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March 15, 2007 / missknowitall

Abrasive Friends With Soft Hearts

Dear Little Miss,

I have a friend that, unfortunately, doesn’t have many friends. I enjoy spending time with her, but find that she is quite rude to almost everyone she comes in contact with. She is aware of her “abrasiveness”, but doesn’t really care. Deep inside, she really is a kind and loving person, but you wouldn’t know it unless you take the time to really get to know her. She is in need of friend, but I find that it is very embarrassing and frustrating to go out with her. I have told her in the past that she scares people away and that “sometimes” I get uncomfortable in public with her, but it hasn’t made any difference whatsoever. I am afraid that if I bring it up again, she will lash out at me and our friendship might be finished. I do not want to lose her friendship because I truly do care about her and know that she really is a person who has the potential to be a great friend. Can you help me?

Dear Friend,

I think we all know a person like this.  The one who has an abrasive or loud laugh and who loudly complains about bad service at restaurants.  The one who doesn’t mind telling people that their new hair cut is awful and who will tell you that your kids are rotten brats.  The one who snubs her nose up at the very idea of trying to be fashionable.  What ever these peoples’ annoying mannerisms may be they can also be very fun loving, honest, and true friends.  I love these kind of friends because I know that what I see is what I get.  No second guessing or trying to “figure them out”, and best of all, no back stabbing.  These kinds of friends will usually stick with you through it all, provided you don’t get on their bad side of course.  Consider yourself lucky to have this diamond in the rough as a friend.  Now that we have sung the praises of these fine people let’s figure out how to survive those awkward social situations with them.  Do you want the good news, or the bad news first?  I always prefer to get the bad stuff out of the way and wash it down with some sweet stuff, so here goes:  There isn’t a single thing you can do that will change her, so stop trying right now.  You can try talking to her about it, maybe even explain to her the difference between being “fake” and just being kind.  In the end, though, it is up to her to want to change and that might not be very likely to happen any time soon.  The good news is that you can go out with her and still have fun.  If she does something rude to someone you can just say “Oh, don’t pay any attention to my friend, she is a wonderful gal who just likes to scare people off”.  The more attention you give her for being sweet, kind, and wonderful, the less she might act up (out of embarrassment).  But even if it doesn’t phase her a bit you at least detach yourself from her behavior and set a good example without having to hurt her feelings.  If she is really so bad that you can’t bear it, then don’t go out publicly with her.  You can always meet at each other’s homes where you can both relax and not have to worry about other people.

May your friendship be worthy of all its trials,

Miss Knowitall 

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