How to Handle a Fair Weather Friendship

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Fair-weather friends are good for laughs. They love to share in your good times -- especially if the treat’s on you. However, they find the door when things turn rough and they don’t like complications. You might be tempted to label them bad friends. On the other hand, as long as you identify them for who they are, you don’t necessarily have to cut them out of your life altogether.

Identify It

Friendships are important to your overall well being, but a more-the-merrier philosophy may be misguided. It’s not the quantity of your friendships, but rather the quality that counts. However, it’s perfectly okay for a few fair-weather friendships to be in the mix of your relationships -- as long as you identify them for what they are. Author and professor Liane Holliday Willey notes that it's helpful to keep your expectations for your friends realistic. Evaluate what your fair-weather friend does bring to your relationship and decide if it works for you.

Find Its Place

While a middle-of-the-night phone call to your best friend may be perfectly acceptable, that is not how you interact with a fair-weather friend. However, that doesn’t mean this friend can’t have a place in your life. Perhaps she’s a consistent tennis date or a member of your book club. Appreciate her for what she does bring into your life and just be aware of her limitations. Not everyone can be the kind of friend who will be by your side through thick and thin.

Enjoy It

The exact opposite of a fair-weather friendship may be the phenomenon of co-rumination that often occurs on college campuses. Friends who co-ruminate dwell on what’s wrong in their lives and, according to authors Juliette Landphair and Teri Preddy, such “co-rumination can negatively influence emotional health and derail academic success.” So, if you have a friend who only wants to be with you for good times, enjoy it. There’s nothing wrong with having fun -- and why not have some company?

Or Abandon It

On the other hand, spending too much time with people who know you only superficially can be trying. And many of those good times that you’re sharing with your sunny-day friend could easily be shared with people who love you for who you are and will always be there for you. If you want more from a friendship than your friend can give, it may be time to part ways. And simply not calling may do the trick. After all, fair-weather friends don’t like complications.