High Maintenance Friends

by Janelle Harris

You were asleep—until the ringing phone awakens you. It rings again. You pry one eye open to look at your alarm clock, groggy, disoriented and more than a little irritated. 1:35 a.m. Might be a family emergency, might be your boyfriend calling for a little wee hour pillow talk. But you’re pretty sure you already know who it is.

First of all, shake off the guilt about considering anyone in your sister circle to be a bit of a handful. A good friend is supposed to be honest, if nothing else, especially where her closest homies are concerned. Actually, a good friend gets her start by being honest with herself. When our relationships with men become unhealthy, we get to the root of each and every contributing issue before we decide to dump the offending partner. Somehow out of allegiance to another woman or to an imagined badge of good girlfriend honor, we can tolerate even worse from fellow females. But when you’ve been hazed as the sounding board for your girl’s incessant string of financial woes, men problems and career stall outs, your relationship takes on an uneven kilter.

Eight Sure Fire Signs That Your Friend Is High Maintenance

While your girl may take the label of high maintenance as a compliment, it isn’t cute—it’s a sign that you need to reevaluate the worth of the friendship. You may think she needs you because everyone should be able to rely and count on someone else. We all harbor fear of abandonment and rejection in the deepest parts of our spirits and no reasonably compassionate person wants to be the source of someone else’s perpetual diss. However friendship, like romantic love, is a two-way affair. If you are pouring into a relationship that you’re getting nothing back from, why keep making the emotional (and sometimes physical and financial) investment? You wouldn’t put stock in a failing company. So don’t place your precious energy into a fruitless friendship.

Communication will reveal the true quality of your high maintenance situation. If confronted with your feelings, your friend may admit that she didn’t realize that her behavior had become so overwhelmingly one-sided and work immediately to adjust it. That’s the Mary Poppins, We-Are-the-World, squeaky-clean-like-Disney scenario. In the real world, though, you have to brace yourself for the possibility that your girl might play defense to the challenge of her authenticity as a friend. She may withdraw; she may even cuss you out, in which case you’re better off on the receiving end of her silent treatment. Saying life is too short has become so clichéd, but it couldn’t be more true—these precious days go by too quickly to be worrying about, taking phone calls from and cleaning up messes for someone who wouldn’t return the favor for you.

  • 2centsinCali

    what i have encountered in terms of high maintenance friends:

    -they expect you to say yes to EVERYTHING, and show up but cancel plans with you without explanation
    - only listen to pieces of your stories (coming to their own conclusions) and then use what you’ve said against you to make you feel guilty for not complying with their wishes
    -don’t respect your desire to spend time alone or with a boo
    -keep score of every little thing you do or don’t do (and use things they have done for you against you, throwing them back in your face at a later time)

    i’m getting to old for this! friends should make you feel at ease, not like your on a string, expected to comply with their every demand.

    i sometimes think,chick maybe you want/need a boyfriend!! I can’t be available to you 24/7!

  • http://gravatar.com/lovegiraffes onegirl

    I wouldn’t necessarily call this friend high-maintenance, but extremely selfish, or one-way. The part that would be high maintenance is the part where she’s talking about her better quality clothes and shoes.

    No one should have time for friends like this. They are very draining.

  • Ange B

    @ 2scentsCali, I feel you! There is nothing worse than a friend who just thinks you should jump for them. I don’t understand where they get the idea. Even if they have a bf as well they still treat everyone including their man like that as well. And my one pet peeve with a friendship like that was the notion your time wasn’t valuable. Cancelling on a whim, hogging up time when you say you gotta go or can’t talk or worst you are at work and not on break now.

    Good thing I got rid of my friend like that too much drama and honestly if dealing with that person is always draining even after you have told them they need to be let go. Time vampires and all those other names is what those people are in your life.

  • http://ladyngo.blogspot.com Lady Ngo

    This sounds way more like rude and self-centered than high maintenance to me

  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    Plus they don’t sound like friends.

  • Cocochanel31

    I have a friend like this ..I have pulled back over the years though bc when dealing with one’s own drama you can’t always stomach someone else 24/7- much of which is self inflicted. This person even goes so far as to INVITE HERSELF to functions that I’m attending w/other people in order to be in the mix. That is perhaps the most frustrating of all.

  • mEE

    and this is EXACTLY why I dropped out of my now ex-best friend’s wedding and ended our friendship. NOBODY has time for all that.

  • Downsouth Transplant

    LOL, one of my college girlfriend’s after me not picking up er calls, went as far as to call my mother in Africa at work (not my mother called Africa, but as in the continent of Africa from the states ) talk about guts & crazy mixed in one, Thank God, I had looped my mother about this crazy heifer & we talk frequently. An hour on the phone with my mother who she had only met once during graduation, she asks if i am still with my boo!!!! All my mother could tell her was “She is very much alive & you will have to wait for her to return her call, even if it takes a year.”

  • lissa

    they best way is to avoid them or train them! lol

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    Right! Nothing I read was “high maintenance” but as you said inconsiderate I wouldn’t even consider a person like that a friend.

  • justanotheropinion

    Learned a long time ago that life is too short, my time too precious and my sanity too respected to maintain this type of nonsense in my life….

  • Whatever
  • Rakel

    I have a friend and cousin like that. Both of them swear their blues are the worst blues in the world. And will proceed to tell you why and never once ask how you are doing. In September I just moved back to NY (Brooklyn), and you think my friend ever once called or texted to see how I was doing? Lol (and get out of her own sorrows?) Not even through this Hurricane Sandy did she call or text (her ex who I dislike asked my sister about me) Oh excuse me, today she texted and said what’s up, and proceeded to go on about her cramps. I even mentioned how grateful to GOD I was, just to see if she would say an “oh yeah” how are things. Nah, didn’t happen. Her troubles at work are too important to ask me about how I’m doing. Too done. I have been there for that girl since high school. I can no longer afford toxic friends as I’m on a path to bettering every aspect of my life. The path doesn’t include bad friends. Thank GOD for the real people in my life. I’m godmother to my cousin’s son. I kind of still have to talk to her, but I keep her at arms length.

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