The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word problematic as “posing a problem: difficult to solve or decide.”
I define problematic as someone or something you don’t personally agree with. While to others, the person you see as problematic might be normal or even enjoyable to them. While there are problematic people who defend racism, sexism, etc; this article isn’t about them. This is about the people who go on with their day minding their own business and still don’t catch a break.
A problematic person in my life could be someone who I just find annoying and unenjoyable, while others can’t seem to get enough of them. Being problematic isn’t easy and on purpose, you wake up and instantly think everyone’s out to get you and you constantly have to keep your guard up, exhausting. They are all about blaming it on the world. I’m sure they get tired of themselves too. Always remember, when you don’t want to deal with a problematic person’s issues, attempt it anyways, ignoring them won’t help anything and you’re just making the problem worse.
The first sign of a problematic person is that they always isolate themselves, even when they know they don’t have to. They’ll throw their own pity party, feeling bad for themselves. They do it because no one else will. “I’d rather be alone than with people who make me feel alone,” is a commonly used phrase and it holds true. If all they hear about is how dramatic they are compared to other people, they feel different and somewhat not wanted around. If they can spark up such a rant, how bad can they be?
The second sign is overthinking. Problematic people overthink everything, especially what others do when they’re around them. They only want reassurance that people like them and want them around for more than a week, so when even the slightest hint that you’re growing tired comes about, it’s an issue. Nothing you do goes unnoticed, and even what you don’t do gets noticed. While you aren’t exactly helping the problem by realizing you suddenly don’t want to use your phone as much, as soon as you start to become friends, it’s not the end of the world.
The third sign is always being the victim. Everyone is always attacking and they’re always the victim. When you constantly show that you think less of them compared to your other friends, it’s hard not to feel like a victim. You never text back, never say hi, couldn’t care any less. What a friendship you claim you both still have. You say nothing’s wrong when you really can’t stand them. You ask for space, and then put a poorly thought out reason after it. “I just need to focus on my grades.” Okay, should you tell your other friends too? Oh, it just affects one person? Sounds about right.
The last sign would be constantly being needy. Give them attention. Give them reassurance that you enjoy their presence. Give them a friendship that will mean something. What do they get? Excuses and more excuses. Hearing how you suddenly have so much to do… with other people. It’s the exact opposite.
Dropping someone who’s problematic is the worst possible thing to do. It only reassures their insecurities and proves how they were “right” the entire time. You only help the fire grow. Now when they make another friend they can tell their story of how they were victimized by yet another person. You let the cycle continue, you helped the monster grow. If you just stuck it out and showed them that there is a person who cares, who is willing to give the attention, they wouldn’t have a reason to complain, or a want to do so. You could have ended the cycle and gained a valuable friend, but instead, you helped the cycle move along without a kink, just like the last ten people before you, and the many yet to come.
If you want to dismiss someone who’s problematic, go ahead, but don’t advertise it to everyone as if you should get a reward for doing so. You’re not doing anyone a favor.