New Friends and Healthy Relationship Dynamics

Recently I realized that I not only attracted females with a high degree of narcissism, but alpha females as well.

With most of my friendships, until fairly recently it’s invariably been about their schedule, what they want to do, hanging out at their place (rarely mine), etc. and there seems to be little awareness of my own schedule, what I’d like to do (for a change!), or hanging out at my place (yes I have a nice place in a nice area)! These women usually wait for people to call them, rather than the other way around.

What prompts this post is that I have a new friend of several weeks who I really enjoy. We have a great deal in common and I like her friends as well. We always have a great time together. (See my later post about dumping this friend: (https://joyfulalivewoman.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/ending-a-friendship/)

I like alpha females, although I do have one really good friend (also new) who is very soft-spoken and is a natural compromiser, which I think classifies her as a “beta.” She’s Type A driven, but has a Beta personality. She always seems to be aware of the balance of give and take, and handles that issue quite well.

Alpha females tend to be drawn to me because I am friendly, lively, outspoken and — I like to think — fun. We end up laughing and joking and having a great time, with lots of intense conversation and general upbeat fun. No more endlessly using friendships for whining and therapy.

The problem is that I sense the same kind of dynamic brewing after only a few weeks. It’s a problem I’ve dealt with since grade school and particularly high school, right on up to today.

Thyere was something in my attitude and demeanor that wasn’t conscious, and it made women friends think that I’m submissive and able to be dominated or manipulated. Not least, they seemed to think that I’m the type of person who wouldn’t get offended at veiled barbs or intimidating comments (I did and do). It is odd, because I didn’t think I came off that way. Now I know that I did.

And of course, I am probably unconsciously drawn to those who repeat the dynamic I had with my N mother, my N high school friend G, and N former friend of 33 years, H.

Several days ago, my new friend made a remark that I would never consider making to a friend. I’m willing to accept that each of us has different perceptions of what to say and when, but it was about some boxes in my living room. I moved a few months ago, and it wasn’t clear that I was going to stay here due to an extremely toxic HOA person and some separate property management issues. I haven’t decided where to put the boxes yet, whether to unpack them or just stash them in the garage, where it is actually too hot for the items inside the boxes. Also, life has just plain crazy intervened, and yeah I know it’s been months they’ve been sitting there – stacked neatly, I might add.

I just would never go into someone’s house and make a remark like that. I consider it hurtful and offensive. And unnecessary.

So that was a red flag to me.

She may feel as though we are good enough friends to be able to say something like that, so I suppose I shouldn’t be over-reacting — if I am, which I doubt.

Humor is probably a great way to deal with it. And I need to become better at quick rejoinders like, “Yeah, well let’s see what’s lurking around your house!”

Another red flag was when I emailed the same friend last night to say that I wouldn’t be able to take a weekend trip this coming weekend as I had thought, due to high medical co-pays and other unexpected expenses, like puppy boarding. She hasn’t written back yet.

She’s generous and nurturing, but I don’t want too high or too difficult a price on those things. It’s happened before. I’m not a charity case, even though my current circumstances often cause people to categorize me or dismiss me as such.

I’m a strong female. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m alpha, because when dealing with an alpha I usually slide into the beta role for harmony’s sake: keeping the peace. If I act alpha, the basic fact is that women don’t want to be my friend, because they have their own strong identity and needs and they’re not going to cow-tow to mine.

But too often I have found myself cow-towing to them.  So it’s a problem.

I don’t intend to let this latest friendship sink into a co-dependent and potentially narcissistic-type dynamic.

I just ended a friendship last fall with someone who was like that. She thinks she is the one who ended it. I actually knew it was over several months before it actually happened. It’d actually been going that way for a couple years and I was allowing the friendship to run its course naturally, knowing that it was coming due to major differences in lifestyle, life direction, ongoing schedule, etc.

It was always about her, her, her all the time. Her life, her schedule, her house, her yard, her husband, her mother, her mother’s partner, her dog, her schoolwork, her religious pursuits (always radically changing every year) etc, etc. She never seemed to have the time to visit my place even though it was a stunningly gorgeous little place in the countryside with a fantastic view of the mountain. No, that was “too far” and “too boring.” Yeah, because it wasn’t about her for a change! She was quite willing and happy to get together as long as it was on her terms. There’s a lot more to that story, but at the moment I’m bored with rehashing the past.

The main focus now is to prevent what could possibly develop into a nice balanced fulfilling friendship from degenerating into yet another “pseudo-friendship” with me as puppy dog and her as alpha pack leader. In most relationships there is an alpha and a beta, but I still believe in striving for equality.

It’s important for us to know who we are and behave accordingly, and not be afraid of someone saying, “well OK, this is the only way I’m willing to be friends, so see ya later.”

I’ve got to accept that it could happen, and be OK with it.

I certainly hope it will work out, because this woman is a lot of fun and we have a lot in common.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with the way my new friendships are going in my new area, it’s been 7 months now.