Are They 'Friends' Who Insist You Live By Their Standards?

02 January 2016

Anyone who insists I live my life according to their standards doesn’t earn the moniker “friend.”

I was inspired to write this post, based on the above quote from an article on the page The Introverts Corner.

A persons standard of living is usually defined by themselves; what they do, how they act, where they go, and how they treat others. A persons friends, if they really are friends, would accept, and maybe not always agree with, how that person chooses to live. However, what defines a person as a friend?

The people in my life who I consider friends are such, to me, because there is something about them that I like, or, perhaps we have a shared experience together, and common interests that bind me to them. Things like that are what I use to consider someone a friend. We can share good times, and bad times, have some laughs and go out into the great big world and experience new and different, and even familiar, things together.

As a rule, I accept that those friends of mine aren't exactly like me in nearly every way. If they were, they'd be clones of me then wouldn't they? Hardly friends even. The differences among us are what make up the wonderful and dynamic part relationships we have. I don't always think like they do, act like they do, or do some of the things that they do. That doesn't make a difference to me because I am not them. There are even times when I don't agree with something they may do, but I don't get in their way and I don't try to make them conform to what I think. I may say something asking them to consider something else if I think it might be a better way and let them choose their own path. Asking questions, thoughtfully put, is a great way to get to understand someones thought process and reasoning.

But what happens when a person, deemed a friend, goes about trying to make you, rather than ask you to consider, live by a standard they set and not by one of your own? Making, or attempting to make, you live by their rules doesn't sound like a friendship, but more of an authoritative relationship - like a parent to a child.

I don't see relationships like that working out very well. If one person is forcing a standard on another, the other person might become unhappy and bitter towards the first person after a while. Resentment will undoubtedly ensue and an end to the supposed friendship may result.

In a personal relationship with someone, a friend, I neither need, nor want someone trying to make me live by standards they believe is right for me. The only time this is acceptable to me is in an employer/employee situation where I'm being paid to do a job and meet a standard that they expect of me. But living my life is my business and I'll live it how I see fit.

The topics of standards can be endless and some of the things I can think of are about personal finance, political, religious and social issues, interpersonal relationships and so on.

If a 'friend' thinks they're going to try to make me live by their standards, it might not be long before I no longer consider that person a friend and break off communication with them.

I'm no going to judge my friends on their life's choices and I don't expect them to judge me on mine. Otherwise, would we really be friends? I accept my friends for who they are regardless of their standards and views on things.

Do you have anyone in your life who is a friend who tries to impart, even forcefully, their standards onto you?

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