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In my 40s and have an friend friend group of about five years that are always so supportive and positive in their interactions. Every time that I leave a visit with them, I feel refreshed and my outlook is so positive. I spend as much time with them as possible, but we are spread out across a state and can only get together for a visit once every month or so.

 

This weekend, I spent some time with a couple of long time friends and noticed that the majority of their interactions are based on negativity including some minor critical comments about my clothing choice (I was wearing a flannel) and my appearance in general. I mentioned it to one of them and he said that he is joking around, but almost all conversations start out with negativity. We are guys and this has been how interactions have been throughout the years from what I can recall. I see these people more regularly and I have decades of history and love them.

 

I can't seem to shake the negativity from the weekend and it just hit me how much the interactions are so different between the groups of people.

 

I'm not really sure what I am asking, maybe if any of you have experiences that are similar and if you did anything about it other than mentioning the negativity?

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I have a not dissimilar thread going right now about a friend of mine who pokes jabs at me.

 

Negative people suck. They suck the life out of the room, they suck the air out of the group.

 

I'm a very positive, optimistic person, and I've noticed something: When I have to "positive it up" around someone, it means they are the wrong person for me to hang out with.

 

In other words, if someone starts off with negativity, like, "this restaurant sucks", and I feel compelled to say "Oh it has great reviews, and the waiter is so nice", but all they come back with is negativity, and that's a pattern, then I've learned that those people are just people I have to distance myself from, in general, no matter how close I've been with them over the years.

 

Critical comments about your clothing choices are just mean. It's one thing to maybe make a joke, but most jokes like that are mean in nature, and I just don't like them at all.

 

I'll give you the same advice I've been given in my thread: When these comments come at you, give that person a blank stare. Literally, just a blank stare. And distance yourself from these people, as in minimal to no contact.

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I just read your thread.

 

Your response is pretty much what I expected. I have done a great job of clearing out most of the toxic and negative people, but as I gain more positive people in my life, I can really see the negativity that much easier. The critical comments about my clothes don't really bother me, but it made me notice the negative nature of it.

 

It sounds like you are handling your situation with class and I wish you well at the NYE party.

 

Thank you for your comments!

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Well, guys often insult each other as a kind of p*ssing contest, especially when first seeing each other. What did they say? Something like, hey, do you think you're a lumberjack or something with that shirt? Or did you get that shirt from Goodwill or something?

 

Is this the first time you've encountered this? I don't think they're actually insulting you. It's more like being funny and welcoming you into their circle. And you say you feel great after meeting with them. I'm pretty sure it's harmless humor and you shouldn't be offended.

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Maybe they were grumpy, hungover, whatever this time. Let it go. If you find that you've outgrown them or that they are becoming too cynical, you can distance yourself somewhat.

We are guys and this has been how interactions have been throughout the years from what I can recall. I see these people more regularly and I have decades of history and love them. I can't seem to shake the negativity from the weekend
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I've come to accept that everyone has their foibles.

 

What it comes down to is whether or not someone adds value to my life.

 

If they detract from my life and my overall well-being more than they add value, "buh-bye".

 

To be honest, I sometimes have no qualms piping up and saying something if a friend steps out of line.

 

I'm by no means a bit*h about it, but I'll try and get my point across in either a light and humorous way, or sometimes it's more on the firm, but fair side. It really depends.

 

If someone's offended by this, tough cookies.

 

I figure that if someone's stepping out of line (which I find some people will try and do because they think I'm nice and will take advantage), it's to only be expected that I'll assert my boundaries, humorous or otherwise.

 

If you can't take it, why dish it out in the first place, no?

 

At the end of the day, a real friend will just respect what you have to say or how you feel, in my opinion.

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I can 100% relate to this, OP, and what’s sad is that I never even noticed it until I moved away as a travel nurse and then came back home to settle down.

 

We had a group of friends in California. They were nerdy/techy type people, not the kind of people we lived around at home, and they were just amazing. Every time we saw them, they greeted us with big, genuine hugs. They always had fun, adventurous stories to tell, or some cool new game to show us. Everything about our friendship with them was positive and fun, and it honestly changed how I relate to other people. I wanted to be more like them.

 

After coming home, I noticed how no one except close family (basically mom and dad and that’s it) gives hugs around here. The majority of people my age spend their free time drinking, watching television, and gossiping about each other or politics. Several of my relationships here are made up of 80% complaining/negativity, 15% making plans that always fall through, and 5% fun.

 

Unfortunately, my main focus right now is financial hustle, so I don’t really have the time to invest in surrounding myself with new friends. Believe me though, once I get ahead, I will make it a priority to build new relationships that enrich my life. I will surround myself with people who reflect the person I want to be. I’ll keep my old friends, and you should as well because you can’t go back and make new “old friends”, but I’m sure my relationship with them will change, but I will have changed too, for the better, so I’m okay with that.

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To avoid group-think and influence, I'd make individual time with each friend over a meal. I'd mention that I'm working to turn around a slump in my mood, and I'd consider it a person favor if he's support me in my New Year's resolution to bring my 'happy' back. I'd like for us to speak with one another about anything in the world as long as we can find a positive spin to put on it. Can he help me with this?

 

If he knocks it, let him knock it and don't defend it. Don't speak another word about it, enjoy your meal, and make a choice from there about how much time you'll want to spend with this person going forward.

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Danz - Thanks for your input. I am very aware of guys f#@%ing with each other, I do it on occasion, too; but this is the first time that I realized how much it happened with these two. As for what one of them said, it was much more derogatory than "you look like a lumberjack". Plus it has happened the only two times I've seen him with that shirt on. Just odd. I am pretty secure and the comments in themselves don't bother me, it was just that the negativity is so apparent and I thought most would grow out of it at some point during adulthood. Maybe because we've know each other for so long they still revert to when we were 18 years old. I'm not throwing these friendships out at all. It has just became very apparent to me recently but may have been happening throughout our friendships. When I mentioned I feel great, that was in regards to another group of people that I am comparing to these two.

 

Wise - Thanks. I agree, there may be something affecting them at the moment. They are my friends and I am not looking to remove them from my life. It is really eye opening when comparing them to other people that are so much more positive.

 

Milly - Like you, I have no problem standing up for myself, if necessary. If you don't stand up for yourself, who will?

 

Indea - You are describing the exact situation. I guess this is just a growing pain as we add more supportive and positive people in our life. I will hold onto them as friends, no question, but I will probably spend less time with them as time moves on unless things end up changing. As for the hug comment, it's funny how many people tell me they love my hugs. I tell them it is because I mean it.

 

catfeeder - I really like this approach. It isn't putting any pressure on them, but it makes the point. Thank you for offering this suggestion!!

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I've had this struggle too (I am in my 50s now) - I either ended the contact or put strict boundaries around our interactions. I'm also careful in how I interact if I'm feeling cranky or negative -including choosing not to interact at all to avoid inadvertently getting negative. It takes a lot of effort -being negative is much easier sometimes but unfair. Ask yourself whether you need the interaction for any other reason -are you bored/feeling a little lonely so that you settle for the negativity?

 

You sound like a great and thoughtful person and friend!

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