a bad friendship that can be improved by renegotiating boundaries:

  • For instance, some people are good to spend time with, but not good to spend tons of time with. Captain Awkward has a good post on small doses friends
  • Some people act dramatically different in public than in private. Spending time with them mostly or entirely in the setting you like them in can make the friendship a lot better
  • Some people are nice to interact with in person, but not online, or vice versa. Being someone’s friend doesn’t mean you have to discuss politics with them on facebook, or that you have to engage with their derailing comments on everything you post. Similarly, talking to someone online doesn’t mean you have to go to their noisy parties
  • Some friendships aren’t really personal relationships so much as alliances in which you trade favors. That’s an ok kind of relationship to have, so long as it’s actually equal and not exploitation. Trying to convert an alliance into a close friendship tends to end poorly though, especially if only one person wants that

Borrowing computers

Anonymous asked:
Hi… I have a suggestion I’d really like to see: a post with more about people asking to borrow your computer and similar issues and why this can be a problem. Thanks for the blog! :)

realsocialskills answered: 

Here’s how I’d explain it to people who are inclined to expect to have the use of other people’s computers:

Some people experience their computer/iPad/phone/etc as part of their body and find losing control over these things intensely distressing. Asking to borrow a computer can be like asking to borrow part of someone’s body.

Even for people who do not feel that way - Computers and things are expensive. Some people don’t like to share them, because they depend on them heavily and wouldn’t be able to afford to replace them.

Don’t put people in the position of having to tell you they don’t trust you not to break their computer. There’s no polite way to say that.

It can be ok to ask, but it’s important not to assume that the answer will be yes. And if you’re anticipating the need for a computer during the day, plan ahead rather than putting others on the spot.

For instance:

  • If you know you’ll need to look things up during the day, and you also know that Bob always carries an iPad, don’t just assume that you’ll be able to use his. 
  • Either ask in advance, or bring your own
  • If you’re going to need a computer for a presentation or to show a video or something, it’s very important not to assume you’ll be able to use someone else’s.
  • Ask ahead of time, and take no for an answer if someone says no
  • Putting people on the spot pressures them to say yes even if it’s not really ok with them
  • Because it’s likely that everyone will think it’s their fault for ruining your presentation if they don’t agree to share their computer
  • Don’t do this to people.

Some people are happy to occasionally allow friends and coworkers to use their computers. Other people aren’t. It’s ok to be unwilling to share, and the reasons why are no one else’s business. Don’t pressure people into doing things with their computer that they’re not really ok with.

About favors/work

About favors/work

It is dangerous to work for someone who thinks they are doing you a favor by employing you.

Because if they think they are doing you a favor, they won’t think that your work is valuable.

And they won’t treat you like someone who is doing valuable work.

And, often, this means they don’t feel obligated to pay you, or don’t feel obligated to pay you on time.

It also means that they’re likely to think that you owe them something aside from the work you’re paying them for. For instance, they might think you owe them free tech support, or to pick up their dry cleaning, or any number of other time-consuming inappropriate favors.

It’s not always avoidable – if you’re in a difficult place, you might not be in a position to avoid working for people like this. But when you can avoid it, it makes life a lot better - and even when you can’t, understanding what’s going on helps.