Is it that our friend is truly mean, bossy or demanding?
Or maybe we are just drawn to people with big personalities which means we don’t have to make decisions, take charge or say no.
Saying no makes us feel bad. Like somehow we are being rude or unkind.
I don’t like the word bossy because some ‘bossy’ people make fabulous leaders. We need people who take charge and who motivate and inspire people. We don’t, however need people in our life who cause us drama and leave us feeling rubbish about ourselves.
Does your tricky friend:
- Insist on making the plans and decisions?
- Feel scary or difficult to stand up to?
- Tell you who you can and can’t be friends with?
- Ignore you when you don’t do what he or she wants?
- Talk about you behind your back?
- Tell you fibs or make up stories which you know aren’t true?
- Not listen or take notice of how you feel?
- Pressurise or force you into doing things you don’t want to do?
If you know somebody who does things from the list above, it’s time to think about how much of a true friend they really are.
You can watch this video where I explain more about dealing with a friendship where the power is out of whack. Relationships are about having equal power where both people feel valued and respected. There is not one person doing all the giving and one doing all the taking.
Here are my top 5 things you need to know for dealing with a tricky friend
1) Know yourself and like yourself. How do you do that? Well, read my blog post ‘What makes you weird is what makes you wonderful.’ which tells you how to be your own best friend. When you really like yourself and are true to yourself, the right friends show up and want to hang out with you.
2) Know your boundaries. This is about what you will and won’t put up with. I recommend practice saying no in front of the mirror until it is as natural as cleaning your teeth. I have a great technique for delivering bad news to people called the poo burger. You can read about it here or come to one of my workshops and learn how to do it with other children who find it hard to say no. You are not alone!
3) Know your rights as a person. Here is a list of them for you to check. Some of them might surprise you.
4) Know what you are responsible for. There are two people in a relationship and so it’s 50% down to you to make it work and 50% down to the other person. When you have bad feelings about saying no – maybe you feel guilty or sad or like you are being mean. Guilt is usually a sign that means you somehow feel responsible for the friendship. You don’t have the power to make somebody feel bad. They do that all by themselves. We can only be responsible for what we say, not what other people hear. Equally if you don’t speak up and say what you don’t like, you can’t assume the other person can read your mind. They will keep treating you badly until you tell them that it’s not OK.
5) Know what you are looking for in a friend and what matters to you. Do you value honesty, loyalty, laughter and fun? Right, so I’m thinking that anybody who fibs or who you can’t trust or who is deep and serious is possibly not the friend for you. Go on write a list and see what matters to you. You will be amazed at how you are tolerating people who do not value the same things as you.
Don’t get sucked into changing who you are
Just because your friend is being tricky, it doesn’t mean you have to be too. You can do all of these things, respect yourself and still be a kind person. I think kindness goes a long way. What you give out is what you get back so you can spread kindness wherever you go. Tricky people, I think need it the most.
At my creative coaching workshops, we have fun exploring who we are and what matters to us. We role play setting boundaries and work out what is right for us. This helps us feel better and more comfortable in our own skin. It also helps us to know that other children are going through the same things that we are. Nobody has to be alone. We can all learn together.
Come and join us!