Fatal Friends

June 9, 2008 at 4:08 pm 4 comments

After reading two books on relationships, and spending more time on Facebook than my kids do on MySpace, I’ve decided it’s time to write about those friends that we all have encountered, and when we get a friend request from them on one of those online communities, we think twice before accepting their request. I’ll call them “Fatal Friendships: Dispensable Relationships You Can Afford to Live WITHOUT!”

Leonard Sweet came up with 11 (really 12) Indispensable Relationships (I reviewed the book here) and Tom Rath describes 8 Vital Friends (I reviewed the book here), so I have chosen to split the difference and have come up with 10 Fatal Friendships. See if you identify with any of these:

  1. Suckers – these are the emotionally draining, always needy types who suck the life out of you
  2. Stinkers – these are the ones who always rain on your parade, and never wanna have fun
  3. Sabotagers – these are the ones who surreptitiously seek to ruin you by getting close
  4. Smoochers – these are the ones who kiss up to you so you will do something to benefit them
  5. Sufferers – these are the ones who deign to be your friend and it always feels like an imposition to talk to or spend time with them
  6. Stranglers or Smotherers – these are the ones who IM, email, call, invite, stop by uninvited and never leave, incessantly poke you on Facebook, etc. ALL THE TIME
  7. Sycophants – the definition suffices – a person who acts obsequiously toward someone in order to gain advantage; a servile flatterer
  8. Stompers – these are the ones who squash your dreams, keeping you under foot in fear of your success outshining their own or making them look bad
  9. Stabbers – you turn your back on these friends and you will know it, you may think they are your friend but when you’re not around – watch out!
  10. Schmoozers – these are the ones who only want to be your friend because they want to be friends with the people you hang out with

There’s another fatal friend that I am thinking of, but I can’t find quite the right catchy word for them – the ones who are so driven to succeed at something and the only reason they would be your friend is if you have something to contribute to their success – otherwise, they could care less whether you exist or not. If you have a good word for this Fatal Friend, please let me know…

While it is certainly worth developing healthy friendships I think we can all attest to the fact that not all people we come in contact with are worth having as friends. Sad, but true. I hope I don’t fall into any of my own catastrophic categories…


Entry filed under: friends, relationships.

Vital Friends – More on Relationships A Rollin’ Gospel Revival Meeting


  • 1. DJ  |  June 25, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Seeing you linking at TiE and hopped over here and read this post.

    After reading this on the tail of reading another self-described Christian blogger who ripped on George Carlin saying is death is ‘No Loss,’ I can’t help but think of Paul in 1Corn13 saying that if he speaks without love he is nothing but a gong or clanging symbol. Love is kind, it does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud…rude…self seeking…it keeps no record of wrongs.



  • 2. Elizabeth Chapin  |  June 25, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    DJ, I’m not clear on what you are suggesting here – that the other post you read about George Carlin was rude, or that this post was un-loving or what. I do humbly receive your reminder of Paul’s encouragement on love. Perhaps writing about such things without context leaves an opening for misunderstanding. While I may find it difficult to be friends with some people, I certainly hope the love of Christ overcomes my shortcomings.

  • 3. Dan  |  June 26, 2008 at 1:12 am

    Could the word you are looking for with that last description needing a title be “pastor”? or “Staff” (as in church staff).

  • 4. Elizabeth Chapin  |  June 26, 2008 at 8:35 am

    Dan, unfortunate but too often true. Especially since most people think “professional” Christians are supposed to be the ones who are loving, kind, gracious, etc.

    DJ brings up a good point about the love chapter and I think one of our challenges as followers of Christ is to love those “fatal friends” who have wounded us. I am hoping and praying for a renewal of love in our midst so that we will no longer be known as unChristian and unloving.

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