12 March 2012

Shit Friend Syndrome: 21st century dilemma

WHILE having a coffee with friends, the topic of shit friends repeatedly arises. Seems we all are or have all been troubled by shit friends from time to time - the only difference being a) the friend and b) the extent of their shittness.

The worst shit friends are the repeat offenders: those who keep doing shit things to their friends time after time. These are the types of shit friends we are talking about here. Having spent so much time debating shit friends, the term Shit Friend Syndrome (SFS) has been coined. 

Shit friend syndrome is  the state in which your life is plagued by the repeated shitty actions of a shit friend. A shit friend is a friend who does one or more of the following:
a) doesn't treat you the same as you treat them or 
b) who takes, takes, takes but doesn't give or
c) whose actions seem a blatant disregard to the feelings/schedule/lives of others

The annoyance of SFS is that, often,  the shit friend is the one that organises the things they then cancel or ruin. For example, a shit friend may suggest you meet at the gym only to message you after the meeting time saying they will not make it. Or inviting you out for coffee then cancelling because they have somewhere else to be.

Tegan* acknowledges her shit friend  is not the brightest star in the sky. Cathy* once cancelled a meeting with Tegan saying she was at the doctors waiting for an appointment, but posted a message on Facebook (at the same time!) to another friend  asking her to come over and try some of the chocolate cake she had just baked.
Sue* tells the story of how she was looking forward to a visit from her shit friend on Christmas Eve. Sue had been looking forward to the company after a frantic day alone cooking and cleaning. Plus, Karen* (her shit friend) said she had a little present for Sue.  Well Karen* didn't come around - she had too many other friends/family to see. Although Sue has seen Karen multiple times this year, the "little Christmas present" has not surfaced.
Sally's* shit friend Julia* is always bitching and whinging about her other circle of friends. She complains about one eating crap then whinging about her weight, one is bad with money, one is lazy, another self-centred...you name it, Julia has bitched about every possible detail of her other friend's personalities and life. Sally wonders what Julia says about her when she is not around.
Modern society has definitely helped in the prevalence of the shit friend, especially Facebook. Instead of letting people fall out of your life in due course, we stay connected to them, pretending the original reason for the friendship still exists. How many of your Facebook friends would you actually call a friend rather than an acquaintance? Would you even call them an acquaintance without Facebook suggesting you "reconnect" or telling you it's their birthday or enabling easy invitation to their events?

It should be stressed that a shit friend does not just do one thing to upset or trouble their mate. They repeatedly do shit things, therefore making them a shit friend. For example. a shit friend is likely to have done all of the above stories, not just one as a one off event.

In today's ever connected society, with only six degrees of separation between us and every other person on the planet, how do you get rid of a shit friend? Can you get rid of a shit friend? While you can't control the actions of others, you can control your reaction and behaviour. Perhaps ignoring a shit friend will result in them fading away? 

A shit friend, however, is not likely to be a shit friend to all their friends. According to SFS sufferers, their shit friend seems to be an amazingly thoughtful, caring, loving friend to others. This is what makes SFS so frustrating. It would be easier to understand someone being an all round jerk and therefore shit friend.

So how do you ensure you are not being a shit friend to any of your friends? We have composed a Shit Friend Checklist:

1. Do you regularly make plans with your friends but cancel on them? 
2. Do you ignore texts/emails/calls/Facebook posts from your friends until you have something to tell them or need something from them?
3. Would you agree that you receive more than get give in your friendship? 
4. Have you forgotten the last time you hung out with your friend one on one?

If you answered YES to any of the above questions you are at risk of being a shit friend.Maybe you should reconsider if you really want to stay friends with the person you are causing SFS for?

Have you ever suffered from Shit Friend Syndrome or are you a shit friend?

*Names changed to protect the innocent, not the shit friends. All stories are true and accurate.


  1. These people only get you down. I wonder if they were a good friend to begin with then turned into a shit one.

    Just another number to add to the facebook friend list.

    Glad to see another story from you. :)

  2. Hard truth about some people, hopefully they can find out someday how they actually are.

    Nice write up!