Do any of you know that one Miley Cyrus song See You Again with the lyric ‘she’s just being Miley?’ It also became a meme several years ago and was all over social media. The lyric/quote recently popped into my mind again. No, it was not because I was listening to her music (although I may or may not have Party in the USA on my iPod) but for a very different reason.
We all have one person in our life who is ‘that friend.’ You know the type, the one who could do anything and people all but pat them on the head and say ‘oh, you,’ or ‘that’s just the way they are.’ While that may be cute sometimes, it can also get old very quickly.
I’ve been in several situations with people like this, and I have to say, sometimes it can be incredibly frustrating. As you know, I am not one to air my dirty laundry for all to see, but there have been times where people like this have been hurtful and the response to my anger And frustration was that was just how they were, they are a man child, or my personal favorite, they don’t know any better.
Okay, I can understand that some people don’t have a filter (I know I don’t and have to censor myself sometimes) or act without thinking. My issue is when these people are not held responsible for their actions or hurting people. By saying that is just how they are or they don’t know better and then ignoring the behavior/actions, you are actually doing more harm than good. You may be letting them be themselves, but you are also enabling their bad behavior. That can be very dangerous.
For example, you can have a friend who always makes inappropriate comments that someone may find offensive. While you may know that is how they are, that doesn’t mean everyone else does or is okay with such jokes. Telling the offended party that this person is just ‘being Miley’ is not only enabling ‘Miley’ but also disrespectful to your other friend. You can explain that the person making the jokes sometimes doesn’t think about their audience, but THEN tell Mr. Jokey that some people might not like their brand of humor and to be mindful of their audience. They need to be made aware that not everyone finds them funny or appropriate.
Another example is when you have that friend who constantly cancels plans or doesn’t show up for events. This could make some people roll their eyes and say said person is unreliable, but others may find it annoying because they were expecting this person to be somewhere and may have even paid for this person to be at the event. This leads to wasted money, reservations being given up and people being let down. By not letting Ms. Cancellation know that this is not okay, you are letting her get away with it. She will think it is okay to blow you off at the last minute without thinking of the consequences. This person needs to be made AWARE that her behavior causes problems.
The point is, while it is common to have ‘that friend’ who seems to never face consequences, it can become very dangerous. I am not saying that it will cause death and destruction, I mean dangerous in the sense that they won’t know what to do when they are finally faced with punishment.
By enabling these people, you are letting them know they can get away with anything. It can lead to people getting hurt, relationships being destroyed and other people not wanting to be around you and that person because they will think you don’t care that this person is causing problems. It will make them feel as if their feelings are invalid and don’t matter.
While you shouldn’t shame ‘that friend’ for acting up, you also shouldn’t just let it happen. The best thing to do is to either tell them to cut it out when they are being inappropriate or calmly explain to them (preferably in private) that feelings get hurt when they cancel plans or are rude. They may not like it, but it is certainly better to let them know so they can become more mindful of their actions.