Posted by: joha5 | May 26, 2010

Just a Spoonful of Sugar Makes the Friendship Go Down

Overall, I am a very patient and tolerant person.  I very rarely lose my temper, I am always conscious of potentially saying something that could be taken as offensive, and I am much happier when the mood around me is free of friction and complication.  It just makes my life easier.  However, even I have a limit of tolerance with individual people before they start driving me crazy and they slowly move from the ‘friend zone’ to the ”weirdo zone’ and – if they aren’t careful – the ‘I absolutely cannot stand you zone’. 

I have tried to navigate this kind of situation many times throughout my life and it is possibly one of the most difficult social situations to deal with.  How do you manage to keep somebody at arms length when they will do anything not to be kept there?  The best way that I have found is to limit interaction with them as much as possible and see if you can keep them in small doses.  This way you can still see them and if they start to be strange or drive you nuts when you see them then at least you know you won’t have to do it again for some time.  This seems to work the best for me but sometimes the attempt to keep them at a distance only makes them more awkward and unacceptable to be around. 

I cannot think of a worse social situation than something like this...

I am currently dealing with a couple of people like this at the moment and it is so emotionally draining to have to navigate this situation that I am at my wit’s end about it all.  Now, I am not perfect and I am sure that I am viewed by many people as strange, unacceptable, boring, awkward, or uncomfortable to be around by more people than I could possibly imagine.  I like to think that I have a good social sense but obviously there have been – and will be – times when it fails me.  The fact that I am even in a situation comparable to the one I am in now actually demonstrates that my social sense is off in the first place so I am clearly not perfect.

I think the problem is that I don’t want to hurt somebody’s feelings by articulating to them that they are irritating or make me feel awkward on a fairly regular basis.  I just hope that by not being accessible to them that they will eventually figure out what is going on.  Unfortunately, it very rarely works this way and I always just seem to muddle through awkwardly.  This will probably be what happens this time around too.  I mean, there are much bigger problems that I could be dealing with in life so this really isn’t a big deal in the end.  It’s just very draining and time-consuming and I would rather worry about other things.  Friendships should be organic and natural and easy.  I just wish these people would understand that too so that I could increase their doses rather than having to limit them.



  1. I totally feel you on this one… sometimes it’s better to cut the cord and move on with your life. Or a not so cold turkey way of putting it, you have to start to distance yourself to the point where they don’t miss you anymore 🙂

    • Haha! I couldn’t agree with you more on this PB&C! Sometimes the proverbial chord cuts quickly and cleanly and other times you just have to hack away at it until it is totally frayed and severed. I have a feeling that the people I am speaking of are going to have to get more hacking and chopping than snipping! 😉

  2. Trouble. The worst is when your social circles overlap so much that you can’t control the doses of interaction. In these situations I try to find someone and engage in intense, highly specific discussion on something the problem person doesn’t know/doesn’t care about until they leave. This can backfire badly, if you find out they have a hidden hobby.

    • Hahaha! What a great strategy, Libby! I like it! However, there would need to be other people there that I could have these highly specific debates with. I just don’t like the idea of investing my time and energy in people that I am not the biggest fan of. I am sure that people who aren’t my biggest fan wouldn’t want to invest their time and energy in me either!

  3. i go into hiding

    • I’m with you on this one. I don’t answer my phone. I don’t spend much time or energy speaking to them. And I try and avaoid them like the plague. Not in a mean way…just in a way that creates some distance so they hopefully get the hint.

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