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Barbara Greenberg Headshot

Friends: Four Types To Avoid

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It goes something like this ...

You'll be on the phone with a friend listening to her problems for an hour and then you mention anything about yourself and she suddenly needs to go. Oh you know, the dog needs to be fed, she is suddenly so exhausted, her son just got home, or she's simply not interested in anything that doesn't have to do with her.

We all know that type. I like to call that type the "It's all about me" friend.

Or, you have a friend who you have happily helped through a major crisis. You did this because you care about her and this is what friends are supposed to do for each other. Now you have a crisis and this friend suddenly gets so busy that she doesn't have time to breathe. She disappears into her world and forgets not only about what you're going through, but apparently also your phone number and address.

We all know that type. I call that type the "vanishing friend."

How about this type of friend? Her conversation is full of discussion about the superior abilities of her young child. Yes, you too, love this child. But, if you hear one more story about her child's superior intellect at age three or sculpted features you are going to vomit right into the phone.

We have all encountered this type. I like to refer that type as the "self-inflator."

And yes, you have a friend who you have been cheering on for years. Things have always come a little easier for you. You've never said it out loud, but the world is simply easier to navigate for you. You get better responses from others in many aspects of this life. Nonetheless, you have propped up this friend and helped her negotiate the stickier aspects of life. After all, you have always rooted for the underdog. Then, you have a major success. You call her. There is a long pause before she responds to your excitement. She is clearly not happy for you. She thinks that there is not enough good fortune to go around for everyone. You have ruined her day and she sure as heck has tried to ruin yours.

I call this friend "schadenfreude girl" because I have the sneaking suspicion that this particular type of friend takes pleasure in your failures. Maybe this is a leap, but hey, it's my thought.

Now on to the most wonderful friends there are. There are those gems who are there for you to celebrate your successes as well as to help you through the rough patches. They ask about you as well as sharing information about themselves. In other words, they believe in reciprocating. They are acutely aware that there is another person on the other end of the phone or dinner table and you never get the impression that if you tuned out they wouldn't notice. These friends make you feel happy and alive and bring out the best in you.

My suggestion is to do a friendship check and ask yourself why you hang on to the energy vampires. There is just not enough time in life to spend with those who deflate you.