What is an SIP?
An SIP is a stress-inducing person. When you interact with them, they usually cause you to feel stressed out. These people are sometimes labeled as toxic, but I feel stress inducing is more realistic. All relationships can cause some stress, but the good ones are worth it. SIPs can be very critical or speak badly of you, usually in front of your face. You may feel responsible for this person, like you have to take care of them, and they may make you feel bad, crazy, wrong, or nervous when you’ve spent time with them. The relationships listed below are all SIP relationships that require changes to become healthy relationships again. Each one is unique and you can apply techniques used in each to make almost any relationship stronger.
A 90-10 relationship is when you’re putting in 90% of the effort and your friend is putting in 10%. Successful friendships are equal partnerships, 50-50, or 100-100 depending on whom you talk to. In a 90-10 relationship you are putting in all the work and taking on responsibility of your friend. Your friend probably expects you to call them, and their feelings probably hurt easily if it doesn’t seem like you’re putting them first. Often the 90 friend feels like they have to constantly prove that they’re dedicated to the relationship.
To make this relationship healthy again you first have to own up to your part in it. Think about what you’re getting out of the relationship and how you’re contributing to the dysfunction. Don’t put all the blame on you, or on your friend, but understand that you’re both contributing. Slowly teach your friend how to treat you by giving hints like not returning messages quickly, not answering every phone call, and not fixing every problem. Remember that your behavior has to change in order to shift the relationship dynamic.
Not getting the hint:
Sometimes in a relationship you may have already tried to correct your behavior and your friend just isn’t getting it. Often these friends are the ones closest to us, and can even be our spouse or a family member like your mother or sister. These friends may mean well but their behavior and yours, are creating extra stress in your life. Maybe you told them your schedule is very busy, you don’t always get to respond to texts and emails right away, or don’t have time for long phone calls, but they continue to contact you and cause stress.
To make this relationship healthy again you need to continue being subtle and try to give them the nudge they need. If you’ve make a very solid attempt and they still aren’t getting the hint then it’s time for a sit down talk to facilitate your needs. In this talk you must be direct and clear, but keep the focus on you. Use phrases like “if this relationship is to continue…” or “it makes me feel…” to get your point across without passing blame or judgment. Remember that you play a large role in the friendship as well and it’s important to stand firm on the changes you’d like made. Clearly define how you’d like the relationship to change and how you will respond to behaviors that cause stress.
An extreme SIP is one who just doesn’t get it and nothing you say or do will change that. They think they’re doing right and have an idea of how to bring you down. It may seem like they’re crazy or evil because they love engaging with you in areas that you two argue about. You will never change their minds no matter how much you argue and it’s important to recognize that.
The only thing to do in this situation is ignore them or kill them with kindness. If you ignore them you have to do it fully and completely. Don’t think, talk, respond, write, disagree, or give advice to them. They will never listen or change. If you have stopped engaging with them and happen to run into them, be polite and smile through it. Don’t get into discussions, just agree with them and move on. You’ll be better for it and won’t have to carry the stress of another argument.
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