how to handle a mean friend?
January 21, 2016 10:14 PM   Subscribe

I need advice / strategies on the best way to address the problem of a friend who makes critical remarks to me. Details below.

So I have a male friend that I've been pretty close to for about 3 years (we started out dating before becoming friends). We used to be part of a group with a third and fourth friend. Last year, the other two friends moved away and since that time my friend has been increasingly critical towards me. He makes mean and / or condescending remarks usually insinuating that I'm not very intelligent. I've decreased the amount of time I spend with him, but it continues although not consistently enough that I think the friendship isn't worth salvaging. He CAN be very nice and fun and has helped me through some really rough patches in the past (and vice versa).

I'd like to talk to him about this, but I'm pretty sure he's gonna say I'm too sensitive or something like how he's not responsible for my feelings. I think the best approach might be to wait until he has just said something critical and then address it, but I'm not sure how. What is a good response to "I'm not responsible for your feelings?". I mean, this has some truth, but I would also not like to put up with contemptuous remarks from my friends.

Any advice? I am already working on expanding my social circle.

posted by seraph9 to Human Relations (40 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like he's not actually your friend to be honest. Life is too short to put up with shit friends who feel like they can treat you bad. If you can't have an honest discussion with him about this then my advice is to find new friends and leave him in the dust. If he refuses to listen to you when you tell him how you are feeling and responds with anything insensitive, you know what to do. Just because he is sometimes nice to you doesn't mean he's a good friend. My ex was plenty nice to me. Until the days he wasn't and made me feel craptastic. When talking didn't work I got out and things are way better. It's the same with friendships. Demand respect and draw boundaries. I'm not good with providing scripts so I'll let someone else tackle that part of your question.
posted by FireFountain at 10:26 PM on January 21, 2016 [26 favorites]

Your friends are in some way responsible for your feelings in that they should feel invested in you feeling positively and not negatively. In return you also are working towards that for them. That's the whole point of having friends. Someone who is truly does not care about your feelings is called a stranger or an enemy.
You should just say "That's a really nasty thing to say." Then get up and leave and never see him again.
posted by bleep at 10:27 PM on January 21, 2016 [44 favorites]

Draw boundaries, get the respect you deserve, and let him know there are consequences for being an asshole. There are plenty of friends who might make a mean or condescending comment, but they would apologize and realize that it comes off as terrible and that they are sincerely sorry for affecting you in that way and they would want to try harder and better next time. They then follow through, check in, and ask, or if their social skills are lacking, they can ask for support or calling in to be more mindful.

If he isn't interested in that effort, or has no interest in being more self-aware that he is doing that and would like to take a better effort in the future in not doing that, then drop him.
posted by yueliang at 10:34 PM on January 21, 2016 [4 favorites]

"What is it that you are trying to achieve with that comment?"

Drill down with detached curiosity. Find out what it is that is so beneficial about the comment that it justified the risk of ruining someone's night. Someone they supposedly care about.

Fat-hate people can delude themselves that calling someone fat is helping them change for the better, but insinuating a lack of intelligence is a bit harder to cast as being helpful. I'm sure they have a reason though. Maybe one that they don't want to admit to, or might not even want to admit to themselves, so whatever reason is offered, drill down on it a bit further to see if it really makes a lot of sense in a good-faith rational caring context.

At the end of it, tell them that the alleged reason is not sufficiently important to be worth the risk of ruining a friend's night, so don't say that sort of thing in future.
posted by anonymisc at 10:39 PM on January 21, 2016 [14 favorites]

"Hey dude, you know that when you point your finger at me, there are three fingers pointing back at you. Stop the judginess now and I won't think less of you."

If he tries to minimise his behaviour: "I'm not judging you!'or 'Well if you weren't so xxyyzz..." just say "stop now while the hole is still shallow" and move onto to something else.
posted by Thella at 10:40 PM on January 21, 2016 [3 favorites]

What is a good response to "I'm not responsible for your feelings?"

"But you *are* responsible for what comes out of your mouth, and lately it's been a lot of condescending and insulting nonsense. Please stop it."
posted by rtha at 10:42 PM on January 21, 2016 [91 favorites]

Why are you still talking to this (awful immature) person?

This is who he is at his core. When no one else is around. Do you like him? Do you like how he makes you feel?

Good news is you can easily move on without even a conversation. Just fade.
posted by jbenben at 11:20 PM on January 21, 2016 [8 favorites]

"No, I'm responsible for my feelings and I'm going to manage them by not being around people who don't care how I feel"
posted by the agents of KAOS at 11:42 PM on January 21, 2016 [13 favorites]

Sometimes I just say "ouch" when someone says something mean to me. And if that person gets defensive and tries to explain I just say " ouch" again. It's simple and straightforward and doesn't blame anyone, it just demonstrates that what I'm hearing feels painful to me.
posted by Bella Donna at 11:50 PM on January 21, 2016 [7 favorites]

Any advice?

Get rid. Someone who sometimes shits on you but sometimes also buys you flowers is *someone who shits on you*. Life is too short to put up with that nonsense. He's an adult who is presumably in control of the sentences that come out of his mouth, and if he can't figure out that saying mean things to people is not cool, then he's something of a lost cause.

If, when you call him out on it, he immediately apologises and stops saying mean things, then it might be worth trying to stay friends. Anything other than that is a sign you'll be better off walking away.
posted by Solomon at 11:53 PM on January 21, 2016 [7 favorites]

How about, "that hurts my feelings."

He's not responsible for your feelings, but your feelings ARE legitimate, and he is responsible for his actions, so you are asking him to take minor action as a courtesy to your feelings. If he doesn't understand and is unwilling to change, don't spend any more time with him. Life is short and we shouldn't waste it on people who knowingly hurt us.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 12:15 AM on January 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

What is a good response to "I'm not responsible for your feelings?".

"What?! Don't you care how I feel?"

Then pause and really wait for their answer.

Sample convo:
[mean comment]
Ouch! That hurts!
I'm not responsible for your feelings.
What?! Don't you care how I feel?
Yes sure but I'm just -
Then why would you say such a hurtful thing?

Say it with pain and astonishment in your voice.

If they still keep doubling down and don't immediately start apologizing - honestly no one is worth that kind of crap. He can make something else his punching bag not you.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:24 AM on January 22, 2016 [12 favorites]

Tell him you get the friends in life that you deserve. Look around, mention that two of his friends have moved away and you, his last friend, is about to walk out of his life too, due to his nasty behaviour. Look, no one left. Does that tell him everything he needs to know?
posted by Jubey at 1:21 AM on January 22, 2016 [5 favorites]

Friends are people who make you feel good about yourself. They accept you for who you are and accept your flaws. They're not mean or condescending. They sometimes give tough love (but the love is always there alongside the tough). They're the people that when you spend time with them, you come away feeling energized and positive. This guy doesn't sound like he makes the grade.
posted by finding.perdita at 1:24 AM on January 22, 2016 [4 favorites]

What is a good response to "I'm not responsible for your feelings?".

"No, you're not, so I guess it's my responsibility not to spend my time with dickheads who don't give a shit about my feelings. Bye"
posted by Dwardles at 2:06 AM on January 22, 2016 [10 favorites]

I came in to suggest ding training , but upon a re-read, I think the most appropriate response to a supposed friend who insults you and then says "I'm not responsible for your feelings" is "Go f#£k yourself". Any witty rejoinder he may have to that can be said to your retreating back.
posted by Cheese Monster at 3:05 AM on January 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

He's not your friend. Friends actually care about you and your feelings.

You need to listen to our girl, Amy Poehler, on what to do in these situations:

"Only hang around people that are positive and make you feel good. Anybody who doesn’t make you feel good, kick them to the curb. And the earlier you start in your life the better. The minute anybody makes you feel weird and non-included or not supported, you know, either beat it or tell them to beat it.”

The world is full of friends you haven't met yet---kind, unselfish, sensitive, supportive, helpful and positive people who know how to be good friends and good people. They understand the mutually supportive and loving aspect of friendship.

So let this chump go live in his rude world, and downgrade him to acquaintance. His not knowing how to act is not your problem---someone else can help him. You don't need to put up with hurtful remarks one more second. Just go find better people to socialize with and find better friends.

Also, I think you should just stone cold drop him---no lessons, no explanations. He's been very disrespectful towards you, and you don't need to waste any energy on that rude ass mofo.

posted by discopolo at 3:13 AM on January 22, 2016 [23 favorites]

Tell him frankly and clearly but without anger that you find the things he says unpleasant and you don't want to hear any more of them. Then close the discussion; you don't have to justify yourself or rebut his responses. If he's your friend he should be shocked and remorseful; if he starts arguing, walk away.
posted by Segundus at 3:17 AM on January 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Instead of "that hurts my feelings," try "that's a mean thing to say." He can say he's not responsible for your feelings, but he is responsible for what comes out of his mouth.

Really, though, "I'm not responsible for your feelings" is about the unfriendliest thing a person can say other than "I'm not your friend." He knows he's being a shit, make no mistake. He sucks and won't change. Go find friends who treat your feelings as something to respect and nurture, not something to deny responsibility for. Finding friends is difficult, but the good news is most friendship candidates would prefer you to feel good about yourself and will not actively get in the way of that.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:39 AM on January 22, 2016 [12 favorites]

What is a good response to "I'm not responsible for your feelings?".

Turn on you heels and walk away. For good.

A remark like that tries to make you responsible for letting him feel like what he actually is behaving like: a jerk.

So you could also say "the fact that you are acting in a condescending manner has nothing to do with my reactions to that behavior."
posted by Namlit at 3:51 AM on January 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

A mean friend is not a friend. Having zero friends is better than this. You know the time and effort you planned to deploy to change this rude person? Use them to meet new friends, don't look back. Good luck!
posted by frantumaglia at 4:01 AM on January 22, 2016 [5 favorites]

Calmly, almost bored, not agitated when he does it : 'I'd like you to speak to me nicely. Can you do that?
If you get 'blah blah blah I'm not being UN-nice, you're too sensitive blah blah' just say 'Noted. But it's a yes/no type question, dude. So, no?'

'I'd like you to stop putting me down. Can you do that?'
Him: 'Blah blah blah too sensitive/ what's up your ass etc etc blah blah'
You: 'Simple question, yes/no type answer preferred. I'm hearing no. ?'

Don't argue the premise. Say what you want, ask if he can do it. When he gives you his answer, you both know what the issue is when you walk away.
posted by honey-barbara at 4:12 AM on January 22, 2016 [15 favorites]

Thing to say when he's insulting: That's harsh!

Thing to do now. Stop counting this douche as one of your friends. It sounds like he's negging you in some lame PUA bullshit.

Personally, I'd stop talking to this guy, and ultimately never talk to him again.

Sounds like diminishing returns with this. At one time he was important in your life, and you're remembering the few good times you had. You keep going out with him hoping you can get back to a place when he was fun, and the few times he is, you get all jazzed about it. Out of proportion.

Time to move on. I'd rather be alone, than call jackasses like this friends.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:15 AM on January 22, 2016 [6 favorites]

"Dude. Are you my friend? Or not?"
posted by tomboko at 4:19 AM on January 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

"You're too sensitive"/"I'm not responsible for your feelings"

"That's fine. I thought about it and decided that this is a legitimate thing to feel bad about. I'd like to keep hanging out with you because [some good qualities of his], but again, I've been thinking about it for a while and this is important enough to me that it's a condition for me to keep seeing you, or frankly anyone. So it's up to you. You don't have to give me an answer now; if you want to hang out again I'd love to, on the condition that I feel respected around you. If not, thanks for the good times."

And leave whatever it is you're doing.
If later he decides to try and then goes back to his routine, then break up and feel stronger for it.

If you decide to keep seeing him and have been initiating a lot of your meetups or otherwise making most of the effort in your friendship, switch roles.

also: as someone who might say stupid things like "you're just too sensitive" out of an obnoxious instinct for self-defence and who also might say obnoxious things to people out of a basic instinct for stupidity, I'd say possibly bring this up once before the ultimatum, just to make it clear it bothers you in a lower-stakes way. If he keeps doing it and is defensive again, then it's time for an ultimatum and for walking away.

If you don't feel like doing that, though, you certainly don't owe it to him.

posted by trig at 5:35 AM on January 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

I had a friend like this, and he was actually the reason I opened an account here (it's my first question). The almost unanimous response was to move on, he won't change. Yet I still tried talking to this friend because when things were good they were great.

Guess what? He ended the friendship because I was "too sensitive" even though I was "a really good guy and a great friend." He just didn't want to change. It really hurt to lose him as a friend, but I know it's for the best. Assholes like being assholes. Putting others down gives them a sense of superiority because they are insecure.

I think you should learn from my mistake and move on. Best of luck.
posted by blackzinfandel at 5:49 AM on January 22, 2016 [4 favorites]

Hey everyone, thanks for all the responses!

Seems to be a general consensus here that I should walk away and at this point (assuming he is unresponsive to my requests for changing his behavior which I'm pretty sure he will be) my plan is to continue to fade. I've already been trying to fill my weekends with plans with other people. He'll text me with something like "Come over if you're bored!" And I'm not bored lol.

But I would have a really hard time just ending the friendship as we have had a lot of good times together and because I have a hard time making new friends in general. Perhaps making it a process will make it easier.

BONUS QUESTION: How can I learn to avoid these people in the future? This is the SECOND dude i've dated / been involved with / been friends with who turned out to be kind of a jerk, in not a long history of dating. In retrospect he never really showed much respect for my stated boundaries, but any other things I should be looking out for? The negging thing is interesting since it makes me wonder if this has in fact been going on the whole time and only recently got bad enough for me to notice :/

I read the related question "FYI your friend's a rapist" involving another supposed nice guy and one of the responses was "His being so out of the way protective of you should have raised some red flags, but they didn't. Sure, people are nice but for him to go so far out of his way.... shows that he is someone who wants to define your boundaries for you." I never would have thought about this as a red flag, but kinda reminds me of some of the super nice stuff my friend has done for me. On the other hand, I don't want to go about being suspicious of people doing nice things! And the friend in question really DID help me out in major ways.

I didn't grow up with the best relationships being role-modeled for me and any tips for spotting and avoiding these people would be helpful!

Thanks again for all the responses. It's nice to be validated in my thinking that this is not good friend behavior.
posted by seraph9 at 6:18 AM on January 22, 2016

BONUS QUESTION: How can I learn to avoid these people in the future?

If you're asking what kind of sorcery is available to detect assholes before interacting with them, I haven't found it yet. Unfortunately, you'll probably still have to talk with people for at least a brief period of time before they reveal their True Asshole. Fortunately, you've identified at least two people in your life as such, and you'll probably be able to identify the next one a little quicker. I mean, it sucks that you have to build up armor this way, but it doesn't have to be a full suit of steel plate, it can be a Kevlar vest that will minimize its intrusiveness in your day-to-day life. And it can be selective, so you can listen to someone tell you what a nice person you are today and you will accept that, and that same person will try negging you tomorrow and you will intercept that thought and think to yourself, "That might actually be a dick thing that was said, so instead of accepting it I will put it in the queue for further consideration and maybe ask him/her about it, and if this queue starts to fill up I'll take further action as warranted".

There's a line from Parenthood that I love. Jason Robards' character is standing in front of his house, a car comes driving by, the car door opens and his son is pushed out of the car, he says "who was that?" and his son replies "those were my friends," and he says, "Friends? Friends slow down. They even stop!" And I think that's the minimum behavior that a friend needs to take. They can be bitchy, or unhappy, or never shut up about triathlon training, and those are all okay things to be. But the line is drawn at abusive and mean, and once they're on the other side they're not your friend. And I'm totally stealing Solomon's line, "Someone who sometimes shits on you but sometimes also buys you flowers is *someone who shits on you*."
posted by disconnect at 6:49 AM on January 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

What is a good response to "I'm not responsible for your feelings?"

You could say in reply "Please try to be considerate."

That makes it an Ask, with a bonus "please", and I think consideration is a minimal thing to ask for. But you don't HAVE to be this gentle with his feelings, if you don't want to. (After all -- are you responsible for them? Hmm.) I would only be capable of softening the dialog this much for someone who had built up a lot of interpersonal credit with me.
posted by puddledork at 7:10 AM on January 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just say this: "I mean, this has some truth, but I would also not like to put up with contemptuous remarks from my friends."

It's already perfect.
posted by quincunx at 7:10 AM on January 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's impossible to avoid mean people. However, you can significantly shorten their stay in your life by:

1. learning to recognize red flags immediately. Make a list and learn it by heart. Start with things you outlined in this thread.
2. expressing that you will not tolerate such behavior. Use suggestions from this thread. Make a list of responses and situations where you might use them. Learn it by heart.
3. if the person is mean to you again after 2, drop them.

I recommend writing responses down and learning them by heart because in abusive situations we are often confused (that's the intent after all) and can't think of a good defense.
posted by frantumaglia at 7:12 AM on January 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

"You're responsible for treating your friends with respect--if you want to keep them."
posted by flug at 7:46 AM on January 22, 2016 [5 favorites]

About avoiding people like that: there's no real solution, but I think it's usually a bad sign if you find yourself predicting that the other person will blow off your concerns or turn them into your problem. (Once in a while people can ultimately surprise you in a good way, but it's something to notice and watch out for.) It's also worth noticing how they treat and talk about individuals, people in general, and specific kinds or groups of people. You can try to imagine how they'd sound describing you.
posted by trig at 8:24 AM on January 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

To try to address your bonus question:

Like you I grew up with no healthy models of relationships or friendships so it's been learn as I go and unfortunately it will be for you too. It's hard to recognize assholes at first because so often they try to be charming or they are charismatic and they seem nice. Trust your gut - if something feels off, I normally just bolt. And as you get to know people look for the little things like how they treat strangers, how do they talk about women, how do they treat their other friends, do they respect your boundaries, etc. As an example someone I work with - thought he was nice at first. He's friendly and sweet. But then I noticed him never telling me to my face if he had a minor problem with my work - he'd go above me immediately. He always calls the man who is above me to figure out workload stuff. Doesn't really look me in the eye. Anyway it slowly became clear to me that he doesn't respect me at all and he's weird with women. Asshole. Anyway just an example and for the record it took me like 6 months to see all the little things. This will sound weird but I tend to withhold trust when first getting to know people. As in, don't just blindly jump in to any relationship. Take the time to evaluate if this person is worth your time and emotional labor. Memail me if you have any specific questions... And, good luck. Making quality friends is hard for sure.
posted by FireFountain at 8:39 AM on January 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

You might want to read what KathrynT said about poop milkshakes.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:01 AM on January 22, 2016 [8 favorites]

haha yeah this friendship is definitely a "poop milkshake".
posted by seraph9 at 9:48 AM on January 22, 2016

I'd bet if I had to that he's angry that he's not your beau, that he is angry that it didn't work out as you and him being together, that he is angry that the consolation prize is that he is "just" your friend.* He couldn't be a dick about it when there were others on the scene who would look at him like he's acting like a total scrote -- which he is -- but now it's just the two of you and he's got some room to operate. If this is what's going on, he can't / won't say this straight up -- pride -- so he's slashing you instead.
*I know from personal, real-life, inside experience how badly that can sting, and if/when it does I mostly just have to move on, pick up the pieces of me and walk. Hopefully I can wave the person goodbye nicely but sometimes it's just cut and run. I've been on the other side of this also, and seen it in others; it's just a piece of life.


As far as how to treat him, the fade is best. "Oh, I think I have to curl my hair that night -- dang!" Done best with a text, also. And let him vent to voice mail. He'll get the news awfully fast. This will not be the first time this has happened to him. It's possible that he will get the hint, and if he does get the hint it's possible that he can/will become a friend you can allow in your life. Possible. But you can't count on that, and it's not the point of the fade -- the point of the fade is to wave this clown goodbye.


If you have to see him IE work or for whatever other reason, maybe lives in your condo complex, rides the same bus, whatever, then the fade won't work. You'll have to go nuclear, with the freeze. I had to do this about four years ago, a guy in my social milieu who was just totally passive aggressive, really crazy-making.

Two other people whose wisdom I really respect said just in casual conversation "Oh man, that Melvin, what a dope -- I just walk right by him." And that's what I did, from then on -- I would not even recognize his presence. Walk on by. Not even hello, not anything.

What's interesting is that within about two years, maybe two years and a half, this guy changed. He's become the friend he always could have been, rather than the mope he had been. But that's just gravy, that's just a bonus, and you can't count on it -- I sure didn't expect it. What I expected was to be shed of a jerk, and I sure was -- the freeze is a powerful tool.
posted by dancestoblue at 10:04 AM on January 22, 2016

While I am with someone, and for an hour or so after, I try to just notice how I feel and what my body is doing. My personal baseline is that I am extroverted, enjoy talking, usually concentrate well on a conversation, typically make good eye contact, and tend to have open body language. Different people will have different "tells" about the health/dysfunction of a given relationship, but some of the below are probably accurate for just about everyone...

While spending time with people who are a toxic fit for me, I experience the following:
- Desire to avoid eye contact
- Feeling scatterbrained and unable to concentrate
- Having to force myself to be polite and engage nicely
- Desire to talk much less than usual (ie to avoid conversation) or much more than usual (ie to drown them out)
- Having a hard time listening to them speak
- Wanting to, or trying to, steer the conversation away from what they want to talk about
- Unconsciously contorting my body so my knees and chest point away from the person
- Fidgeting
- Folding my arms across my chest or stomach, or covering my mouth, or bundling up my clothing like a shield around me
- Feeling self-conscious about my body (like I might try to pull my shirt away from my waist so they don't see my belly roll)
- Wanting to guard resources and segregate my food/saliva from theirs (like I would not want to offer them a bite of my meal, or I would not like them drinking from my cup)
- Wanting to argue about stupid details
- Hating silence - wish the TV was on, or loud music, anything to split my focus from them
- Wanting to check my phone constantly
- Holding my phone in my hand even if it is turned off (like hoping it will ring)
- Leaving to go to the restroom or kitchen or whatever, then dawdling when I'm there
- Desire to go to sleep immediately
- Finding the person physically unattractive (like fixating on a frenemy's weird teeth whereas usually I am the type to marvel at a friend's beautiful eyes)
- Not wanting to admit to any weakness or uncertainty in any aspect of my life
- Breathing more shallowly than usual
- Uncomfortable feeling in my stomach (like a pressure/churning feeling, which is my ususal response to anxiety)

After spending time with people who are a toxic fit for me, I often feel
- Tired, sluggish, or even sleepy
- Desire to binge-eat fatty unhealthy food
- Desire to drink alcohol
- Discouraged and sad
- Shoulders are high
- Stomach churning
- Social exhaustion (like I want to lie down all alone)
- Phone-addicted

When I am with people who are socially healthy for me, I
- Laugh and smile a lot
- Love to look at them
- Love to make eye contact while laughing
- Want to touch them (Hug them for no reason, or affectionally touch their shoulder as I walk by)
- Find them beautiful or sexy (even if we're not connecting on a romantic level)
- Am so reluctant to leave I will even delay peeing
- Forget I own a cellphone
- I'll do my best to prevent the TV or other background stimuli from interrupting our hangout
- Want them to share every good thing I have (like I will offer them sips/bites of my snack)
- Barely notice their physical "flaws" (meaning even things like food in their teeth, I might not notice)
- Tend to sit turned towards them
- Open out my body language so my body is spread out, with belly and chest open to them (like I may lie full length on the sofa)
- Have to physically drag myself away from them and am often late for the next thing I'm supposed to do
- Feel charged up and energetic when leaving- bound off to my next thing in a good mood and am often more productive for the rest of the day
- Crave their advice
- Recommend / introduce them to my friends
- Excitedly send them jokes and links and want to tell them stories

Try screening your body for signals like this. Your body will generally know who's good for you, you just have to practice listening.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:41 AM on January 22, 2016 [17 favorites]

BONUS QUESTION: How can I learn to avoid these people in the future?

Have some standards. Seriously, you are a precious gift in this world and anyone who doesn't treat you well doesn't deserve you. That's romantic interests or friends.

You don't know if people themselves are going to be disappointments down the road, but very few people can fake being nice if they really aren't.

If someone makes you feel bad = asshole
If someone makes you feel that you're a burden = asshole
If someone tells you things that aren't true = asshole
If someone flakes on you all the time = asshole
If someone is no fun to be around = asshole

You get the idea. People who are worthy of you are fun, kind, nice, and generally good people.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:34 PM on January 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

For your bonus question -- I think you have more than one level of friend. You have friends who you can trust and be open with, and friends who you can have a good time with, but who you don't confide in. And then you have acquaintances whose company you don't necessarily seek out, but you can enjoy hanging out with them sometimes. Don't automatically put people in the first tier; they have to earn it. And the moment your friend says something hurtful and, even when they realize it's hurtful, doesn't back down, demote them. At least for a while.
posted by chickenmagazine at 5:55 PM on January 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

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