The Friend Formula-How To Keep Great Friends With Limited Drama

Do you feel like you’re surrounded by drama?  Every time you think you have a good and trustworthy friend, do they disappoint you?  Do you surround yourself with guys because you just can’t take anymore cat fights?  Then, I have to tell you something about friendship.  You’re doing it wrong.  Even if you aren’t a drama queen, if you are constantly surrounded by drama then you really need to reevaluate your friendships.  Here is a handy little diddy for you to read and re-read whenever you have had enough.

First, let me tell you why I know what I’m talking about.  I have a lot of what I would call GOOD friends.  I can count on one hand how many times I’ve even had a legitimate argument with any of them.  I keep good friends.  I can only think of one person (that I know of) that legitimately cannot stand me and I seriously have no idea why.  I am assuming I said something snarky once that upset her?  I don’t remember.  My poor memory is one reason why I am amazing at not holding grudges.  I just don’t remember why someone made me mad, and then I get un-mad, and then I totally forget I was ever mad.

There are three types of friends:  regular friends, good friends, and best friends.  Regular friends are people you might meet at work or church.  You like them, you enjoy seeing them, but you don’t really do anything outside of the event you’re both attending.  You like their stuff on Facebook and love seeing pictures of the fun party they went to last night, but you don’t really care to tag along.  Good friends are practically best friends.  The only reason they aren’t in the best friend group is because you already have best friends and can’t afford the time and effort to meet the best friend expectations.  Still, you keep in touch, care about each other, and try to hang out when you can.  Best friends are usually pretty locked in at a young age.  As long as you stay in touch, you’ll be best friends for life.  Usually, the maximum amount of besties a normal girl can handle is three, and that’s the exact number I have.   Three people who I know would drop everything they’re doing right this second if I really, really needed them.  Three people who if they called me and said, “Bec, there is a giant splinter in my toe and I am having a panic attack, please come help.”, I would throw my baby in the car and step on it. 

My three best friends, while all connecting with me and each other quite well, are all veryvery different.  They each have their own unique reasons why I picked them (and they picked me) to keep in touch with for the rest of my life.  The important thing to remember in order to avoid drama is to hold your best friends, good friends, and regular friends to different standards.  Each friend you have should be able to fit in one of these formulas:

Best Friend Formula:

(Good Conversations)+(Responds Within 24 Hours)+(Open and Honest Communication)+(Genuinely Gives A Damn)+(Fulfills Expectations of Best Friendom)-(Gossiping About You)-(Condescending Attitude)=Best Friend

Good Friend Formula:

(Good Conversations)+(Open and Honest Communication)-(Gossiping About You)-(Condescending Attitude)=Good Friend

Regular Friend Formula:

(Pleasant)-(Gossiping About You)-(Condescending Attitude)=Regular Friend

The reason we get our feelings hurt or get upset with someone is usually because they did not meet whatever expectations we have made up for them.  You can make up whatever expectations you wish, but that doesn’t mean that someone is required to fulfill them.  If they don’t, put them in a different group.  If your best friend doesn’t fit in the best friend formula, then they aren’t your best friend.  Stop expecting things from them and allowing yourself to get disappointed.  Put them in a group that they can handle and stop taking their actions personally.  It isn’t about you.  Stop trying to make it about you.

Sometimes, a person doesn’t fit into any of these formulas.  If they don’t, drop them. Put them in the “Nothing” group, which I’ll explain below.  

In order to maintain a drama free life, one should know how to deal with different types of friends and how to ignore the nothings.  Allow me to introduce you to:

THE DRAMATIC FRIEND-Yes.  It is possible to be friends with a very dramatic person, as long as you don’t get involved.  People who feed off of drama want you to listen to them and agree with them and be ASTOUNDED when they tell you a detailed story about the person who “did them wrong”.  They are always right.  They are always victims.  Do not offer advice to these friends unless they ask for it, but do not fuel the fire either.  This person might be fun to hang out with, but they cannot be trusted.  Don’t tell them your secrets, and if you do, don’t be stupid enough to expect them to keep them.  If they are telling you about a mutual friend, kindly tell them that you’d rather not hear about that because that person is your friend.  You can listen to a dramatic friend all day without saying, “Yeah!  That Wanda girl sure is a real bitch.”  The best way to stay uninvolved is to keep your mouth shut about whatever dramatic friend is telling you.  Listen.  Tell them you’re sorry they’re frustrated.  Then, go out for some Fro-yo.

THE DEPRESSED FRIEND-I’m not talking about when your friends go through something that makes them depressed.  I’m talking about the friends who have the disease, depression.  Remember that last post where we talked about hormones?  And how hormones are real?  And they are what makes the body do all the things it does?  Well, people with depression have some very unbalanced hormones.  If they were your friend before depression,don’t abandon them.  Be there for them.  Listen to them.  Love them-but do not let them bring you down.  You have to remind yourself that other than listening to them and loving them, there really isn’t much you can do.  It is a disease.  You are probably not a doctor.  Invite them to do things and don’t take it personally when they don’t come.  They are depressed.  They don’t feel like going, but they need to know that you want them.  Send them a, “Howya doin?” text every once in a while without expecting a response.  Don’t be surprised when their response is negative.  One day, hopefully, they will come out of their fog and remember that you were there for them.  I saw a meme somewhere about how Eeyore obviously has depression, but Pooh and the gang invite him to tag along anyway.  They don’t even address it anymore because they’re used to it, and they don’t let it spoil their fun.

THE CHRONICALLY LATE FRIEND-This friend is never on time.  For anything. Ever.  Don’t meet up with this friend.  Always have this friend pick you up and don’t expect them to be there until an hour (or 4) after the original time.  Accept that this friend is always late and plan accordingly.  Have something to do while you wait.  They think they can’t help it, and they aren’t trying to piss you off.  Put it on your list of endearing traits and laugh about it.

THE INSECURE FRIEND-This person is usually paranoid that people don’t like them.  They assume people who don’t interact with them or don’t try to make them feel welcomed dislike them.  They also need constant reassurance that you aren’t mad at them.  They suddenly feel like there is an awkward distance between the two of you.  If there is, it’s probably not because your behavior has changed, but because that person is insecure.  They seriously can’t help it.  Don’t obsess over making your friend feel better, but respond appropriately.  Be honest.  Tell them you love them.  Tell them they are being insecure.  Tell them you would love to plan a date in the near future and that you’re sorry they feel that way.

Friends that fall into one of these groups cannot be in your best friend category because they can not fulfill the personal best friend requirements you’ve made.  That doesn’t, however, mean that you can’t be a best friend to them.  You can still love them and spend time with them, but these people can unintentionally create negativity in your life.  Stop expecting so much from people who can’t handle it, and you won’t be disappointed.

THE NOTHINGS- The Nothings are a group that don’t affect you at all.  You “nothing” that group.  They are just there in the corner.  Away from your other groups like a fake house plant.  They don’t bother you, they’re fine where they are, and you don’t have to water them.  To avoid drama, it shouldn’t upset you when someone doesn’t fit in any of the formulas.  Put them in your nothing group and move on.  I can’t emphasize this enough.  If someone is in this group – nothing they do or say can bother you.  If it does, find a reason for their behavior.  Are they miserable?  Did they get bullied as children and have never gotten over it?  Did someone who looks like you do something terrible to them?  Are they a narcissist?  Do they have chronic pain?  There is always a reason for one’s behavior.  Even if they say something so awful to or about you that you feel like you can’t let it go, you must.  These people are the way they are for a reason, and unless you can heal them, you just have to build a wall and let their behaviors bounce off of it.  It really has nothing to do with you, so try to have nothing to do with it.

You can be friends with almost anyone, but always hold your best friends to a different standard.  Be there for them and expect them to be there for you-and they will.  Figuring out what kinds of people your friends are can seriously reduce friction in your life.  Learning who to trust and who to just have fun with is an excellent way of ensuring friendship happiness.  You are the one who decides what category to place someone.  You are the only one who can control your joy and who can choose to change negativity to nothingness.

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