What Can I Do About A Mean Friend? — RUBY ANSWERS

Dear Ruby,

I have a friend that often says mean or rude things to me. I don’t think she realizes how it hurts my feelings because her personality is a bit competitive and aggressive. I told her how I felt and she gave me a very sincere apology. But she’s starting to be competitive and mean again, and I feel as though we shouldn’t be friends anymore. I’m worried that I’ll hurt her feeling really bad or leave her with no friends, I still care about her. I’m wondering on how to talk to her about this without causing too much drama.



Dear Hurt,

I think the answer to this question is simple in principle, and very, very difficult in practice. So, I’m going to ask you a question: What do you want to be? Do you want to be joyful, authentic, smart, and filled with kind thoughts? Well, surround yourself with people like that, and that’s exactly what you’ll become. We are who we hang out with. Even the most patient, strong-willed, and confident among us cannot spend time with unkind, lazy, manipulative people, and make it out unscathed. It’s just simply not possible.

There are certain people we cannot necessarily get away from: family, co-workers, teachers. But generally speaking, we have a lot of control over who we choose to spend our time with, and can that be a very empowering experience. You can choose to be around people who support and encourage you, or you can choose to be around people who make you miserable. Again, simple in principle, difficult in practice. But, if you were Ruby, and you read this question, how would you answer it? What advice would you give yourself?

If I were in your position, this is the advice I would give myself: Not all friendships are meant to last forever, and if you find yourself in one that isn’t necessarily fulfilling or beneficial anymore, it’s okay to walk away. It’s okay to take care of yourself. It’s okay to say no. As far as sharing these things with her in an undramatic way? My best advice to be honest and clear. Explain how her behaviors are hurtful to you, and how you think it’s best if you both take some space from each other for a while. We have these conversations all the time in romantic relationships, yet for whatever reason, we’re hesitant to have them in platonic friendships. But we can. Remember also how you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed. Be gentle and kind. Don’t gossip about the situation with mutual friends, and remember that forgiveness is a commandment.

I’m sure your friend will be hurt, perhaps offended–I don’t think there is really any way to avoid it. But it’s okay. You don’t need to feel guilty doing the right thing for you, or feel the need to bear the world’s weight on your shoulders. Life is hard enough, you know? And the world is a big place. Don’t let anyone hold you back from experiencing every piece of it.



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