Good tribes in the military are like diamonds, rare and beautiful. When these friendships come along, they usually last a lifetime.
And then there are those other tribes. Perhaps it’s a unit tribe (made up of spouses from the unit) or a “club” tribe (spouse’s club, sewing club, bowling league, whatever-floats-your-boat club) or a parenting tribe (parents of your children’s friends). They’re not all bad. Oh, no. But the occasional bad apple seems to sour the whole tribe. Suddenly, you find yourself no longer looking forward to something you enjoyed.
You probably have no problem pinpointing the offender. It’s as easy as identifying that 1 moldy strawberry that contaminates the entire container. Other times it takes a little bit of sleuthing.
Here are 7 bad-news friends that can contaminate your good-vibe tribe:
- The Me, Me and More Me: It’s all about them. You know the ones who only call you when they need something or who quickly change the subject to themselves and their situation. They ask how you’re doing, but don’t even bother to listen to your response before jumping in with their own situation.
- The Gossip: They spend all their time telling you about everyone else. And not in a flattering manner. You dread telling them anything personal because you know it will be on the 5 o’clock military spouse gossip train. You may avoid this person all together or just smile and nod when encountering them.
- The Fake: These tribe members are insincere. They often have a bit of the “Me, Me and More Me” and Gossip personalities. They pretend to be happy for you, but are probably spreading rumors as soon as you turn your back.
- The Manipulator: Similar to “Me, Me and More Me,” this tribe member knows how to work everything to their favor. They know how to push your buttons to get you to do what they want. They may be someone who uses guilt to get their way or imply that if you were a “true friend,” you’d do what they need.
- The Negative Nancy: This person never has anything good to say. And they bring everyone down. It may be a beautiful day, but they’ll find something wrong with it. No matter what you say, they have something negative to say back.
- The Peter Pan: This tribe member is stuck in their “party” years and never wants to grow up. They tend to do whatever they want regardless of their responsibilities and often expect others to drop everything to come party with them.
- The Ungrateful: Another tribal member that has traits of the “Me, Me and More Me” and “Manipulator” in that they seem to think they are entitled to your services. They expect you to drop everything when they need you without ever returning the favor.
Having a toxic tribe can be extremely exhausting. Think of all the time and energy you give it that is never returned. Ugh. It makes you never want to build the relationship. Ever.
The #1 way to tell if you have toxic friends: ask yourself how you would feel if you left them.
Do they lift you up? Do they encourage you? Do they make you wish you had more time to spend with them? They should. If you leave feeling stressed or anxious around them, it’s not a good thing.
There’s a saying that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, so be aware of who those 5 people are and what their attitudes do to your attitude. There’s no shame in walking away from a toxic friendship.
On the flip side, not all toxic friends are horrible – perhaps they just don’t realize how damaging they are being. Consider having a chat with them and explaining how they make you feel. Yes, it will be a tough and awkward conversation, but it can be the catalyst for huge growth.
Good tribes in the military are like diamonds, rare and beautiful.
If they continue their actions and you still have to be around them, don’t stoop to their tactics. Lead by example and maybe one day they’ll get the hint.