Do You Have Deal Breakers In Your Relationships?

When deciding whether to have a personal relationship with someone, you probably (implicit or explicitly) weigh the benefits and costs of such an investment of your energy. For people you have strong relationships with, there are probably loads of benefits you reap from that investment which outweigh the costs (even our closest friends have one or two annoying habits!).

Here’s when the cost-benefit pie breaks down for me: deal breakers. Deal breakers are a handful of things that automatically overrule the cost benefit equation. For me, one deal breaker is cocaine. No, I don’t spend a lot of time around coke addicts, but having spent four years in high school, drugs like cocaine pop up. People make choices. If someone wants to do coke from time-to-time, it doesn’t matter if that’s the only "negative" — I don’t want to have a relationship with that person.

It struck me that people who have deal breakers are probably less loyal friends. If you had to make a list of the most important characteristics in a friendship, where would loyalty fall? For me, it’d be on the list, but not at the top. I think you should stand by someone in thick or thin, except when the thin can drag you down too. (In the case of a drug addiction, I would seek professional help for my friend, and then get out of the way.)

Do you have deal breakers?

13 comments on “Do You Have Deal Breakers In Your Relationships?
  • Drugs are a big one with me as well, prescriptions included. Most of the addicts I knew were too chicken shit to go to the ghetto and buy cocaine for themselves, but they would certainly crush up Ritalin or Adderal and snort it.

    Other than that, the only real
    “breaker” per se is dishonesty, though that can come in different forms: stealing money, talking trash behind my back to those who would be all too glad to hear it, etc.

    I’ve had to cut off very few people in my short twenty years, though I’ll admit I choose my friends carefully. Aquaintinces are easy to come by, but true friends sadly are not.

  • Dealbreaker: People who treat my very close friends poorly. I won’t get angry about much, but if I see that someone is behaving abominably towards someone I love, I call them on it with a quickness. (This most often invloves cheating on significant others, or lying about something rather large.) Shunning can ensue.

    Sidenote: In general after traveling, I’ve discovered I’m disturbed by how passive-aggressive Americans can be, myself included, and I’m making a wholesale effort to be more direct. So, when something is clearly amiss, I try and call it out straight away.

  • Ben, I guess you likely would not get close enought to someone with a deal-breaker in the first place.
    I wouldn’t … since the deal-breaker would surface before we get too close.

  • Back when I had friends, I had two tests: 1) play Monopoly 2) go camping. The way someone plays Monopoly tells a lot about his or her character. As for camping, it’s important to me, but I am a low-key and low-maintenance camper. I once took a friend camping who freaked out because we camped alongside the road and he couldn’t take a shower the next day. When he later asked me to marry him (God had told him I’d say yes, so he’d actually purchased a diamond ring–apparently God didn’t mention that I don’t like diamonds), I had a handy “no” because he’d failed the camping trip so miserably. It was a good decision.

    Now that I no longer attempt to have friends, just the act of someone trying to get close to me would be the deal breaker.

  • I’ve been reading your blog(s) for about a month now, and I am continually amazed by how your perception is so sharp.

    This topic of deal breakers is the number-one occupant in my mind today, since I’m facing that situation with my long-time friend/ex-boyfriend, and it’s come to a head.

    In any case, for me a dealbreaker is someone who wants the benefits of your friendship/love but repeatedly isn’t there when you really need them.

    Loyalty plays a part in that, but I don’t think that a person is less loyal because they have morals or ethics that cause them to walk away from a person. I think it shows greater character to walk away, despite how much they care.

  • I think everyone has at least one dealbreaker. I’m right there with you on the drug thing. I also can’t abide anyone who steals or constantly lies.

    I don’t think having dealbreakers in place means that I am less loyal. This is just a way of preserving my sanity.

  • Just curious Ben, how far do you distance yourself from drugs? Have you ever used any?

    Do you consider alchol and cigarettes just as bad as any other substance abuse?

    Bear in mind I totally agree with you on this issue. However, I don’t think I can simply dismiss a person who is addicted to drugs. I’ve always held the assumption that Cocaine, Heroin, and Meth are the big three that ruin lives. I’ve been thinking about it and three quarters of drug users are employed and approximately 45 percent of Americans know someone with a substance abuse problem according to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service.

    George W Bush was arrested for Cocaine consumption in 1972. Let’s face it, drug use is rampant in our country. I would not be surprised if you eventually worked with people that do drugs. I wonder how many of the demographic age 20-40 in businesses actually use drugs, how many have used drugs in the past and how many
    have managed to completely abstain.

  • Dwight — I’ve never smoked a cigerette or done a drug. I have druken alcohol.

    You are right that it’d widespread. You are right that I may very well be working with someone who has a substance abuse problem. You don’t know what you don’t know. Fortunately, it’s not widespread enough to *not* have the luxury of choosing clean people to work with.

  • Yeah I totally agree. But I would not have a relationship with a person like that because our lives would be very different. I also have no interest in being friends with drug addicts. The reason is simple: My first friendship is with myself and I abhor drug using.
    I think it is not disloyalty. I think it is being loyal to yourself. I wasted a few too many years with a loser boyfriend BUT it taught me a lesson, NEVER HAVE LOSER FRIENDS.

  • Ben,

    I can assure you that alcohol is a drug–a rather harmful one.

    Also, your aversion to cocaine does not operate outside the cost-benefit framework. You simply assign an enormous cost to the use of coke by your partner.

  • The personal relationship will be broken when the deal broken. The deal breakers are having handful of things they can overrule the cost benefit equation automatically. thank you.
    Addiction Recovery Colorado

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *