#53) In praise of high maintenance-friends

Everyone has them: the friend whose phone number makes your eyes roll when it pops up on your caller ID; the one who only calls when they want something.  Human relationships are a funny thing, and sometimes–be they romantic, professional or just friendly–they can sometimes seem like they’re more trouble than they’re worth.  I’ve certainly been guilty of involvement in many high-maintenance friendships, arguably on both ends.

But can there actually be benefits to the drama?  Do high-maintenance friends ever give back?  Not conscientiously, perhaps, but in some ways, your high maintenance friends may actually be paying you back.  Here are some advantages to rolling with the divas.

1) You will learn about yourself.  What attracted you to these people and why do you need them in your life?  Why did they pick you?  As you sit reading your Twitter feed while your friend rants on the other end of the line, think about this.

2) You will learn about your high maintenance friends.  What makes someone high maintenance?  Are you perhaps guilty of the same behavior for which you judge them?  At the same time, you may be able to learn from the way they carry themselves and seem to get others to cater to their whims.

3) You will appreciate your low-maintenance friends more.

4) You will appreciate yourself more.   The effort you put into your high maintenance friends might cause you to look at your priorities differently.   Why is it, you might ask, that you drop everything you’re doing to put out someone else’s fire, but spend your own free time watching TV or reading lame-ass blogs like this one?

5) They’re still your friends.  Unless you have basically an adult version of a bully/victim relationship on your hands, odds are your high maintenance friends DO care about you in one way or another; they probably have at least some good traits that caused you to want to associate with them.   Over the years I’ve had friends who I consider to be a little high maintenance come through for me with a well-timed email, text or phone call that shows understanding and compassion beyond what I’ve expected.  No one is all perfect; most people aren’t all bad.  Your high maintenance friends have their strengths and benefits; you may have to hold them at arm’s length, but odds are pretty good that they’re still worth keeping in your circle.

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