Do You Have Any Deal Breakers?

When I started my friend search I had a very clear, and very limited, idea of who would be my new BFF. She would love television. She would not have kids. She would be at least 25. She would live probably in Lakeview, Old Town, maybe Lincoln or Logan Square—areas I considered fun but not fancy.

Don’t ask me why I assumed these things. I don’t even live in any of those neighborhoods.

I figured I’d be able to look at someone’s Facebook profile and tell pretty quickly if we were a match. Who needed to actually meet when I could “get to know her” online and forecast our friendship from there?

As you might imagine, I learned quickly that I was shooting myself in the foot.

The whole judgmental thing was pretty limiting, first of all. I was casting asides entire neighborhoods of potential friends and a pretty large parenting population.

At 27, most of my friends were over their hard-partying ways, so I didn’t think I’d have much in common with post-grads. I thought certain zip codes attracted my kinda girl. And I thought I’d have nothing to say to someone who couldn’t appreciate a good episode of Friends (still sort of a concern).

In the end, of course, plenty of my greatest friends lived in those fancy ‘hoods. One of my dear pals from The Year had kids. I was proven very very wrong, very very quickly.

But I’ve heard from people who do indeed have friend dealbreaks. You might remember this nugget of goodness from Liz Lemon: “You have sexually transmitted crazy mouth. Deal breaker!”

Though that’s a pretty fair one.

Recently a guy was telling me about a new potential friend for his wife.

“I don’t have high hopes for the relationship,” the husband told me. “According to Facebook, her favorite singer is Josh Groban.” My friend and his wife? Not only can they not stand Mr. Groban, they don’t understand what kind of person would be a fan. Deal breaker!

I hear things like this all the time. Friendship deal breakers can be politics, bad books or movies in their “favorites,” religious status updates.

There’s research that you know what kind of relationship you want with someone within 10 minutes of meeting her. But you need to actually meet. Stalking her Pinterest page doesn’t count.

So I ask you—honestly—do you have any friendship deal breakers? Anything you might learn about a lady that would say “nope, we’ll never be friends”? Is yours Groban-related too?

I Skyped into my first book club appearance last night! So much fun. If your book club is interested in reading MWF Seeking BFF, check out the discussion questions. I’d be happy to visit your club (in person or via Skype), too!


Filed under The Search

27 responses to “Do You Have Any Deal Breakers?

  1. Ana

    Eh. One of my longtime BFFs has TERRIBLE taste in music. Its a running joke, definitely NOT a deal breaker; I consider taste in movies/music/etc… to be superficial. Where someone lives? Definitely not an issue. Major religious/political pushiness or intolerance (not just differences—as long as we can respectfully disagree…but more along the lines of someone trying to convert me), or anything smacking of discrimination would be a deal breaker for me.

  2. Not the fact that they have kids but talking about them ALL the time is a deal breaker for me. I mean, once in awhile ok, but this girl had no other topics of conversation. I still cringe when I know she’ll be at a happy hour.

  3. Megan

    People who talk about themselves all the time are pretty difficult for me to handle. Alternatively, so is NEVER disclosing any personal information. And, this isn’t so much a deal breaker as a MAJOR pet peeve – saying, “Let’s hang out!” and then not following up. Say what you mean and mean what you say, people!

  4. Super religious people. I don’t care what someone’s religion is but if they’re a goody-goody and always spouting Bible verses they aren’t friend material for me.

    I also can’t be friends with Debbie Downers. We all have bad days and we all have things that irritate the hell out of us but when it’s all day every day there’s a problem. There’s one girl who always has to bring down a conversation with whatever bad experience she’s had related to the topic. If someone praises police, firemen and paramedics she has to chime in with a horrible experience she had with a fireman who responded to her 911 call. I hate that we have mutual friends and I sometimes have to be at the same party with her and read her depressing comments on Facebook.

    I want friends who make me feel better for having been with them and who inspire me.

  5. darby

    A lot of that seems so shallow. Thinking you won’t be friends with someone because they like Josh Groban? I think THAT’S the type of person I want to stay away from.

  6. If they’re a bigot…deal breaker! If they think Keanu Reeves is a great actor…deal breaker! (Although my husband believes that last one….let’s just say he’s using up my tolerance for bad taste.)

  7. Hmmm, my deal breakers are more serious like betrayed trust, no reciprocity, blabbing….

    Still, I always say if someone doesn’t get Friends or Seinfeld, there’s something not quite right there 🙂

  8. Marie

    One of my deal breakers would be anyone that is untrustworthy/sleazy for obvious reasons. I’d veto anyone that smokes because I can’t stand the smell and would not enjoy time spent with them. I have been group friends with smokers and find that I don’t spend much one on one time with them for the smell factor. I also steer clear of anyone that is incapable of carrying on a conversation. I’ve met plenty of nice people that seem like good friend material but then it’s like you’re talking to a shy 3 year old and you get yes/no answers and no returned questions. I’ve even gone out with them multiple times thinking they’d come out of their shell eventually.

  9. I live in Chicago too and I find one of the most difficult things about making friends here is that as soon as you meet someone cool it turns out they live in some godforsaken neighborhood it would take an hour to get to on public transportation. For those of us in big cities, without cars, I think lack of proximity can definitely be a dealbreaker. Living in Rogers Park, for example, I just know I’m not going to be able to maintain a friendship with someone in Logan Square, no matter how much I like that person.

  10. First: Friends? My absolute favorite show. Of all time. Easily.

    I used to think that I would have a very difficult time being friends with someone who smoked. But now? One of my BFF’s smokes (I found out she smoked AFTER I was already in full pursuit of her friendship). But – she’s completely respectful of my non-smoking ways and my utter distaste for the habit. So, maybe a deal breaker would be someone who was a douche about their smoking and couldn’t be respectful of my need to breathe non-smoke-filled air?

    • Michelle

      Wow – I see not dating someone because of smoking – but friends? I’m so glad my good friends didn’t have that as a deal breaker! I’m not a chain smoker and I don’t smoke in front of my friends, though. Even if they’re at my house, I’ll go outside to smoke. Some didn’t even know I smoked for a long time. Not that I was hiding it – I just don’t usually smoke around non-smokers.

      • Anonymous

        That’s a really good point. I definitely would not write someone off because the smoked. But if she wasn’t a respectful smoker, that could be a problem. It sounds like you’re very considerate of your non-smoking friends. 🙂

  11. Tibby

    I cannot tolerate dishonesty. Especially when someone is so used to lying that it permeates their entire personality; you catch them lying for no reason, or lying to make them appear better than they are. Just can’t go there. If you are going to be my friend you need to be honest with me.

  12. Allyson

    Yes! Women who are literally attached to their husband/boyfriend! I cannot stand a girlfriend who invites her man out to every girls night or who constantly bails on plans because of her man. I don’t want to be friends with someone who doesn’t value my time or her girlfriend relationships. Plus, it’s super annoying!

  13. Lauren

    I use the “if you’re nice to me but rude to the waiter, or others, then you’re not a nice person” rule. It says a lot about someone’s character when they have the same values regardless of the status of the person they’re interacting with.

    • Janelle

      Good one! I’ve thought the same thing with friends. I’m one of those people who think everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time.

  14. Janelle

    A “friend” who cheats on her husband with a married man and then doesn’t know who the daddy is – deal breaker. And honestly, that’s the only deal breaker I’ve ever had to deal with. Funny thing is, years later, I saw her on Toddlers and Tiaras with her daughter!

    I have a large variety of friends, from smokers to drinkers to over-achievers to under-achievers to show-their-goods-to-any-guy-who-looks to sloppy to OCD to agnostics to Catholics…everything, so long as we treat each other with respect, I’m in!

    • Hailey

      It doesn’t really sound like you respect these “friends” of yours, if you call them out on being “sloppy” and “under-achieving” and turn your back on them for things that don’t effect you and frankly aren’t your business. A holier-than-thou, judgmental “friend” is the biggest deal-breaker of all.

  15. There are many qualities that I seek in a friend, but the only real deal breaker for me would be someone with totally opposite political views.
    I could never be BFFs with someone closed minded about gay rights, women’s rights or anything lacking in equality.

  16. I’m pretty tolerant when it comes to friends (sometimes too tolerant according to my husband) but super religious people who preach about it are off my list – I have no problem with you being religious, just don’t try to preach to me!

    Another dealbreak is the Alpha Female – That Girl who needs to dominate every group and friendship and make it all about her. I’m over lopsided friendships.

    And I’m with Lauren – if they’re rude to service people, they’re not the friend I need in my life.

  17. Anonymous

    I’m with Lauren, that’s a big one for me. Also, cheapskates, and/or moochers. I have a hard time with people who want to calculate a shared dinner bill down to the cent or people who don’t abide by the “you get this one, I’ll get the next one” rule.

    Also, if she likes Sarah Palin or sleeps with married men, we’re done.

  18. Anonymous

    They don’t want to get to know you… and keep asking you to babysit! And for free.

  19. Anonymous

    i was in a situation last summer where I really had to decide what was a deal breaker…I made anew friend, just LOVED hanging out with we go to dinner one nite, great conversation & just laughed all nite..well I had 3 drinks, she had 5 ( grande sized margaritas)..and she drove us home…the next day, I felt really bad about it, I know better…so try to talk with her. AWKWARD!!!! she says she was fine to drink..we have since had very honest conversation regarding drinking and driving…she claims” she knows just really focus”…..IThat was a deal breaker…and I hated to make thae desion, I like her so much…so I have known her almost a year and now
    know she drives drunk a lot…so our relationship has stayed on a surface level. I never realized why drinking and driving is such a HUGE problem in America, because the level of what is acceptable to drive is very personal…

  20. Someone being a Conservative would probably be a deal-breaker for me. I know a few Conservatives that are acquaintances or family members and I get along with them, but it would never work in a BFF. If someone was against same-sex marriage or something, there’s just no way. Also if someone was religiously intolerant. I’m a Pagan, so I’m not interested in anyone who will try to save me, or act like I’m a superstitious weirdo. 😛

    lol to the Anonymous who said “if she likes Sarah Palin”. Seconded!

  21. Anonymous

    I can’t tolerate 1) a hypocrite and 2) someone that does not have my back because they are spineless. Explanation:
    My fellow nerd friend and I commiserate year long on our strolls through the hood about the shallowness of Queen Bee and her court of wannabees. But every June when the big outdoor parties start up, she turns tail and attends these parties that I and my family are excluded from Every year. She’s been in the hood 6 years longer than me and claims she feels a bond because her kids played and were on sports teams with the Nazis kids. I am supposed to understand because my kids are much older, after all, and I don’t have this eternal bond. I’ve lived here 15 years! But when she needs someone to pick her up from the emergency room and listen to the endless backstabbing of her husband, I am her number 1 gal! And of course, she also is insufferably pious. Therefore, number 3 deal breaker would have to be religious hypocracy. This Monday after the parties, she turns up at my front stoop wanting her bread buttered on both sides, as usual: I finally found the courage to tell her to take a permanent hike.

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