friendship

There’s a new name for the friend who cuts you down all the time.

You know about fair-weather friends. You probably have at least one in your life right now. She’s the mate who’s always around when you’re kicking ass. She’s always up for a good time, lives for the #selfies and spends hours recounting her latest big night out.

The fair-weather friend is a hell of a lot of fun when she shows up, but at the first sign of trouble, she’ll drop you like it’s hot.

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Then there’s the foul-weather friend. The opposite of your fair-weathered mate, Ms Foul-Weather only comes around when there’s something in it for her. She’s going through a messy break up and needs a shoulder to cry on or she’s heading out of town and needs someone to feed her psycho cat for the next two months.

She’s only your chum when she’s glum. So don’t expect to be invited to her next event, you’re pretty much a glorified free counsellor/personal assistant to her.

But have you ever met the partly-cloudy friend? In a sentence – she’s overcast with a 90% chance of being a complete cow.

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She’s that friend who’s always around, seemingly supportive and interested in your life, but she has an ulterior motive – you’re a prop in her efforts to feel better about herself. Your failures are her successes.

I had a decade long relationship with a partly-cloudy friend and took me almost that long to figure out her MO.

My first hint at my partly-cloudy pal’s motivations was right at the start of our friendship.

I’d lost a lot of weight and when partly-cloudy first clamped her eyes on me, there was a look of absolute disdain thinly masked by lukewarm happiness for me. I could see her eyeing my thinner thighs throughout our time together with contempt and terror. My weight loss had ever so slightly shifted the power balance in our relationship and she wasn’t happy about it.

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Sometimes the storms that partly-cloudy would unleash on me were subtle, at other times they were torrential.

When I wrote my first blog post years ago and sent her the link, she replied almost immediately and gleefully ‘OMG. There’s a spelling mistake. HAHAHAHAHAHA.’

When I told her one time jokingly that I was busy ‘washing my smalls’ she quipped ‘don’t you mean your bigs?’

Whenever I would mention the masters degree I was working on, or the business I started, or the promotion I just got at work, she would quickly and skillfully change the subject. She didn’t want to hear about it.

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On the other hand, if I told her I had a bad day, she would want to hear every single juicy detail and then she would be quick to rub salt in the wound – ‘Don’t forget you’re also fat!’

Every little quip and jibe was delivered with a chummy laugh and smile. I thought we were having great fun. Until I didn’t.

The thing is, I don’t blame her for this. I actually feel a bit sorry for her.

She views the world as a hierarchy and is constantly ranking people according to their presumed value in this hierarchy. Did you go to a better school than her? And you’re thinner? And you make more money? Then you rank higher than her.

Put on some weight and you’re going down a few pegs, lady.

My fat, broke, country school educated ass never stood a chance. I was a refuge in the storm for her – someone she could rely on to never outdo her. So every time I enjoyed a little bit of success, it was a direct hit to her and she metaphorically rained on my parade.

My advice if you come across a partly-cloudy pal? You need to decide whether the knocks to your self-confidence are worth the fun of the friendship. If not, put up your umbrella and keep walking.

This post originally appeared on Keryn Donnellys’ Blog.

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