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Author Topic: Dealing with those who are harmful to you?  (Read 1903 times) Average Rating: 0
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88Devin12
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« on: December 14, 2008, 04:33:09 PM »

I am in a situation, and have been for a while, where a friend of mine whom I am living with at college seems to be good "friends" with a person that actually bad for most of us (in our group of friends) to be around. We have expressed our feelings to this friend (the one who lives with us) and he seems to not really care, just telling us that we are too mean to this person and he is just being nice to this person.

However, there are a couple people in our group who genuinly hate this person, one even is trying to get this person to fail out of college so the person won't be around. Personally, I try to not hate anyone, and I don't hate this person, however it is harmful to me, and especially my soul to be around this person.

What are we to do? What would be the Orthodox thing to do? Our friend that hangs around this other person doesn't listen to us or even any advice we may give him. Sometimes he does do what we want him to do, (like choose to not be around this person or do what this person wants him to do) and then this person complains and raises a storm to him, and he caves into that. Because of this, some of our friends (sometimes including me unfortunately) accuse our friend of not being a "real man" and not having the "guts" (paraphrased) to tell this person no and to take charge and to not hang around this person.
Sometimes our friend even brings this person back to our house, and then he leaves, leaving this person with us rather than taking this person with him or asking her to leave. Even though this person is his guest and even though he knows this person is bad for us to be around.

To give our friend's perspective on this. He is friendly to this person because although this person has many bad traits that sometimes rub off on him, he chooses to be friends with this person because this person has lost all their other friends and has barely any others other than him.

So again, what are we to do? What would be the Orthodox thing for me to do?
« Last Edit: December 14, 2008, 04:34:15 PM by 88Devin12 » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2008, 05:06:52 PM »

Have you talked with your priest about this?
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2008, 12:56:12 AM »

Church Fathers and Scripture teach us that nobody can harm us except ourselves.

Forgive, John
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2008, 03:35:34 AM »

This is one of those times where I feel bad giving advice, because it'd be so much harder to follow my own advice if I was in the same situation. Having said that, there's something to be said for being as long-suffering as you can be, until you can't stand it anymore. I guess I say that because, in a best case scenario, if the friendship has to end, it'd be best to let him be the one that ends it, whether overtly or not. I know, easier said than done.
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2008, 04:19:05 AM »

Church Fathers and Scripture teach us that nobody can harm us except ourselves.

Forgive, John

Citations?
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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2008, 08:08:25 AM »

Church Fathers and Scripture teach us that nobody can harm us except ourselves.

Forgive, John

Citations?

Ukiemeister, we can only hope.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2008, 10:30:37 AM »

I tried telling my friend yesterday that being around this other person can be potentially harmful to the rest of us, but he still thinks we are just being mean and doesn't understand how she can be harmful...

Unfortunatly none of the people I live with are Orthodox and so if I approach them, most of the time they don't fully understand what I'm trying to say. (Since leaving that whole mindset behind, i frequently forget how people think and see, who aren't in Orthodoxy)

I didn't think this was too pressing of an issue so I haven't discussed it with my Priest. It's mainly a minor annoyance right now. I just spend most of my time in my room with the door shut when the certain person is over here.

As a side, our friend doesn't always invite this person over. Last night this person invited themself, and our friend felt it would be very mean to tell the person that they couldn't come over.
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2008, 10:36:57 AM »

So again, what are we to do? What would be the Orthodox thing for me to do?

Not really following my own advice always either, and not knowing what you mean by saying that person is harmful to you, I would say to pray for everyone involved in the first place. It would at least help to take off some of the negative influence on your soul because you would be doing something good for this person. In a more physical sense, I do not know what to tell you, it is all very relative and general, but prayer can help you in that too, as well as talking to your priest.All the best.
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2008, 11:15:52 AM »

I think it depends how "bad" this person is, because that can determine what action you could take.

If he's coming over to your house drunk/high/with a bag of marijuana in his jacket, or if he has violent tendencies, then the safe thing to do would be to tell him that he's not welcome anymore, and to inform your other friend that though you respect him, you cannot be around this other person.

If, however, the person is merely a rude, vulgar, negative, or otherwise unsavory type, then I would attempt to speak to this person (as a group) regarding his problem(s), and mention that it makes everyone uncomfortable when he acts in that manner. If he does not make an attempt to change, then follow the same path as the first scenario.

I realize that you don't have any real relationship with this other person, but when he gets "dumped" off at your house, that would be the time to confront him. What's the Orthodox thing to do? I don't know. But that's what I would do.

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« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2008, 12:21:56 PM »

Quote
Citations?

I also wondered what texts he was thinking of when he said that, especially as regards the Scriptures. But fwiw, the one text that did come to mind is A Treatise to Prove That No One Can Harm the Man Who Does Not Injure Himself by St. John Chrysostom. I hope Hopeful Faithful chimes in again and lets us know what texts he was thinking of.
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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2008, 01:58:19 PM »

Is she beating you up or stealing from you? Because that's about the only way I could see her being 'harmful' to you. Otherwise, if she isn't posing a direct threat to your life or property, sounds like you need to stop trying to dictate your friend's life and social circle.

This girl may be obnoxious or something, but try as I might I just can't think of why she could be so bad...especially if your friend doesn't see her as 'harmful'.
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« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2008, 03:22:55 PM »

I tried telling my friend yesterday that being around this other person can be potentially harmful to the rest of us, but he still thinks we are just being mean and doesn't understand how she can be harmful...
Sooo, this person's of the female persuasion, hmm?  I'll probably get clobbered by saying this, but that can add a new dimension to the group dynamic; several young male adults are suddenly beset by a....girl?  Sounds like you, Paul, George and Ringo have just met your Yoko.  But seriously, you must care for your friends but you cannot dictate who they will and will not spend their time with.  Certainly trying to sabotage the girls' college education (that was alluded to in the OP) is absolutely out of the question and you should be just as concerned for the guy who's pulling that stunt as you are for your other friend.  In addition, you might try befriending this girl yourself rather than shunning her.  You say nobody around you understands the Orthodox mindset?  How about showing it to them rather than giving them lectures?  Exercise caution, sure, but a knee-jerk reaction and you could miss out on some great opportunities.

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« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2008, 03:51:46 PM »

Thank you!
I am normally very nice to this girl (i try to be) when/if I'm around her. It isn't a situation where we fight or anything like that. I just feel worse inside after I'm around this person than I had felt before I was around them.

However my concern isn't primarily for myself, but for my other friends, who it seems are effected far worse than I by this whole situation.

Also, when I say "harmful", i'm referring to spritual harm that can be done to your soul. For example, I have a family member, who just being around and even just talking to, often makes me (and other family members) feel "dead" inside. It got to the point where some of my close family members would refuse to talk to this other family member.

I never feel better after being around this girl, I often feel worse. It especially makes me feel really bad when I hear my other friends talk about her or be affected by her.

I can continue to deal with this and be fine, I'm just concerned about my other friends, who get increasingly stressed and even hostile if our friend brings this girl around too much.
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« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2008, 04:29:15 PM »

I just feel worse inside after I'm around this person than I had felt before I was around them.

However my concern isn't primarily for myself, but for my other friends, who it seems are effected far worse than I by this whole situation.

Also, when I say "harmful", i'm referring to spritual harm that can be done to your soul. For example, I have a family member, who just being around and even just talking to, often makes me (and other family members) feel "dead" inside. It got to the point where some of my close family members would refuse to talk to this other family member.

That's a pretty vague reason for wanting to drive someone off. Especially when it's a friend of a friend. If you don't have a more concrete reason, perhaps you might need to consider the possibility that she's not the problem at all.

Don't get me wrong, there are people I dislike, but I generally have better reasons like the cheated me, stabbed me in the back, they're stupid and thus make my job harder, etc.

Quote
I never feel better after being around this girl, I often feel worse. It especially makes me feel really bad when I hear my other friends talk about her or be affected by her.

I can continue to deal with this and be fine, I'm just concerned about my other friends, who get increasingly stressed and even hostile if our friend brings this girl around too much.

From the sound of it, it's these other friends who need to grow a pair.
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« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2008, 04:34:03 PM »

The only thing I can say is be as kind as possible to her.  She may be going through some rough times that cause her to have a bad attitude or maybe she's acting inappropriately to compensate for something.  In any case, she may not mean to be hurtful.  

My dear friend and ex-roommate dated a guy for about a year and I absolutely detested the guy.  He wasn't a bad person by any means, I just hated some of the quirks he had (like ending every confounded sentence with "or something" or trailing off a sentence with "so...") but really, I was just irritated that he got to spend more time with my friend than I did.  Sometimes you just have to step back and really examine the situation... is it really her?  Is it that the group dynamic has changed to something you're don't like?  And if it truly her actions or personality, perhaps she'll adjust after some time.  If not, she might just as easily drift out of your life in time.  My friend eventually broke up with that guy because he embarrassed her at dinner one night.  He and his friend started a food fight in a restaurant and they all got kicked out... my friend is very sensitive to embarrassment after all.  

Best wishes and I hope things get better.  I know it's a trying time, but just try to remember that she probably does need some good friends.  Be the best influence you can be.
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« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2008, 04:35:44 PM »

I just feel worse inside after I'm around this person than I had felt before I was around them.

However my concern isn't primarily for myself, but for my other friends, who it seems are effected far worse than I by this whole situation.

Also, when I say "harmful", i'm referring to spritual harm that can be done to your soul. For example, I have a family member, who just being around and even just talking to, often makes me (and other family members) feel "dead" inside. It got to the point where some of my close family members would refuse to talk to this other family member.

That's a pretty vague reason for wanting to drive someone off. Especially when it's a friend of a friend. If you don't have a more concrete reason, perhaps you might need to consider the possibility that she's not the problem at all.

Don't get me wrong, there are people I dislike, but I generally have better reasons like the cheated me, stabbed me in the back, they're stupid and thus make my job harder, etc.

Quote
I never feel better after being around this girl, I often feel worse. It especially makes me feel really bad when I hear my other friends talk about her or be affected by her.

I can continue to deal with this and be fine, I'm just concerned about my other friends, who get increasingly stressed and even hostile if our friend brings this girl around too much.

From the sound of it, it's these other friends who need to grow a pair.

I agree with you, GiC, on both counts.
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« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2008, 11:31:46 AM »

Quote
Citations?

I also wondered what texts he was thinking of when he said that, especially as regards the Scriptures. But fwiw, the one text that did come to mind is A Treatise to Prove That No One Can Harm the Man Who Does Not Injure Himself by St. John Chrysostom. I hope Hopeful Faithful chimes in again and lets us know what texts he was thinking of.

I was firstly thinking of Chrysostom, like the link presents. Christian scripture also says something to the effect that if God is for us, who can be against us. There are many other such examples if we look. Everything is conditional though, we must by like Christ, Christian. A proverb in the Septuagint teaches that bad company corrupts good morals. I have little else to say, for now.

Forgive, John
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