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NO is a Very Good Word – Especially to People that Suck You Dry

NO is a Very Good Word – Especially to People that Suck You Dry

Toxic-RelationshipsShe breezily walked into my room and plopped down on the bed.

“Do you know what I woke up to this morning?” she asked.

I thought maybe a pesky stinkbug had worked its way through a window crack, or the cat had fallen asleep on her long curly hair. On both accounts, no.

“What then?”

“I woke up to a four paragraph text from  _____  saying she was so sorry she’s been such a bad friend lately.  She apologized for ignoring me while she ‘worked’ on her relationship with her boyfriend.  And then another 4 or 5 wondering why I wasn’t replying to her.  Mom, she sent it at 1 o’clock in the morning!!!  What did she think I was doing?  I was sleeping!”  (My daughter does love her sleep…)

“Well, at least she recognizes she’s done that to you,”  I remarked.

“I’m just going to take it with a grain of salt,” she replied. “She also said she’s been so busy working on it she realized she doesn’t have any friends.”

This so-called friend latched onto my daughter earlier in the year, likely because her boyfriend is a long time family friend of ours, one of our son’s best friends, and I’m pretty sure she was (is?) jealous of my girl’s friendship with him.  Even though there’s no cause to be.  That whole “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” thing?  I’m fairly certain she felt my daughter was “the enemy.”

But my daughter was warm and welcoming, and just because it was important to the boyfriend, spent considerable time getting to know the girl.  For a while, my daughter even seemed to genuinely enjoy her company.

Until she didn’t.  At some point she just became the arbitrator in their relationship.  In all fairness, both the boyfriend and girlfriend called and texted my daughter at ALL hours of the day.  Each wondering if the other had given my daughter any insight into what the other was thinking.

Does he still love me?

Is she going to break up with me?

It got old fast.  Really fast.  Suddenly though, coinciding with the beginning of the school year, the girl decided to not devote time to any of her friendships, because she and the boy “just needed to work on their relationship.”  My dad used to call these kinds of girls situational friends.  When the situation suits them, they have all the time in the world, but if it doesn’t…, well, I’ve tried to warn my kids away from these kinds of friends.

“Fine,” my daughter said at the time. “Less of a headache for me.  I really don’t care.  Besides, in the whole scheme of things, I’m going to be his friend in the long run anyway.”

Sitting on the bed next to my daughter, I asked if she had replied to the late-night text.

“Yeah, I told her that I’m still her friend, but I don’t really have the energy or desire to spend time on someone who only wants to be my friend when it’s convenient for them.”

“You did?”

My jaw dropped in awe.  I’ve never been that kind of bold.  I wish I could be that kind of bold.  I need to be that kind of bold.  Instead,  I’m a hold-it-in-and-put-a-smile-on-my-face-people-pleaser-’til-I’m-sick-at-my-stomach kind of person.

But BRAVO and well done to my girl!!!

“Good for you!” I applauded.

“For what?” she queried.

“Because you’re standing up for yourself, and you realize that toxic, needy people aren’t worth the time.  AND YOU TOLD HER that!  Instead of just continuing to put up with it.  I’m very proud of you.”

She walked away with a smile on her face, her back a little straighter.

Maybe she’ll remember this the next time it happens with a girl friend.  Maybe she’ll remember this if it happens with a boyfriend. Maybe my weakness gave way to her strength.  My inability gave her the ability.

Maybe she just learned that she has the power to say NO and her life will be better for it.

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