Friendship fail 1. Boasting about your kids
Look, we are all proud of our offspring. That little certificate they brought home from school may have been one of ten shared out in their class but in your mind, your little tyke deserved it more than any of their classmates. You know it's true!
Keep this kind of boasting in check. This can come across as your flimsy attempt to hide the fact you're boasting of how good a parent you are. Your friend's kids may be going through difficult times at school. They may not be as grounded or as brilliant as yours. Remember your friend may be fighting with doubts about her own parenting. It's no fault of hers that her son isn't book smart. He may be great at singing, skateboarding or art, but your boasting can put her on the spot. Instead of going on about your kids, find out what your friends' children are good at and talk to her about their achievements. Wait until you're asked about your children's successes before you blurt them all out to your friends.
Friendship fail 2. Chattering non-stop about your baby
This is a big one. As soon as we've had a baby, it seems as though we want to convert the world and his mules into parents. Many women have infertility problems which they keep locked in their hearts. They feel less of a woman because they can't get pregnant (even though this is not true). A few women even say they're not ready for kids or are not sure they want kids yet, while burning up inside with one desire only - to have a baby. One of my friends was like that for years. She convinced herself she didn't want kids because she had to keep up the charade to everyone who asked, 'When are you going to?'
This is a very touchy subject, and one which is advisable to keep far away from unless the subject is raised by the other party. If you've just had your baby, you should be proud to show them off. It's your right. Never, however, allow your baby talk to become all you say to your childless friend. She won't be friends with you for long because she'll see your constant chat about your prowess at giving birth as a direct attack on her inability to even conceive. This is not the case, but to a woman desperate to have a child, this makes perfect sense in her mind. Be a good friend and think of her needs.
Friendship fail 3. Brandishing your weight loss in her face
So your friend watches what she eats and spends her entire life on yo-yo dieting. You've managed to lose some weight and you're suddenly getting all the attention. The last thing you want to press on your friend is the virtues of weight loss. She would've noticed the change in you. If she was interested to walk the same path, she would've asked you about it already. Let her know you're there for her, but don't start preaching to her about her weight. She knows as well as you do that she's overweight. Making hints or presenting her with weight loss books is taking it a step too far. Whatever you do, don't count her calories when you go out to dinner. If you must count yours, do it without opening your gob.
Keep in mind that her friend (you) have just gone and made her look fat and ugly by becoming gorgeous. You've climbed out from a rut that she's long since been fighting to get out of. You can understand a little jealously on her part, can't you. Give her tips only if she asks and make an effort to continue being the person you were before you changed your body.
Friendship fail 4. All you talk about is your new date
In the best of times, talking non-stop about your new boyfriend is a no-no for friendship harmony. In this case, your friend hasn't had a date in ages, yet you call her just to talk about your new boyfriend. Listen, she's not interested! Many women still measure their femininity and attractiveness by how datable they are. Shoving your 'success' of reeling in a mate is in fact saying to a long-time single woman (who hasn't chosen to be single) that she's ugly and a failure. Of course, you won't say this to a friend. However, if she's lacking in self-esteem, this is exactly what she'll be thinking. Don't for the life of you or her, say, 'This is what I think you should do to get a date'.
No one wants to put themselves through torture. And this is what your constant chat about your perfect boyfriend feels like to your friend. Naturally, she'll want to avoid the hurt at all costs and will begin seeing you less and less. Apart from this, your aim as her friend is to support, not isolate her. Talk about your new love only if asked. She will ask out of courtesy and loyalty to you, but your job is to read her silent thoughts and spare her the romance tales.
Friendship fail 5. You're divorcing and you want her to take sides
Shame on you if you're even considering this. It's bad enough for your friend that she is losing your husband as a friend. She has had to put up with years of complaining about your less-than-perfect marriage. She's not throwing around blame, she's just trying her hardest to support both you and him at the same time. This is not an easy task. Give her a break and don't expect her to suddenly cut all ties with someone she's known and liked for years.
If you're on the other side of a friend going through a divorce, be careful not to throw blame on her husband. He's the man she fell in love with and chose to marry for better or worse. Someday they may get back together and she'll hate you for all thing bad things you said about him (I've learned this the hard way). On the flip side of this, don't defend his actions (this is truly a tightrope situation, isn't it). Support her the best way you can and try to calmly steer the discussions to more pleasant things. Offer a shoulder to cry on and be there to pick up the pieces. You're her friend, not her solicitor. Never, ever say, 'I knew you two would never make it. I told you so'.
How have you fared with these friendship fails? Are you or have you been guilty of any of them? How did you (and your friend) deal with it and did you manage to put the failure aside and become stronger for it? Fess up below. You know you'll feel better for it.
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