Songs have been written about them, tv shows have been named after them; we’re talking about friends. Vincent’s teenage niece watches “Friends” and his seventy-nine year old father watches it, too. There are some timeless truths to the show. It speaks to relationships and who we are as people.
This is the 5th episode in our series 8 Warning Signs That You Might Need To Break Up. Today we dive into what a person’s friendships say about who they are as a person, and if these relationships are good indicators that they would be good to date.
What are their friendships like?
What Are the Warning Signs of Unhealthy Relationships?
It is important to know how your significant other relates to friends, as this behavior could translate to how they relate and interact with you.
1. No friends
If they don’t have friends, that’s a big concern. They will rely solely on you to get all of their emotional and social needs met, which is very unbalanced. That’s a terrible burden to put on a mate. Having no friends is also an indicator of a lack of social skills.
In more extreme instances, a lack of friends could mean that the person suffers from a personality disorder, such as Anti-social Personality Disorder. If that’s the case, it may be nearly impossible to be in a relationship with this person. Beware of someone who refuses to see that they have issues or problems. People with personality disorders rarely reach out for help because they do not see that they have problems—everyone else is the problem, not them.
In less severe situations, you may want to address the what you are seeing, with sensitivity. Begin with, “I’ve noticed that you avoid being in social situations…” rather than “You” statements. Sometimes someone struggling with a trauma background engage in self-protection behaviors that prevent them from seeking social situations.
2. They are a fair weather friend.
What does this say about how they will be with you? It’s a strong indicator that they are disloyal, and will run away when things are difficult. Consider that this person could be the same person uttering “in sickness and in health” during their wedding vows. Does their behavior reflect that they would follow through with these vows?
3. They are a people-pleaser friend (they attract toxic people).
This one is subtle and many people trip up on it. People-pleasers tend to attract toxic people. The people-pleaser gives and gives and gives and never says ‘no’. They attract needy people, users, who take advantage of them. They feel, guilt, however, if they do not provide for the toxic person’sdemands. Then they feel resentment for how their own needs aren’t being met.
If you’re dating a people-pleaser, they may not have the time to give your relationship as they are too busy tending to other peoples’ toxicities. They cannot provide you a healthy, balanced amount of time and attention as they are too busy not saying ‘no’ to others who drain their emotional energy. Their ability to be “present” with you will be lacking.
4. Only have short-term friendships.
This person could get too close too quick and then conflict happens and they run or push them away. Many times those suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder are charismatic, drawing people, towards them, but do not have the ability to maintain relationships as they are not able to be supportive of others.
Vincent suggests being especially wary of someone who has lived in the same area for a long time and yet they have only had short-term friendships. What happened to the relationships from ten years ago? Why didn’t those last if you didn’t move?
1. Supportive of their friends and their friends are supportive of them—can share with each other.
This person is able to be excited for other people’s good news, but also share concerns. They are able to celebrate through the good times, and support during the difficult times. This person shows that they care, whether that is being there during a funeral, attending a shower, or bringing food during a difficult time.
2. Long-term friendships.
Having long-term friendships is a good indication of stability and healthy relationships. This means that they have stuck with their friend through the good and bad times. It shows loyalty.
3. Spend balanced amount of time with friends (positive, not all negative).
Their priorities may be in question if there is an imbalance in time spent with friends. This means that their time spent with friends is not continually infringing on family time. It is healthy to set aside time to hang out with friends, but it should be planned and in accordance with the family needs.
The time spent with friends should include positive and negative moments. This means that there are times that you hang out and have a good time, but also that you comfort them and attend the funeral of their parents or someone close to them when appropriate.
4. Different types of friends—from different spheres/groups.
If someone has friends in various places, it is a good indication that they are good at making friends and could possibly have a healthy social life. As a side note, Laura mentions how bullying has had a lot of attention lately, and that much of it stems from an important missing factor: friends in various places. Children are less likely to be bullied when they have friends in multiple settings. They are more well-rounded.
5. Able to resolve conflict.
If they are able to have differing opinions, discuss it, and come out on the other side and still be friends, it is a great indication that the person you are dating has healthy conflict resolution skills. This doesn’t mean you avoid conflict, but that you are able to talk it through.
Today’s episode encourages you to examine your significant other’s relationships with others. How they relate to others is a pretty strong indication of how they will relate to you as a future spouse. Hopefully today’s topic also stirred up some questions you may need to ask yourself about you and your own friendships.
We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, the fifth part in an eight part series “Eight Warning Signs You May Need to Break Up.”