Don’t Ruin A Friendship With These Silly Mistakes
It takes small but deeply impactful actions to break friendships
Friendship. A bond more deeper than any romantic love affair, and one that even supersedes relationships itself. A bond which takes forever to form, but seconds to break. Whether it was your school friends, highly trustable office buddies, or your buddies from college, you know how hard you’ve worked to manifest and take those friendships to the level where they are now. The last thing you want is to ruin a perfectly good friendship with silly mistakes over things that won’t even matter in the long run.
However, in any friendship someone is always “being the bigger person” and sacrificing their ideals or principles for the greater good. And no matter how deep the friendship, one must realize that it can always be broken by the smallest of incursions or indifferences that have developed between each other.
You don’t have to necessarily cuss, rage, argue, and have an all out brawl with your friend in the parking lot over a triffling issue for a friendship to break off. You can even slowly erode it and chip away at its foundations by committing some of the below mentioned faux pas’.
Here they are:
Ratting out your friends to mutual friends
This usually doesn’t happen intentionally, but is wrong nonetheless.
Usually when a set of people are gossiping behind someone’s back together, you sometimes get the sudden urge to do the same, very well forgetting that the person being badmouthed has a completely different relationship with the group than that with you. The dynamic in your friendship is different, so no matter how much a group is talking behind their back, you’ve got to roll your tongue back into your mouth and stay mum, lest some really ugly stuff spill out and ruin your friendship with them forever.
Don’t forget that the group has a different agenda than what you think it has. Some people could have an ulterior motive in pitting you against your friend, and might stand to gain something in the ensuing stalemate between you two. Always be wary when someones badmouthing to you about someone else. Stop to introspect and ask yourself “what does this person stand to gain from me not talking to this person?”
Are they trying to hide something? Are they trying to cover up their dirty deeds? Are they trying to prevent something from leaking out in public in case you and your friend meet up and have a chance to clear up the misunderstanding?
Asking for gifts or compliments to be returned
One of the worst things you could do with a friend is asking them to return something you once gave them in good spirit. This needn’t necessarily be a gift. You know sometimes when you just have an additional item of something, and decide to give it to a friend instead of letting it rot and collect dust in your own house? It could be that kind of compliment as well.
When I moved out of my parents place the previous year, I took my coffee filter with me. Then when I later moved back in with them a year down the line, I noticed that they had already got themselves one of those automatic coffee filter machines. Since I had no further need for my stainless steel coffee filter, I decided to donate it to my friend who was then himself moving in to a place of his own.
When it later came to moving to a place of my own all over again, I realized I needed that coffee filter again, and the urge to ask my friend back for it was high. But I knew it would be a duplicitous move and greater sense prevailed when I got myself a new one. When you indulge in such shady moves, seeds of doubt and distrust are always sowed in the minds of your friends. “What could he possibly ask me to return next?”, “Was the gift he gave me for my birthday a genuine gift, or will he ask back for it one fine day in the future?” “Should I even accept anything given by him in the future?” These questions will constantly play in the back of your friends’ heads.
Asking for a gift back not only leaves your friend with a sour taste in their mouth, but is something that is totally undignified in the spirit of friendship.
Committing to something in the heat of the moment, and not sticking to that decision later.
In line with the above point, another dangerous mistake to commit with friends regardless of the duration of friendship is giving false hope.
One particular incident comes to mind. While at a gathering of likeminded friends, a friend of mine agreed to come trekking with me every month to one of my favourite locations, the Eastern Ghats of India. In the heat of the moment, (and I don’t know, maybe because there was a feeling of belonging and camaraderie in that moment or peer pressure), he agreed to join me for treks to one of my favourite locations repeatedly for months together, which is how I usually do it.
Later, when it came to actually going for the trek, he backtracked on the deal and declined to come with me to that particular location citing various silly reasons like “its too hot” , “its too far”, and “why on earth do we have to keep going to the same place again and again”.
Regardless of how genuine those concerns were, in all fairness, he should have voiced them out before he made his commitment to me. When things like this happen, it not only makes you distrustful of the person in the future, but also chips away at the integrity of the friendship itself. You’ll always be sceptical about whether to call such people for group outings in the future afraid they might back out at the last moment forcing you to cut a sorry figure in front of your friends.
When you make such silly moves, people generally start becoming distrustful of you. It also shows that you’re not a man (or woman) of your words, and it’s likely they’ll start becoming wary of any kind gestures of yours in the future because of how you treated them in the past.
Being a fair weather friend
This is a point that generally splits a group into two. Due to our current obsession with productivity, with full-time jobs comprehensively taking over our lives, many people have started to believe that this point is subjective in nature. Most people are of the opinion that we must strive to maintain our friendships as much as possible, and if it sometimes falls to the wayside, no one must feel hurt or dejected. After all, there’s only so many responsibilities we can juggle in life at the same time.
Many of us are married and even have kids now, so friendship and meetings with friends kind of get pushed to the back seat.
Most people are accepting of the current brutal nature of our jobs since they themselves work in such settings, and are understanding when long time friends don’t see each other for months together.
But there are still others who maintain that a friendship must be maintained through and through no matter what’s going on in one’s life. They are of the opinion that life is like a boat and that no amount of work, family, relationships or hobbies can take the place of friendship. And since everything is so uncertain and fluid, friendships must be maintained.
Because if you’re neglecting a friend due to a job or relationship, who do you go to when that fails or abruptly ends? This isn’t a Netflix subscription where you can click ‘Resume playing’ and your friendship picks up immediately from where you left off. This is a real live person you’re dealing with. So no matter what the reason is, always be up front and transparent with them about it. If they’re the honest and genuine personality that you think they are, they will understand your predicament, and they will continue to be friends with you, even if you meet them only twice a year.
Not keeping in touch
Not keeping in touch isn’t the same as being a fair weather friend. Fair weather friends may turn on and off like light switches, feigning at least some kind of sentiment towards you. But those who don’t keep in touch switch off completely, not even doing the bare minimum required to keep the friendship afloat and cruising. Not keeping in touch not only ruins a friendship, but also sends out a clear message to the other person that you’re no longer interested in remaining friends.
Sometimes it’s the most innocuous and innocent of deeds that chip away at friendships. You don’t have to necessarily have a verbal argument, a difference of opinion, or gossip about your friend behind his back.
You just have to not stay in touch.
Friends come in various shades of attitudes and temperaments. But the real one’s will always stick by your side, be straightforward with you about whats bothering them, and will never talk about you behind your back.
Do let me know your thoughts in the comments section to the side.