How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

Assume that everyone in your “group” agrees with your political opinions. It doesn’t matter if I belong to your church, yoga class, or rotary club, I may have vastly different voting habits than you do. Furthermore, that means that I won’t find your Bush or Obama jokes humorous. (Although I might make an exception for an exceptionally funny joke about an exceptionally horrible ex-president.)

Use the phrase “hate the sin, love the sinner” when talking to someone about their sin. This is particularly true when the sinner in question is ME (or someone who struggles in the same area I do) and the person doing the hating/loving is YOU. I stop listening after the word “hate.” It would be much better if your actions showed love to me; then I’d better understand why you hate my sin.

  • “Christians talk about hating sin and loving sinners, but the way they go about things, they might as well call it what it is. They hate the sin and the sinner.” — 25-year-old man, quoted in Unchristian, by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons.

 Using prayer groups to share all the juicy gossip with your friends. C’mon, isn’t that what Facebook is for—so you can share all those tidbits of knowledge with all your one-thousand-and-one best friends. Much more efficient than the relatively smaller prayer-group audience. But hey, as long as it’s prefaced with “we need to pray for so-and-so because she . . .,” it’s okay, right?

 Ridiculing their profession or field of study. Think making lawyer jokes to lawyers (unless you’re a lawyer yourself, then it’s okay). Or consider this Actual Conversation With Slight Modifications repeated over and over during my college years:

He: So what’s your major?

Me: English.

He: Ewww. I hate English. You actually like that Shakespeare dude?

Me: Yes. (Yawn. If all the world’s a stage, can we go ahead and have the curtain call?)

He: Hey, I heard a joke about English majors …

Me: (By the pricking of my thumbs, some lame joke this way comes.)

He: What’s an English major say to an engineer? Do you want fries with that order? (laughs)

Me: (To be or not to be, that is the question. Can I put you in the “not to be” category—oh, say, suffocate you with the fries you ordered from me?)

 Not listening, really listening. Sends a message: Whatever is on your mind (your next brilliant line), whoever is calling on your cell phone (hopefully someone more interesting that me), wherever we are (Do they have free Wi-Fi here?)—all of that is far more important that the person talking to you. Or, if you’re the one talking, blabbering too much about yourself.

  • Conversation involves talking and listening. Basic Friendship 101 should be a graduation requirement–from preschool.

Legal Disclaimer: No representation has been made that I, Laura Droege, have NOT been guilty of the items above, though no representation has been made that I HAVE been guilty of them, either.

 Anybody think of any other unfriend-like behaviors?

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