Why Do We Keep Bad Friends Around?

Alexandra, from Farmingville, NY, is 17 years old and enjoys helping others. She is extremely motivated and focused and enjoys meeting new people. She one day hopes to be a psychologist.

Throughout all my years of schooling, I’ve always been an extremely friendly and outgoing person, and sometimes I feel like it’s hurt me more than done me good. My parents taught me from day one to be respectful, be nice, and be the bigger person in a situation. But over the years, mostly in my High School years, I have learned that coming off too nice, I guess, makes me look vunerable or dumb, and therefore I get taken advantage of. They say, in psychology, the term “Foot-In-The-Door” phenomena, is a compliance tactic that involves getting a person to agree to a large request by first setting them up by having that person agree to a modest request (Wikipedia). That used to apply to me, until I came to terms that I have to do what is best for MYSELF. My family has always been my number one objective and are my one supporters. One must remember, friends come and go, but family will always be there for them.

I had this one friend I met in the beginning of 9th grade. She was a tough cookie, very pretty, knew what she wanted, an Aries (also my sign) but stubborn and relentless. She is one of 5 sisters and I became close with 2 of them. I’ve always been a very focused individual, and am an A student in school, and when High School came around I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of that, and to this day, never have. Anyway, I began to hang around with this girl, K, as we can call her, and I always had a different experience, which is why I liked being around her so much. But I started noticing that she would demean me, or belittle me in front of others. I played it off for a while, and not once did I say anything about how it made me feel somewhat bad about myself, which is the complete opposite of what I should have done. I continued to hangout with K, but than summer came around, and the true colors came out.
One certain instance I can recall so clearly, is one where I was forced to call my mom at 6:00 in the morning, from a motel that I ended up at. With K, I was very easy-going because she was so high-strung, which is usually how I am. That night, K, 2 other friends, and I got picked up by a couple of K’s guy friends, that I knew from school. The girls I were with were drinking, except for myself. Being as venerable as they were, they agreed to go to a hotel for the night, even though I was literally screaming my head off and on the verge of crying when they agreed to this, but none of them could care an inch about me at that point. We get there, and I am texting my mom, normally, debating on whether I should tell her, and if so, what I should tell her. We get in the room and immediately one of the girls started getting sick (a friend of K‘s who also was not fond of this motel idea), so I stayed with her in the bathroom. While in there, I find out K and the other friend are sleeping with the two guys who brought us there. I am freaking out because apparently one of the couples are on top of my phone, it is dark, I am crying because I wanted to go home, and the poor girl in the bathroom is sick as a dog. Eventually I found my phone, at 5:30 a.m, and went outside to call my mom, crying. She was completely understanding, but I was no longer allowed to hang out with K. My mom knew about the way she treated me from day one, and this just put the icing on the cake. For the girl in the bathroom throwing up, she happened to have alcohol poisoning, and if it weren’t for me watching her and tending to her, God knows what would have happened.
You wouldn’t call that instance cool, would you now? Me neither, and that’s when I decided I had to cut my loses. But I just didn’t have the heart for it, so I just continued to be friends with her, but very rarely hung out with her. She considered me her best friend; I even got her special candle at her Sweet 16. We grew further apart but I always tried to keep in touch, even after all the garbage she had put me through. But then came New Years of 2010, and she slept with my previous boyfriend of 3 years, whom she knew, along with plenty other people, I still had feelings for him. I was completely devastated and she knew it, and had done it on purpose.

To this day, I am not sure, especially between girls, why friends go out of their way to hurt their friends. I always had a really difficult time with girls, and have learned to keep to myself. At the age I’m at (17), again, friends will come and go, but one must stay focused. Your goals in life are what are going to get you that scholarship, or that job you strived so hard for, not your friends, or the things you do with them. Those situations may effect your life, even drastically, such as if the person I got in the car with was drunk driving. Coming out of all of this, I learned to think EVERYTHING through thoroughly, and always consider the consequences, even if they may not be my hands (such as someone else being a drunk driver). It may be a generalization, but mom’s, or at least my mom, is always right when it comes to decision making, and I’ve learned to focus on my self, and my family, because they are the one’s who will be there in the end.

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