As an ambivert who's mostly an introvert, I take the few close friendships that I have very seriously. Honestly, I love my close friends so much that I think of them as an extension of my family. In my experience, though, when your friends are also your family, it can make it that much easier to feel guilty for disappointing them. But no matter how much you love them, there are some things you shouldn't let your friends guilt-trip you for — because guilt-trips are always lose-lose. As Psychology Today put it back in 2013, "Mild as the poisonous effects of most guilt trips are, over the long term, their toxicity can build and cause significant strains and emotional distance."
Of course, none of us are 100 percent above guilt-tripping from time to time, so you shouldn't write off a friend just because they made the mistake of guilt-tripping you for opting to order pizza and binge-watch season four of Orange is the New Black last weekend instead of going out. Guilt-trips are basically relationship-poison, though, so it's important not to ignore them or give into them.
If your friends have been giving you a ton of grief lately, don't be afraid to tell them that their growing number of guilt-trips have left you feeling resentful, because they honestly may not even realize how much damage they're causing. As Psychology Today explained, "people who use guilt trips are usually entirely focused on getting the result they want and entirely blind to the damage their methods can cause." With that in mind, here are six things you shouldn't let your friends guilt-trip you for. Period.
1. Working A Lot
Obviously, work isn't everything. However, if you're fortunate enough to genuinely enjoy your job when over 70 percent of U.S. workers have admitted to hating theirs, you shouldn't feel bad about being a little bit of a workaholic. Even if you don't exactly love your job, but you still work a lot because being alive is expensive AF sometimes, you still shouldn't feel bad. Prioritizing work over downtime is part of being a responsible adult, and it's OK to tell your friends this if they won't stop giving you crap for working hard.
2. Cancelling Plans That You Can’t Afford To Keep
As awful as it can feel to flake on a weekend trip with the girls or a fancy Galentines Day dinner at an expensive restaurant, it's also perfectly reasonable to cancel plans that you can't afford to keep. Of course, you should definitely give your friends as much of a heads-up as possible if you have to bail on a road-trip; (or any other event where you're all splitting the cost) but you should never let yourself be guilt-tripped into making irresponsible financial decisions, either.
Ultimately, as long as you don't wait until the last minute to let your friends know that you simply don't have as much extra spending money as you originally thought you would, they should be understanding. If they're not, then you might want to re-evaluate that friendship, because real friends get that financial issues are kind of a big deal.
3. Spending Quality Time With Your Partner
OK, so I'm by no means suggesting that you should be consistently neglecting your friends for bae, because that's just not healthy for anyone involved. We've all had (or been) that friend who repeatedly chooses her partner over her friends, and we all know that behavior gets super old super fast. All that said, sometimes couples need some one-on-one time, and there's nothing wrong with that, either. Just like you shouldn't feel like you have to drop everything the second your partner texts, "What are you up to?" you shouldn't feel like you have to bail on date night just because your friends want to see you.
4. Taking A Break From Drinking And/Or Smoking
Hey, I enjoy drinking and smoking during my downtime as much as the next Millennial, but that doesn't mean I've never had to take a break from the stuff. The thing is, booze and weed cost money. Even if they were free, though, sometimes you just need to be sober for awhile.
If you're trying to get clean and focused so you can find a better job, start reading more, or you just need to take a vacation from drinking and smoking so you can figure yourself out, don't feel bad about it. I know this can be easier said than done if your friend-group does most of their bonding over cold beers and bowls of green, but if they're really your friends, they should support you on this.
5. Spending Quality Time With Your Other Friends
It's more than OK to just have one group of loyal, loving friends. If, however, you have multiple groups of friends, don't ever let one group guilt-trip you for not neglecting the other group. I mean, we're all adults here, hopefully. If you budget your time well, and your friends aren't incredibly needy, then there should be enough time for everyone to see plenty of you.
6. Staying In When You Don’t Feel Like Going Out
Whether it's because you have to be up early for work, you're cramping so hard that an elective hysterectomy sounds pretty great right now, or you're just an introverted homebody, your friends shouldn't try to make you feel bad for staying in when you want to stay in. This doesn't mean you shouldn't ever go out with them, of course — because compromise is part of any relationship, and I don't think staying in every night is good for anyone. But don't be bullied into going out to a loud bar with overpriced drinks if all you feel like doing is staying home and chilling out. There's nothing wrong with that.
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