Throughout the years of friendship ups and downs that I’m sure we’ve all had, I’ve noticed a scary trend- protective friendships. When I say the phrase “protective friendships” I really mean one of two things.
The first type of protective friendships are the good kind. This is when you would do anything for your friends- so much that you are extra protective of them. For example, if someone writes a nasty comment on your friend’s Facebook wall, you might jump in to help defend her. I believe that this type of friendship is fine. In fact, I sincerely hope that my friends would be protective over me in situations like this- that’s just what friends do. But sometimes the protectiveness can go a bit too far, which leads me to the second type.
The second type of protective friendships are the people who are extremely insecure in themselves and their relationships that they go into crazy protective mode. These people typically label their best friend as their BFF and stare down anyone else who dares to call them by that name. They don’t allow new people into their group or clique because they don’t want others to share the same friendships as them.
I’ve had experience with both of these types of protective friendships, particularly the latter, and it blows my mind. Some people so protective of their friendships that they refuse to let anyone else in. They get mad when their friend makes a new friend and they feel cheated and left out. I just want to shake them and say “NEWSFLASH- You can have more than one type of friend. You can share friends. You don’t need to be so territorial over other people!”
This particular instance has happened to me over the years. A group of girls refused to be my friend, invite me to events all my other friends were at and generally be nice to me simply because a member of their group hated me. This ringleader made sure to spread the word that I was in fact not to be talked to. I was not to be invited places with them and it was because she didn’t like me and I was a terrible person.
Laugh all you want at the stupidity of that, but it’s true. I realized that this doesn’t just happen to me, or girls my age of that matter. Recently at my boyfriend’s parents house, I was chatting with a few women and family friends. A woman in her 40’s told a story about how her son and another woman’s sons were friends, but the mother’s relationship was now strained based on this same silly protectiveness. She was left out of beach invites, was talked about behind her back and fell victim to a woman who was too protective of her relationships.
I find it sad that this still happens today, in a day and age where people are hopefully becoming less judgmental and more open. I worry that this will continue on well into my 30’s and 40’s. If anything, it’s made me realize that life is too short to worry about the number of friends, it’s the quality that really matters. Anyone that would protect you and stand up for you is a true friend. Those who are too protective of their own are simply not worth the time.
Have you every experienced these types of protective friendships? How did you deal with it?