Foul-Weather Friends

Is she there for the bad times, but gone when things are good?
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Best or Worst Times?

Whenever Lily was down on her luck, her coworker Jill was the best friend she could have asked for. When a bad date broke Lily's heart, Jill consoled her with hugs and advice. When Lily had a falling out with their boss, Jill was a model of support. "She was right there, taking my side, commiserating, bad-mouthing my boss, and trying to make me feel better," says Lily, 36, from Boulder, Colorado.

When Lily met a wonderful man and began a terrific relationship, Jill began criticizing her friend. A similar thing happened when Lily resolved her conflict with her boss and her career picked up. "She began making cutting comments about any aspect of my life where she could find fault," says Lily.

Lily had encountered the foul-weather friend.

We've all heard of fair-weather friends, those vapid souls who adore us when we are thin, rich, and healthy, but suddenly disappear the minute that illness, divorce, or job loss threatens to wreck their buzz. Less discussed -- but no less prevalent -- are foul-weather friends. These are the friends who are extremely supportive when you've lost your job or split up with your man, but become cold and distant when you start to get your life back together. "Good friends will offer you support during hard times, but a foul-weather friend is drawn to your pain," says Judith Sills, PhD, a psychologist and author of If the Horse Is Dead, Get Off! Creating Change When You're Stuck in Your Comfort Zone (Viking, 2004).

Continued on page 2:  Foul-Weather Motivation


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