As geeks, we tend to make friends with people that share our interests. I make friends and bond with them over fighting games, Magic:TheGathering and comic books. Usually, I end up getting very close to these people.
In Montreal, there’s something about the Tekken scene that is very unique: all of the players like to party. So all of the friends I made over Tekken also became my hanging out buddies, and eventually my party group too.
The great thing about that is when our interests diverge (for instance, some of the guys no longer play Tekken), we still remain friends, just because I like them as people.
However, there is a flip side. Sometimes, as gamers, we make friends with people that are less than savory. People we tolerate, but don’t necessarily enjoy hanging out with. People that share common interests, but with whom you’d rather not pursue any other type of relationship besides as opponents in a fighting game.
A good friend of mine likens it to a business relationship. And sometimes, for one reason or another, these relationships must end. In my case, I identify two main types of people I don’t want to hang out with.
Here’s the thing: I have trouble dealing with people that bring me down, and negative people talk about their badness all the time.
“My life is hard, my job sucks, everyone is mean, this game is awful, that dude is a racist, I want to die.”
It drives me crazy, because there are solutions to all of those things.
Your job sucks? Get a new one. People are mean? Go live in a box. This game is awful? Don’t play it. That dude is a racist? Stop hanging with him. You want to die? Kill yourself and get it over with, I’m out of here. (Note: if someone is genuinely suicidal, call social services, they have a procedure for this).
Two of my gamer friends went through hellish, near-death experiences, and you know what? They didn’t complain. Sure there were some rough patches where they were a little down, but in the end, they kept a positive attitude, and are now both thriving. They keep on trucking, despite the adversity, and I appreciate them more and more for it.
In any relationship, there is always a give and take. You help a buddy move, he watches your dog when you’re out of town. The sign of a good, healthy friendship, is that it’s mutually enjoyable and beneficial to both people.
And then there are the people that use you. You know the ones. The dude that always wants to borrow money but never returns it or lends you any. The chick that just calls you up when she feels down and needs reassurance, but isn’t there for you when your dog dies . The people that enjoy taking from your life in many ways, but never contribute anything useful to your existence.
Oh no! What do I do to escape?
You defeat their evil, Mega Man. When I realize that someone I’m hanging out with regularly is one of these two, I cut the chord. Either I phase them out, and slowly hang out with them less and less until they disappear, or I literally break up with them.
It’s a hard thing to tell a friend that you don’t want to hang out with them anymore, but sometimes it has to be done. It’s more important to preserve yourself and make sure you’re in a good place, rather than preserve someone else’s feelings while you suffer.
Often enough, the problem is we’re comfortable with our situation. Why go through the effort of ending a friendship, and barging into the unknown, when I can stay in a stagnant relationship that I know very well?
I’ll tell you why: because you’re missing out on a good friend.
I firmly believe we only have so many close friend slots in our everyday lives. Depending on your job, your social circle, and your amount of free time, you can fit anywhere from 1 to 10 close friends. Other people will be family, acquaintances, colleagues, and still valuable, but less close.
So, if you only have 5 close friend slots, and 1 of them is being filled up by a negativizer, you’re missing out. You could, instead, eliminate the negativizer, and make room for a genuine awesome friend, one that will you will both enjoy and be enjoyed by.
What brought this on, guy?
Look, I’m going to level with you. I recently got burned pretty badly by someone I considered a good friend. This person, who helped me out in a great way, is the source of some awesome things that have occurred in my life these past few months. However, a fight occurred between this person and someone else, and while trying to mediate, I somehow became the bad guy.
Since then, my “friend” has treated me like shit, and I really began to feel bad about myself whenever we were around each other. So, friendship over. I am a little sad for my ex-friend, because treating someone badly is often a reflection of how you treat yourself, but I’m also glad our relationship is over.
I am still shocked at how suddenly things changed between us. Thankfully, sometimes lessons like this help us grow. In my case, it made me value the good times I spend with the people I really care about.
Do you have any friendships that ended? Takers and/or negativizers that you want to stop hanging out with? Bad friends you want to get rid of? Leave a comment and tell me about it!