No doubt, your friends are a vital part of your life, but sometimes it can feel like they’re totally sabotaging you (unintentionally, of course).
From “splitting” the check to chatting up the only hot guy at the bar when, of course, they’re married, here are the top times your friends are inadvertently messing with you—and what you should do about it.
They want to split the check evenly; You just had appetizers
Why it’s tricky: Point out that you just had the quesadilla starter and you risk looking uptight. But if you stay silent, you’re stuck paying for someone else’s meal, too.
Your move: “This is a suck it up the first time situation, and then cut it off at the pass the second time situation,” says licensed clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, PhD. If you notice this is a pattern with a particular friend, ask the waiter to give you separate checks before the bill comes. That saves you from having to deconstruct the check and look like the bad guy.
They sit you next to a guy at dinner that you just “had” to meet.
Why it’s tricky: Being set up is awkward no matter what—and it’s especially lame when you didn’t expect it. Having to spend an entire night chatting with a guy you’re not interested in is just a waste of your time.
Your move: First, pull your friend aside and thank her for the introduction, says psychologist Jane Greer, PhD, author of “What About Me?” Then tell her that you appreciate that she’s looking out for you, but you’ll let her know in the future if you want to be set up. If you’re with a group of people, just pop around and chat with friends in other seats so you don’t have to spend the whole night focused on the guy you’re not into.
They pass on your contact information to their relatives for internships.
Why it’s tricky: Obviously you want to help out, but getting hit up for a gig by your friend’s niece—and all of her buddies that she shared your information with—can be kind of annoying, especially since you’ve never met any of them.
Your move: “Lead with the positive and tell your friend that you want to help out her niece (and her friends), but you’re on a limited schedule right now,” says Greer. Then ask her to tell everyone that you’re swamped and it might take some time for you to get back to them. That way, you’re being polite and buying yourself some time.
They chat up cute single guys at a bar when they’re married.
Why it’s tricky: This is tough on two levels. First, it’s annoying that she’s monopolizing the only hot guy at the bar when she’s off the market. And second, it’s kind of awkward that she’s so into flirting with other guys when she’s married.
Your move: There’s nothing stopping you from joining the conversation, points out Greer, so insert yourself in there. If your friend makes it a habit of flirting with single guys when she’s out sans husband, that’s on her—not you. It’s best to leave that one alone.
They call with a major life issue just as you’re getting to work.
Why it’s tricky: Hello, you’re at work. Even the most understanding boss in the world is not going to be down with you playing psychologist during office hours.
Your move: Odds are this isn’t the first time your friend has done this. If her name pops up on your phone, just don’t answer it, says Durvasula. If you accidentally answer it, tell her you’re really sorry but you’re at work and you’ll have to call her back when you get a break. If it’s a really serious issue, text her words of encouragement from the bathroom, and then call her when you get a break.
They kind of ignore a new friend that you brought around.
Why it’s tricky: It’s on you to make your new friend feel included, and it just makes things harder for you when everyone else isn’t on board.
Your move: If your other friends are busy chatting about a trip you all took in college, try to insert your new friend into the conversation, advises Greer. If you’re in a bigger group, make smaller introductions, like connecting your new friend with someone that you know she’ll hit it off with. Hang around the conversation long enough to help it along, if needed.