This is fresh on my mind right now, because I just watched a Youtuber I adore go on an uncharacteristic rant about the comments that really hurt her the most. Whether you know Bunny Meyer (a.k.a. grav3yardgirl) or not, I’m sure you can still appreciate a vlogger who tries to create a happy distraction and a safe, welcoming community for her audience. Bunny started making videos in 2010 as an outlet to help her cope with anxiety and depression. As she drew in an audience, she found that the support and sense of community they brought to her channel was vital to her mental health recovery.
She’s not the same person she used to be, and that’s upsetting to some of the earlier subscribers. On the verge of frustrated, angry tears, she vlogged about the comment that makes her feel the worst: “You’ve changed.” It’s accusatory, like she’s bound to some character that she’s forgotten how to play.
“I have changed. Watching the beginning of my videos, it was fresh off of so many bad things. I had been in and out of the hospital for six months straight after being in a horrible car accident when I first started my channel. My grandpa…I still miss him every single day. It’s almost been six years. That is the person you were watching when you were first watching this channel.
“That’s one of the hardest things for me to hear: Bring the old Bunny back! I liked you so much better back then!
“That’s people over and over again telling me, ‘Hey, we liked you a lot better when you were really really struggling with anxiety and depression, and when you were really sad…I don’t like your personality when you’re happy and energetic.’
“What do I do about that?!”
We all need a friend we know we can count on when life is giving us hell, but if that friend seems to only be around when you’re not at your best, you could have a toxic relationship. Why don’t they come around when you’re happy, productive and successful? Maybe they’ll guilt you by reminding you that they were there for you when you hit bottom, but they were actually just happy to have a drinking buddy.
Your true friends will share your happiness. If you feel like you’re in a better place in life, and someone complains that you’ve changed, you should be glad and reevaluate this person’s motives (barring the possibility that you got rich and started treating people like crap, in which case maybe you should examine your own motives, geez!).
People like this who come into your life under the guise of a caring friend, but leave you when all is well, are known as “foul weather friends,” the twin of fair weather friends, and lead to equally unhealthy friendship dynamics. Rather than jumping ship when things aren’t going great, they seem to be drawn to your misfortune. Not all foul weather friends share the same motive. Some take it as their duty to save you from yourself, others are glad to have the company.
Do you have a friend who is always trying to help, giving time and resources to anyone and everyone in need, but they also complain when they don’t feel they have received the proper gratitude? You’re dealing with The Rescuer. The Rescuer is compelled to help, because it gives them feelings of love, appreciation, validation and even power. They love to feel like they are being helpful as it gives them a sense of purpose and well-being. If your friend-in-need disappears when you’ve found stability, it may be because they feel less valued when not in a caregiver role. To help this situation, remember to initiate contact when life is good, just to let them know that they mean more to you than a safety net. They won’t come to you first. This type isn’t likely to accuse you of “changing,” as it will give them satisfaction to see you succeed.
Is your friend encouraging you to join them in self-destructive behavior? You are experiencing The Downtrodden. Misery loves company, and this friend can seem like great fun when everything else in your life is out of control. Some people hit rock bottom and look for ways to enjoy it rather than ways to get out. They don’t know how to help you other than showing you a good time, but when you realize you need to get back on track, they guilt you into making bad choices. When you’re doing better, they’ll disappear, because the new you doesn’t have time for their brand of distraction. If you can get them to listen to positive criticism, try to offer them the sort of guidance that got you out of your rut, and let them know you’ll still listen to their concerns (just not all the time; you have to care for yourself first). The Downtrodden may very well accuse you of being a different person, but if you’re happy and successful, that declaration should be a relief.
If your friend comes around when you’re down on your luck and it feels like you do all the talking, you may be dealing with The Insecure. They’re the type to experience jealousy, envy, and self-doubt easily. It’s comforting to them to see that anyone can fail, and they don’t mind hearing about your situation, because it makes them feel like they’re not doing as bad as they thought. The worst part is that they are often unaware they do this, and any attempt to turn attention to them will result in your friend getting defensive and putting up a wall. The Insecure is a difficult friend, but you don’t have to rescue them. You can talk to them without talking about your problems, and if they disappear, that’s not your fault. This person might tell you that you’ve changed, thinking it’s coming from a genuine, caring place, without realizing the reason you don’t click anymore is because they no longer identify with your situation and emotional state.
It’s not selfish to want to eliminate unhealthy relationships from your life, but you may feel like you’re taking advantage of them if you should drift apart over better days. Don’t forget about them, but don’t let them hold you to a standard that doesn’t support your health, happiness, and personal well-being.