Are in a one-way friendship? If you recognize 3 or more of the signs below, you might be!
Her name flashes up as my phone rings for the third time today. I debate on whether or not to pick up because I know exactly what she's going to say. I have laundry to do and dinner to make, but the loyal, guilty part of me picks up knowing I'd be giving the next hour of my life over to her weeping and wailing. She knew I would, and that's why she called me.
Yes indeed, I'd been bitten yet again by my emotional vampire best friend who, frankly, was sucking the life blood from me. For a long time I didn't recognize the signs because I assumed 'being there' for her is what friendship is all about. But after a while, I found myself in the same situation over and over again: giving a large portion of my time and energy to an ungrateful, needy friend who didn't repay the favor. So how do you know if YOUR best friend is an emotional bloodsucker? Watch out for these clues:
1. She only called when she needed me, but never answered the phone when I called.
We all have bad days when work gets us down, or we have a fight with our boyfriend, or we didn't get the promotion we'd hoped for. In those cases, I needed a glass of wine and a good vent to someone who cares about me and who will sympathize, so I would pick up the phone and rang her. But I always got her voicemail. God forbid she called me, and I didn't pick up.
2. She jumped from drama to drama.
One day it was her Dad's illness, the next the date from hell. The week after, she called to vent about her mean old boss who took all the credit for her work. I listened. I supported. I advised. But here's the thing: just as one issue was solved, another issue always popped up. That was the thing with her, she was NEVER happy, and, honestly, she didn't want to be. WHERE'S the fun in that?
3. She never took my advice.
My emotional vampire friend went back—time and time again—to an idiot guy. He used her for sex, dumped her, got bored and then called her again. When he would inevitably dump her again, she'd call me. This happened so many times I lost count. I was her emotional crutch—listening as she wept and advising her to move on and find a nice guy who treated her well, but she wouldn't listen. It got to the point where I was bored of hearing myself say the same old thing that I finally had to ban his name from our conversation. Slowly but surely, her phone calls came less, and soon enough, she finally vanished all together. Honestly? I felt utter relief. Emotional vampires don't want solutions. They just want to moan, endlessly.
4. She took forever to text back.
She carried her phone with her everywhere, so why did it take two days to reply to my small text? She only replied when she had something she needed to share or talk about, because DUH. Her life was more important than mine. Or at least she thought it was.
5. No matter what I was going through, she had been through worse.
Friendship woe isn't a competiton. If I'm upset about something going on in my life, the last thing I want is someone to negate how I'm feeling by telling me how much harder they've had it. I want sympathy, goddammit! So if I got stood up, she got cheated on. If I got cheated on, she got cheated on AND dumped. It got so exhausting to never be allowed to have a bad day/date/hairdo because she always had it worse.
6. She lived her life in a rut and expected me to as well.
People that are never happy for your successes are not real friends. You can see it in their eyes when you tell them you got engaged/promoted/pregnant. They smile, but it doesn't reach their eyes. I remember when I had been single for 6 years, and I finally met the man who would become my husband. I told my best friend that I couldn't go to the movies because I'd promised to see my boyfriend, and she recoiled. "Oh, he's your boyfriend now is he?" She laughed scornfully. "Wonder how long that'll last." I was hurt. The relationship lasted but our friendship did not. The minute I was no longer the single friend to go partying with, she wasn't interested in me. This vampire only wanted my friendship because we were in the same single boat. Once that dynamic changed, I didn't see her for dust.
7. She started things but never saw them through—then blamed everyone else for her failings.
Recognize this one? The woman who starts the diet but then falls off the wagon and is furious when you stick to it and lose 10 pounds? Or she starts a job hunt but gives up when she doesn't get an interview for the first application. Emotional vampires rarely see things through. They give up at the first hurdle to prove their 'see, I told you I couldn't do it' theory. Deep down, my vampire friend feared change and would rather be stuck in a rut forever than take any risks. She blamed every single thing that went wrong for her on other people: the ex-boyfriend who left her, the ex friend who was a b*tch (of course), the boss who never promoted her. Emotional vampires aren't happy people. The only thing that brings them joy is sucking the joy and vitality out of YOUR life.
If you spot more than three of these signs, run for the hills. Block her calls and emails. Avoid the places she goes to. Don't feel bad about it—you're protecting yourself! If you feel guilty, remind youself that vampires always need new blood ... she'll be on to the next victim before you know it!