How to Tell Your Friends They Kind of Annoy You ... Without Losing Them

If books and movies are to believed, friendships are supposed to be the easy relationships in our lives, and boyfriends/girlfriends/husbands/wives are the hard ones. But any real-life person will tell you that often, that's not the case at all. Making friends and building friendships can be tricky waters to navigate, and we're never sure how much about our wants and needs we should talk about upfront. 

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We talked to Diane Altomare, a life coach and bestselling author of Clarity: Ten Proven Strategies to Transform Your Life, about establishing guidelines in a friendship. She says that getting into specifics depends on the friend, your needs, and where you are in life, but it can be helpful.

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"Oftentimes, we learn what's important to our friends and what they need from our friendship by trial and error," Altomare explains. "But other times we may experience a situation where what we want from our friend isn't what they are naturally able to give or even know how to do. In these times, it is essential to communicate who we are and what we most need."

Basically, you can't expect new (or even old, honestly) friends to anticipate your every want and need, just like you can't expect that from a romantic partner. If you hate talking on the phone, don't expect them to pick up on that with no prompting and never call you. Tell them you'd rather meet in person. If they're a good friend, they'll listen. 

"Even though this may seem obvious, we are all different and see things through varying perspectives," Altomare says. "It is valuable to your friendship to share these types of guidelines instead of assuming your friend is always going to [know] exactly what you want."

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Obviously, there's a harsh way to do this and there's a kind way to do this. Suggest actionable changes for the future ("Can we meet for dinner next week? I feel like we don't see each other in person enough!") instead of berating them for what's already passed ("Can you not call me on the phone so much? I'm so sick of it already."). Kindness and honesty goes miles, guys.

"By taking the time to communicate who we are and what we need in our friendship, we are setting up a winning experience for both of [us] and communicating that this is a relationship we value," Altomare explains. "At the same time, we are creating a powerful precedent and leaving the door open for our friend to share what she needs from our friendship as well."

 

Image via iStock.com/Christopher Badzioch

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