self improvement tips

The 6 Kinds of Difficult Friends and How To Deal With Them

I always had difficult friends. And that’s not to say they only came during my angst-filled teenage years of rebellion.

I had to deal with angry outbursts, insecure questions, passive aggressiveness and even plain, unreasonable actions.

Sounds familiar?

I guess we all can’t escape difficult friends even though they’re you know, our friends.

The foundation: Remember that they are just being difficult

Before we go into detail on how to deal with difficult friends, we have to remember they are only being difficult.

The thing is, it’s very easy to go along with the train of negative thinking and start to come up with all sorts of negative ideas about our friends, like we think our friends are “idiotic”, “stupid”, “selfish” or maybe even “not worth a damn.”

Nah. Cut it out. They’re only being difficult.

Depending on how far the situation, hence friendship has deteriorated, it’s crucial to remember that they’re only being difficult and not anything else. That way, we can start to salvage the friendship if you feel it’s worth saving.

So don’t go nuts with your thoughts ok?

Here’s the 6 kinds of difficult friends and how to deal with them

1) The insecure ones who take it out on you

As far as I’ve experienced, insecure friends are the ones who are suffering or at least bothered by something to the point that they take it out on you instead of asking for help.

I once had a friend who kept insulting me because he was in a bad mood. He eventually revealed his parents were fighting that night.

How to deal with them: Don’t take anything they say personally. Remember that they are not being like that because they’re unreasonable, but that they’re confused and suffering. Be patient and ask them what is up instead. More often than not, they’d apologize later for their behaviour.

2) The ones who are never on time

I find it sad that it somehow has become acceptable that it’s ok to be late. And it is aggravated by the fact that nobody bothers to apologize for it.

How to deal with them: Play their game. Adjust the situation to suit you and your time. If you know that they’re going to be late, then show up late yourself. Value your own time. Never waste it.

3) The self-destructive ones

Alas, some friends are so deep in their problems that they cannot help themselves anymore. Instead, they continue to hurt themselves as they start to drink heavily, smoke excessively or refuse to get a job. And they just won’t listen to anyone, anymore.

How to deal with them: I’ve been called a hard ass for this, but I personally believe you should self-destructive friends be. Let them make their own mistakes. It’s the only way they can learn.

I’d only step in if they intend to do something really drastic, like attempting suicide. Other than that, I’d let them go their own way. I’d be ready to help out only when they’re ready to receive help.

4) The whiner

These guys are also known as the chronic complainer. All they do is whine, moan and complain non-stop about how shitty their life is.

How to deal with them: There’re a couple of ways to go about this.

First, listen to them. Offer advice when you can, but be straight and brutally honest. There’s no point in sugar coating your words as that’d be feeding them the attention and assurance they think they want.

Next, steer clear from them and get your own space from time to time. You are not responsible for their happiness. They are. So don’t ever get yourself drained just because of them. You can watch out for yourself too you know.

5) The Yes Man

Honestly, I think friends who are always super agreeable and saying yes to everything you say or do can be pretty… weird. It’s like they have no real opinion of their own and you aren’t sure whether to take them seriously or not.

So are these friends good or bad for you?

How to deal with them: Don’t take them seriously. I say this not out of well, seriousness, but rather more lightly.

You can chill out with them, have a drink and just enjoy their company, but don’t take what they say to be true. It could be bad for you, despite their seemingly positive intentions. I feel this is important as we may be misled to staying in a comfortable place when we actually need the cold, hard truth to grow.

The Yes Man won’t help you grow. Remember that.

6) The completely toxic

I’m talking about friends who are just not good for you in any way. They break promises, they lie, they borrow your money and disappear, they steal your girlfriends and gossip behind your back. 

How to deal with them: Dump them completely and move on. These are NOT your friends. Stop trying to give second chances for the blind hope that a good person in them still exists.

If they do, then it’d work itself out next time. In the mean time, you shouldn’t drag yourself down with them. So move on. Life is too short to be immersed in a toxic environment. You should only be with people who can inspire you and lift you up.

Just for Pick the Brain readers

If you reach to the end of this article, that’s awesome!

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Alden Tan keeps it real at his blog and writes about motivation in unconventional ways. His two main passions are Bboying and writing. Check out his free report12 Things Happy People Don’t Give a F**k About! 


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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