Weed out the Drama Junkie
The Drama Junkie is the friend who is the perfect person to watch Basketball Wives with, but it’s because she’s infatuated with all things drama. She seldom shares news that’s her own to you or your circle, and that’s where associating yourself with her becomes messy. Remaining friends with someone who’s known for having diarrhea-of-the-mouth is a quick way to lose old friends and potential friends. The main thing to know about a drama junkie is that she might be warm and fun to hang with in close quarters, but for whatever reason, she gets a kick out of tactfully spilling the beans on anything and everything related to anyone’s business to instigate some tea-worthy drama. Mistakes are made by all, and true friends should get a pass but if this character is consistently in the midst of all the drama around you, it’s time to check her, weed her out of your group, or both.
Calm down the Violent One
You didn’t always have to keep a spare pair of sneakers and a tub of Vaseline in your trunk, but ever since you became friends with a woman who clearly missed her calling as a UFC fighter, you seem to need those items each time you link up with her. Hanging with a grown women who, without hesitation, is ready to go to blows with complete strangers over parking spots, sideways stares, or comments left on her social media page might make you feel nostalgic for your middle school days, but that type of friendship has lasting consequences in the real world. Be a positive influence on the Violent One in your group by reminding her that driving her to court for the assault charges that will likely follow her endeavors isn’t your idea of a friendship.
Don’t shade the Grandma
There’s nothing wrong with having a friend that’s a little old-fashioned. It can be charming in some instances. Like when you need her to knit an infinity scarf. Or be a designated driver for a Sunday night — because she “saveth that day for the lord.” The issue with the granny of the group tends to be with her staunchly conservative opinions of others in your group and with her trying to wear those boxy dresses every time she hits the town with you and the crew. The best way to deal with The Grandma is to tuck her in early when you’re engaging in things you know aren’t her style. Don’t flat-out exclude her without asking, though. Just warn her that some of the stuff you plan on doing that night might not be her idea of fun and give her the choice to sit it out when you’re headed to that foam party or swingers soiree.
Monitor the Maneater
She’s gotta have it. A lot. She’s got a thing for the horizontal mamba That trait doesn’t necessarily make one a Maneater, but the pattern of how quickly she moves through her mates does. But that’s permissible too, as your clique — aside from the Grandma — are anti-slut shamers. If the Maneater among you likes to keep a few options open, but operates with a strcit code of ethics with regard to her friends’ significant others, then she’s A-OK, but not, you’ve got a problem on your hands. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know which one you’re dealing with until you get to know her.
Bring The Bougie B*tch down a notch
The Bougie B*tch is a neutral position. If your friend’s daddy owns every car dealership in town, she dresses well and avoids certain crowds, there’s really no harm done. That’s not even who I’m referring to here. The Bougie B*tch I’m referring too is the one who constanly postures against her friends and belittles them for being a little less financially well off than she is. If you love her to death but have grown tired of her referring to anyone without $600 installs and mink eyelashes as basic, it might be worth having a conversation with her about the fact that you aren’t into constantly being reminded of what you don’t have. But if this friend constantly flakes out on your girl’s night out because it doesn’t involve pedicures, bottles of champagne and a helicopter ride over the city, she might not be true to the crew. Keep her number, though. You’ll want to stay in her good graces in case she ends up partying with Rihanna again.
Manage The Unfiltered One
She says whatever she wants to say, but its often hard to find fault with it because the things she says are typically true. This woman might just be the girl who grew up in an environment where no one minced words. All of your friends can tell that the Unfiltered One is not trying to be malicious, but your best bet might be to have a quick convo with her when she’s about to throw a verbal jab at a friend whose tear ducts work on overtime. Explain to her that sometimes people simply aren’t in the mood to hear a dose of truth when they’re basking in blissful ignorance. Or, skip the talk if you know it won’t do any good. Instead, when a friend is spilling tea about crushing on a guy everyone in your circle knows isn’t into her, and the Unfiltered One opens her mouth to tell her that she’s hasn’t got a snowball’s chance in Miami of getting with him, you can just shoot her the sideways ‘not now’ look. Then, break the news to the clueless friend in a more filtered manner.
Tell the Copycat to kick rocks
The Copycat is a sweet girl at first glance. In fact, upon careful inspection you might start to notice that she’s too sweet. So sweet that she often pays homage to everything that everyone else in the group does — typically by doing the exact same thing right after they do it. Sky dive? What a coincidence! She suddenly does that, too. Do stand up comedy? She’ll start going on about how she should probably try it because she’s always been told she’s hilarious at parties. This is someone who’ll eventually latch on to you or one of your friends and begin to develop herself into a carbon copy. It’s creepy, but it’s not the worst thing in the world. Just be sure to keep her away from the pure artists in the group. If most of your friends are struggling to dance, sing, write or act their way up the entertainment totem pole, they’re definitely not going to mesh particularly well with The Copycat.
Counter the Competitor
Navigating your relationship with a competitive friend can be either really rewarding or tricky and toxic. If you have a friend that inspires you and keeps you on your toes by giving you encouragement to be competitive in your own career and health, that’s a good thing. The flipside happens when her competitive nature goes overboard. At that point, the tiniest advancement in your life (or misfortune in hers) can send the friend you once considered an upbeat motivator into someone who wants to see you fail just to see the playing field level again. The Competitor can manifest her competitive edge in other ways, too. If she feels as if she was your bestie first, be sure that she’ll eventually create an unpleasant ripple in your friend pool by competing with your other friends for your time. If she’s your best friend you often won’t notice that she’s doing this; you’re way too close. But if she’s just a member of the clique, you might be able to spot her and give her ye olde boot — or at least a good talking to.
Grappling with the Gatekeeper
This friend is the wild card because any personality type can slide into this role. Once they do, though, you can bet they won’t budge. The Gatekeeper is the friend that has designated herself mediator and leader of the entire group. She is fiercely standoffish to any newcomers and really slow to warm up to any old friends of yours that she’s never met. The Gatekeeper is the most difficult personality to deal with because she feels she knows what’s best and that makes her pushy. She’s a nightmare when trying to plan things, so your best bet is to make her Matron of Honor at your wedding or prepare to hear her complain about being a mere bridesmaid. The Gatekeeper means well, but has a style of nurturing that’s a little too Mommy Dearest for your liking. It’s probably best to check her and keep her than toss her out. Her mashup of traits makes her a solid addition — when she’s not bellowing orders to the rest of your friends about the decorations for your surprise birthday party.
This is not kind the person whom to ask ‘what’s wrong?’ The answer will always be longer than you anticipated. This friend is the perfect shoulder to cry on because she keeps only the finest tissue on hand. If she didn’t, she’d look like Rudolph herself. She cries at everything. The dude she met at the club got her drawers and didn’t call back? Tears. Her cat Mittens has a cold? Tears. Her voice even gets a little shaky when she starts to vocalize how she doesn’t believe Cookie deserves for Lucius to treat her that way after all that jail time she did. There’s really no remedy for this because you don’t have a remote control for her tear ducts, but you could at least do her the favor of never leaving her alone in a room with the Unfiltered One.
M’Shai S. Dash is a Capitol Hill staffer, HBCU grad and lover of weaved protective styles. She’s also an east-coast girl with a flair for pop culture commentary.