Being Protective of Your Friends

protective friendships

Throughout the years of friendship ups and downs that I’m sure we’ve all had, I’ve noticed a scary trend- protective friendships. When I say the phrase “protective friendships” I really mean one of two things.

The first type of protective friendships are the good kind. This is when you would do anything for your friends- so much that you are extra protective of them. For example, if someone writes a nasty comment on your friend’s Facebook wall, you might jump in to help defend her. I believe that this type of friendship is fine. In fact, I sincerely hope that my friends would be protective over me in situations like this- that’s just what friends do. But sometimes the protectiveness can go a bit too far, which leads me to the second type.

The second type of protective friendships are the people who are extremely insecure in themselves and their relationships that they go into crazy protective mode. These people typically label their best friend as their BFF and stare down anyone else who dares to call them by that name. They don’t allow new people into their group or clique because they don’t want others to share the same friendships as them.

I’ve had experience with both of these types of protective friendships, particularly the latter, and it blows my mind. Some people so protective of their friendships that they refuse to let anyone else in. They get mad when their friend makes a new friend and they feel cheated and left out. I just want to shake them and say “NEWSFLASH- You can have more than one type of friend. You can share friends. You don’t need to be so territorial over other people!”

This particular instance has happened to me over the years. A group of girls refused to be my friend, invite me to events all my other friends were at and generally be nice to me simply because a member of their group hated me. This ringleader made sure to spread the word that I was in fact not to be talked to. I was not to be invited places with them and it was because she didn’t like me and I was a terrible person.

Laugh all you want at the stupidity of that, but it’s true. I realized that this doesn’t just happen to me, or girls my age of that matter. Recently at my boyfriend’s parents house, I was chatting with a few women and family friends. A woman in her 40’s told a story about how her son and another woman’s sons were friends, but the mother’s relationship was now strained based on this same silly protectiveness. She was left out of beach invites, was talked about behind her back and fell victim to a woman who was too protective of her relationships.

I find it sad that this still happens today, in a day and age where people are hopefully becoming less judgmental and more open. I worry that this will continue on well into my 30’s and 40’s. If anything, it’s made me realize that life is too short to worry about the number of friends, it’s the quality that really matters. Anyone that would protect you and stand up for you is a true friend. Those who are too protective of their own are simply not worth the time.

Have you every experienced these types of protective friendships? How did you deal with it?

27 Comments

  1. I know things like that do happen, but most of my girlfriends don’t know each other so I never had that issue. As always it all comes down to women and their insecurities, I hope that some women will eventually learn to lift each other up instead of acting like brats. Then again if one of my girlfriends behaved that way, I would be so turned off and would could her out on her stupid behaviour.

  2. I used to be best friends with a girl who got annoyed when I made new friends, as if I could only hang out with her and no one else. Needless to say, we are no longer friends!

  3. That’s so childish! I think if a person feels uncomfortable with you around, then THEY shouldn’t come! You don’t have to be best friends with everyone. You don’t even have to like everyone. But that doesn’t mean two people can’t be at the same get-together. Nobody is forcing you to chat it up or sit at the same table. Just go and have a good time. And if someone can’t handle that, how is that your fault?

    I have a friend who did this to another friend of mine last year. It really pissed me off because she made it seem like I had to “choose” between two people who did nothing to me. Eventually she stopped even bringing it up around me because there was no way I was letting her chat about another one of my friends. Don’t like her, I don’t care. but don’t expect me to agree. These ugly attitudes are seriously harmful to the whole gender.

  4. I’ve had issues but it’s all been because of a break up. Turns out even though I was the group fixture and the longtime friend, they weren’t really my friends. Most of my friends are men and they sided with my ex. Even after his egregious behavior and cheating!

  5. I think I’ve been really lucky with my friends throughout my adult life that this never really happened to me. Maybe in high school, but that’s to be expected. Girls can be so catty!

  6. Oh boy. First of all, I feel like I have to admit 1 & 2! And I have definitely seen other people act on 2! Best friend is such a loose term I feel… although I use it all the time. To me, I use it for my friends who I know who do anything for me HANDS down, but unfortunately, there are very protective nasty people out there. I am always all about meeting new people, making new friends and what not. And I have seen some of my best friends befriend people like this who literally get angry if my friend hangs out with just me without inviting them. Really? What grade are we in. And to be more childish about it, I would probably say something like “I knew her first and we have been friends longer.” At this point in life, I don’t think that should matter! Its all about who cares for you and enables you to be happy and supported in life. Anyway, unfortunately I just wrote a post about people being judgmental, but more so in terms of relationships. It is still out there 🙁

  7. I really, really have a solid group of friends who I consider to be my absolute best friends. The issue though is that their roles are different. One is married the other will be soon. I talk to them about different issues because of their different perspective. I hate saying “best friend” when talk to the other because I feel like they feel left out. They are in my life for different reasons and I try and show that. Now, thankfully they also both like each other so I haven’t had one be mean about us hanging out with out her. But girls can seriously be the frigging worst.

  8. Lol as a child, I was definitely the overly protective friend. I was an only child for awhile and it made me super possessive of things and people. Glad I grew out of that! But I mean, I can’t say I don’t get jealous of when my best friends make new friends sometimes, only because I have a lot of long distance best friends and I wish I could spend more time with them!

  9. Oh girl, this is actually happening in my world now…that busy bee…the ringleader who thinks she is everything to everyone and wants to be the one to plan everything an include/exclude the ladies that aren’t worthy in her opinion. It drives me nuts and I have slowly steered away from this entire group!!

  10. i definitely remember this happening in high school and middle school and I was guilty as it every now and then back then but in adulthood, I haven’t run into it with any of my own friends but i have seen other girls be like that with their friends. It’s so sad that it still occurs!

  11. Ahhhhhh….yes, the world of mean girls all over again. It’s so hard moving to a new city and not being able to make friends because people are way too protective of their circles. I’m all for letting someone in – the more the merrier, especially with girlfriends 🙂

  12. Completely agree with you girl. It’s definitely the quality not the quantity. I’ve definitely been there. I think it really just boils down to jealousy. And that’s sad. We can all be friends. If you’re friends with me why wouldn’t your friend also want to be friends since y’all get along as well. I hope it doesn’t keep up into our 30-40’s that would just be sad. Life is too complicated to have to play these games with people we like!

  13. I can sort of see were they’re coming from – I suspect they’ afraid of their friends finding someone ‘better’ or ‘more BFF’ – but if I was the protectee and found out about it, I’d be so *pissed*. Like, how dare you decide who I can or cannot be friends with, something like that. And it’s like…that’s not a super empathic reaction, is it? And I do try to be sort of understanding and empathize with my friends. So I am sort of wondering, if I ever befriend someone and discover they’re like that, how do I make it clear that it’s not necessary, how do I put a stop to it? And, uhm. What if one day I wake up, befriend someone, and then discover this tendency in myself, how do I stop that?

  14. I’m very protective over one of my friends. She’s a nice girl and I would hate if anyone made any kind of racist remark about her. She’s a classy and mature girl and she’s very nice to me. I’m nice back. She’s a real friend and loyal and I hate to see her hurt. I’m a very loyal person. I wouldn’t betray anyone. I’m friends with anyone of a different background. I don’t care about your race as long as you’re nice. I wasn’t raised to be a racist jerk.

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