Friday, March 30, 2007
The Psycho Friend
I was talking to my sister on the phone last night and she was telling me about her psycho friend problem. The friendship started out innocently enough (they always do), but over the past few months, has grown increasingly intense and creepy. This chick calls her 3-4 times a day, follows-up with emails and voice messages, guilts my sister into hanging out with her on her Sundays - her only day off - but doesn't want anyone else hanging out with them - Jealousy, manipulative flattery ("you're such an inspiration"), agression, gifts to induce guilt - God, cue the "screech, screech,screech" sounds and stabbing arm motion. I know, you're thinking "the poor thing, she's just lonely." Trust me my friend, this is what she wants you to believe, but in reality she's a ticking time bomb of craziness.
I think we can all attest to having at least one psycho friend (PF) throughout our lives. I tend to attract more than my fair share - it may be my ability to listen well (psycho's thrive on devoted attention), or that I'm pretty outgoing and open-minded - or I could just be a plain sucker. I had one PF that would park her car outside my house if she saw my car in the driveway and then proceed to call on her cell to see if she could "pop-in". Now, I've popped into friends' houses unnanounced before, but this was like EVERY second day. She'd usually show up in hytserics over yet another drama-induced argument her and her partner got into (always lame). I'd have at least 2-3 calls a day, gifts left for me, and then she started showing up at places I would frequent - the neighborhood park, walking the dogs, - way more than "coincidence." All the psycho hallmarks reared their ugly head: (see list below). Needless to say I gave her the big "Coup de Grace" via email (my usual un-confrontational style) and then proceeded to peek out the window behind the curtains for a month afterwards (I had nightmares of her standing outside my house crying in the rain with a boombox like John Cusak in "Say Anything"). We always wonder what the consequences to ending such a creepy relationship will be. To her credit, my former PF never called or tried to reconcile. I did learn a good lesson though - look for PF signs - they include:
1. No mention of any other friends.
2. Strained relationship with spouse or extended family.
3. Repeated calls and email with requests to "hang out" (any more than 1 a day is weird to me - sorry Oprah and Gail).
4. Repeatedly leaving things at your house and using them as an excuse to "pop by."
5. Gifts and flattery for no reason that makes you feel weird.
6. Drama - there's always drama.
7. One-sided - conversations usually focus on them.
8. Intense - PF are usually needy, intense people that control conversations, dates, etc.
9. Jealousy - PF usually want you to be one-on-one - other friends and spouses are not so welcome.
You're PF may exhibit one or more of these traits at various levels - the main thing to remember is - if it feels "weird" get out - you owe this person nothing and trust me - it will NOT get any better it in the long run. Run forest Run!!!
Note: I currently have no PF's in my life - my friends are all healthy and normal and awesome.