When I think back to the past (for examples), and when I look to the present, there are some constants, some things that are the same in different situations, over different periods of time.
So how does one evaluate the genuineness of a friendship or of any relationship over time? What are the things that we can see that are “red flags” in everyday relationships, and possibly “red flags” in relationships in families or in co-workers or even at school? What are the key things that consistently show up that can warn us to beware, to be careful, to tread lightly?
This article might just help you in those areas, on the topic of finding safe people to be around, of finding those who are are genuinely interested in sincere friendship, a give and take relationship, a “both ways” friendship, one in which both persons work at the friendship or relationship rather than it just being a “I’ll take all; you give” type of negative relationship.
First listen and observe…
One of the first things you should look for is to note the “person” themselves, look at them, listen to them, see them, hear them, observe. Notice how they react to other people. For example, if there is a person who is constantly calling someone names, or constantly putting people down, realize that this is not “contained” behaviour. If a person constantly and consistently calls someone names or puts them down, most likely, that person does it to everyone, about everyone. Think about it. If a person is pointing out to you that someone is ugly, or sweaty or too short or too tall or too fat, and they are always doing this, most likely, that same name-caller is talking about you behind your back. Did you ever expect that? Probably not.
In today’s world, there are many people who gossip about others and they do it as a pastime, as a hobby. Usually these are people who have nothing better to do. They are either bored with their own lives or angry about their own situation. So, they use their time to gossip, to put others down, to belittle others in front of any audience that will listen to them. And so, if you listen, you are their audience.
Don’t be the audience!
But, beware, kiddies. You see, the truth is, that if you are someone’s audience, most likely, at any given time in the future or even in the present, you, the audience will or would become the target, the one who is spoken about. That’s the truth.
Gossippers do not contain their gossip. The ones who belittle other people to others, usually will be doing the same about you and your friends. Just wait, give it time, and you will see.
Beware the gossipers!
That’s the first red flag in a relationship whether that be at school or at work or at a community center or even on vacation or anywhere else. The person who spends their time putting down other people, is usually the same person who spends their time putting you down also, and calling you names also.
So lesson be learned, don’t be the gossiper’s audience. When possibly avoid being the audience. And if the gossiper doesn’t learn that people don’t want to hear the put downs, then make yourself scarce for the gossiper.
Never say sorry?
Quite possibly, the second red flag (a sign that you don’t want to spend lots of time with a particular person) might be about the person’s total inability to apologize to someone when they have done wrong. That’s right.
If somene has harmed you, whether it be physical or just verbal or emotional, and you have told the person that they have harmed you or that what they did was wrong, and they refuse to utter a sincere apology, you might want to take the next parts of that relationship with a grain of salt.
And why? Here’s why. If a person has harmed you, and they don’t apologize, that can mean only that they have no intention of not repeating the same offense, whatever the offense is. If they try to “explain” it away, or double talk you and still don’t apologize; they don’t admit they were wrong, then they are not sincere in wanting to value your friendship or your relationship.
Don’t be bait!
A person who has harmed you, either by accident or on purpose, and who has not apologized to you, knows that you are bait and you will accept practically anything from them. That’s pretty much how it comes across.
Do you really want someone like that around you for any extended periods of time?
Are you happy knowing that the person refuses to apologize –ever? (Perhaps that is not the first time that they have not apologized. Perhaps they have harmed you once or twice or even three times before and never apologized? Isn’t that obvious that they are not valuing your friendship? Only you can answer that question.
The False Apology
And now, we come to what is known as the “false apology”. The false apology is one in which the person verbally tells you they are sorry, but in the same sentence or in the same letter, or in the same email, they “blame” you for something. So basically, they are blaming you for what they did to you. And that negates their apology and that makes their apology a fake apology.
For example, the person says, “I’m sorry”, and then goes on to say, “But you, this and that, and you shouldn’t have done this or that” –and they connect that whatever it is –with their reason for their apology. Trix are for kids! That’s right, like the rabbit says, “Tricks are for kids”, not for adults! So when it comes to adults and when it comes to sincere apologies, let’s not beat around the bush with the tricks and the word games and the mind games.
If you see any of these red flags in that so-called apology, that person really hasn’t apologized to you, at all. What they are saying to you is “Yes, I know that you need me to apologize to you, so I’m verbally saying “sorry” to you, however, I’m going to use this time, this apology time (letter, email, etc) to blame you for something.
They blame you?
That’s no apology!
Someone who is sincerely sorry, and someone who has no intentions of harming you in that same way again, will not blame you for something when they apologize to you. A sincere person will apologize PERIOD! That’s right. A sincere person who is sorry for what they did or for what they said, will tell you genuinely that they are sorry ( in more than two words, smiles), and they will not utter anything about blaming you for anything. And that’s the truth.
Once you hear the person apologizing and in that same moment, they are blaming you for something, that person is rescinding their apology, in other words, they are offereing a false apology.
Are you ready to have a person like that around you for extended periods of time? Are you ready to extend any energy or any friendsip to a person who will do wrong and then try to blame you with their ‘apology”?
Most people rarely do something that requires an apology, so, this article is really focusing on the rare individual, that one has it deeply imbedded in their soul that they are never wrong, never do wrong and therefore never need to apologize. Just a handful fit that bill. So, don’t let this article keep you away from making friends but rather just let it open your eyes to the small handful in this world that are mainly there to never apologize after they do wrong.
If you keep your eyes and ears open for those two red flags, you just might avoid getting tangled into the web of someone who could potentially harm you deeply in the future. After all, if a person isn’t held accountable for what they do and they continuously don’t take responsibility for what they do, that person really has no incentive to be nice in the future.
In summary, thankfully, there are only a few individuals that you will ever meet that will wave those two red flags at you and expect you to still be there for them, to be their audience or to be their “have it my way” friend.
So, go out, have fun, be cool, and meet new friends. Enjoy life! Do things that you enjoy doing! Go places that you enjoy going to. And most of all, be with people who you want to be with and who want to be with you!