06 June 2010

When Girls Night Out Goes Wrong

I woke up this morning feeling like a Real Housewife of.... What started as a low key, fun night out turned into high drama and  ended appallingly. What do you do when there's a toxic person in the tribe?  When times out with your friends are fraught with tension because you just don't know what is going to set off that person?

I've been faced with this situation only twice.  In the first instance, I chose to stop associating with the person.  It was easy to do at the time. I was traveling a lot for work, in town only on the weekends. It was easy to have other plans and just stop seeing this friend.  At the same time, many of our mutual friends were also seeing the dark side of this person and also curtailing the time they spent with her.  There are times when I still wish this friendship had not had to end. This woman can  be wickedly funny. But she can also be plain wicked.  And five years later, I can say that I am much happier without this woman in my circle of friends.  Cutting ties with her has proven to be the best thing to do. 

Last night's incident is trickier. The best solution in this situation is also for me to limit the time I spend around this person. That's not an ideal situation, though, because it also means limiting time I get to spend with other people I care about very much.  That feels like I'm punishing myself.  But I know I can control only myself and my reactions. That means that if I don't want the drama,  no one is forcing me to be in situations where it can be created. I can disengage from it, not respond to it.  

I am a little nervous about how this decision is going to play out.  It will shift dynamics between a group of good friends.  But life is too short to spend it with people who don't make you feel good.

What about any readers? How have you handled situations like this in the past?