I was recently talking to a friend of mine that was lamenting about the struggle she has with a friend of hers.
She spoke to the fact that they have ‘been friends for years’ so she was experiencing an unspoken feeling of obligation that she should maintain the friendship. Despite being constantly brought down by her friend’s negativity, misgivings that her friend was trustworthy, and the nagging feeling that her friend just used her to vent about the stresses of her life—my friend still seemed to struggle with letting this other person go.
At one point or another, you have to evaluate the friendships that are in your life.
Healthy characteristics of friendships include:
- a reciprocation of support through the bad and the good times in life
- a feeling of positivity that is derived after an interaction
- the ability to go out and enjoy life activities together
- a bond that is impenetrable through life transitions
A healthy friendship enhances your life, and should not take away from your joy. Of course there will be moments where you will feel concern and worry for your friend, but this should be tempered by humor and lighter moments where you both share joy!
“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.” ― Alice Walker
So how do you decipher through the friendships that you have and decide which ones need to be let go?
Here is a list of the top 6 signs that your friendship is toxic, and needs to be expired:
1. Despite your best efforts, your friend never seems happy with you.
Some people are intrinsic people pleasers. They may feel a need to always try to make others happy despite never being able to achieve that because the other person will always feel they are not doing a good enough job. My biggest concern for the people pleaser is that who is trying to make you happy? If you begin to notice that despite your best efforts, your “friend” still becomes upset that you didn’t call her back at the right time, didn’t listen long enough to her grievances, didn’t fix her problem, give her the right advice, etc., then it may be time to move on. Who wants a person in their life who you can’t ever make happy despite your best efforts?
2. Your friend is a social glommer.
Social glomming occurs when your friend only seems available during the good times in your life. The social glommer is surely there to celebrate that new job, but there’s no sight of them when you need support with a break-up, loss, insert whatever hardship you may have going on. A social glommer is there to ride the coattails of your happiness but you can’t count on them to be there for you when the going gets tough. Friendship should be based on the understanding that there is support even when you are not at the top of your life game.
In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge.
3. Your friend loves drama.
Maybe you’ve begun to notice a pattern where your friend loves to function around and in dysfunction. While the friend that loves drama can provide some entertainment and or strong opinions, this kind of friendship surely does not promote peaceful living. If you find that your friend is only calling you when he or she is at the center of a dramatic event and seeks to pull you in, it may be time to pull the curtain on this one. When we constantly allow ourselves to become involved in these mini-dramas, it takes away positive energy—draining us of our ability to be healthy and centered.
4. Your friend does not communicate with you when they are upset.
Maybe you had to cancel a dinner with your friend because you were sick with the flu and strangely you haven’t heard from your friend for weeks. You know that the dinner was important to your friend because it was a celebration of their new job and wonder why they aren’t responding to you since you cancelled. You’ve apologized but still, no response. A true friend is able to check in with you if you’ve done something that upset them. There is the ability to have a meaningful conversation about hurts and or disappointments and instead of the difficult conversation breaking up the relationship, you and your friend become stronger. Just as in any relationship, there will be times that you may upset or let one another down. If you aren’t able to discuss these concerns, then it can be a tell-tale sign that it’s a dead-end friendship.
4. Your friend does not encourage you to be the best version of yourself.
The friend that is a bad influence will often manifest themselves in many different ways. Whether it’s the person that encourages you to drink more than you know you should, not go to the meeting on beach cleanup, or tell you that kissing someone other than your partner is not cheating, this person encourages bad behavior and in turn causes you to be a less healthy version of yourself. This person is often disguised under the mask of being nonjudgmental which is surely a quality that we want in a friend. But instead of being open to accepting you as who you are, their nonjudgmentalness takes a turn for the worst—instead of offering up healthy encouragement while still accepting you, he or she may completely validate totally irresponsible and unhealthy behavior. If you recognize this in your friendship, it’s time to find someone that encourages you to grow.
A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
6. Your friend is not trustworthy or consistent.
True friends are able to respect you and hold the sacred details of your life close to their heart without repeating them. Likewise, their actions follow their words. Not only do healthy friendships speak the truth, they follow through with doing what they say that they will. Example: you just confessed to your friend that you are feeling really lonely and would they go with you to your company holiday party? Your friend offers you verbal support and tells you “of course I’ll be your plus one!” but when it comes time for the action to take place, you find out that not only does your friend repeat what you have told them to another mutual friend, they bail on you when it comes time for the get together. If you are allowing someone that is not trustworthy or consistent to be in your life, then it’s time to reevaluate and let go.
“Words are easy, like the wind; Faithful friends are hard to find.”
― William Shakespeare
Tying it all together…
The beauty of our adult friendships is that we have the capability to pick and choose who we allow to be in our lives, our inner circle, our ‘tribe’. Friendships should benefit your life and cause your life to be enriched with support and positivity.
“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sometimes your friendships will wax and wane as you may be in different life stages, yet no matter what, a true friendship will persevere throughout. Make space in your life for healthy friendships, with people that will encourage you to be the best version of yourself, and love you for exactly who you are.
Never settle for less to pacify loneliness; when you accept less than what you deserve, the end result is one that lacks fulfillment and true human connection. While it can be difficult to find faithful friends, hold tight because they are out there! And more than likely looking for a good friend like you.
Focus your energies on being the best friend that you can be and the positive people that you want to attract will come…
Wishing you solid friendships full of health and positivity today and everyday,