Fifth twenty in twenty… – Crappy friends

A type of behaviour that I have often seen in life is the tendency for people to form alliances to control social dynamics within a group. I know it starts young. I have seen demonstrations of young children displaying this behaviour when another child dominates a toy or some other resource they wish for themselves. They form alliances with other children to amplify the feeling of being ostracized by the target child. It is a common ‘go to’ strategy for many people but my observations lead me to think that for some people, it is an integral part of who they are. For these people, shoring up alliances is how they do things. Most people do not appear to even be aware that this is occurring.

Personally, I had a group of friends throughout most of high-school that was in near constant turmoil due to one member participating in this behaviour. Over the years, I become acutely aware when it was happening. Unfortunately, I never really developed a method to counter or minimize the impact of this behaviour. It was a matter of knowing that if this person had anything against you, other members in the group would start to see you in a negative light. Describing it like this makes it clear why some people do it. It becomes a form of coercion and it can be very hard to counter without doing the same thing yourself and of course, anyone falling into that trap is stuck in a downward spiral of emotional turmoil.

My own approach has been to avoid anyone who demonstrates this type of behaviour. I ask for a higher quality of friendship and that means, I have a lot less friends than would otherwise be expected. That matches my personality. I am perfectly comfortable with my own company. My children, on the other hand, want to befriend everyone. So now I am contemplating strategies to deal with people who attempt to persaude friends and close acquaintances  to re-evaluate their friendships based on those people’s views.

I can’t say I have a solution…

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