Friends are typically the people you know the longest and whom you have the most impactful relationships with. They are the ones we confide in, trust, and opening love. They have the ability to sway and influence our decisions, change our mood, and challenge us to become better humans. Friends, and all relationships, are essentially life teachers. Some friendships may have started in kindergarten, others from college. Here is the thing, a lot changes between those informative years!
While I would like to believe the majority of friends want to see us happy and successful, there are those who delight in our misery. Some people, whether they are conscious of it or not, are afraid we will get too big for them and leaving them alone. While other’s are inspired by our growth, and challenges us to push forward. It is incredibly important to take a moment every once in awhile to reevaluate friendships, to see if they are adding to our lives or holding us back.
True Best Friends
I constantly say, I have the greatest friends in the world. But let me tell you, it took a lot of hard work and pruning to get there. There is true value in have a very small, tight knit, inner circle of friends. These are the ones that have your back no matter what, who you can count on to be there, and those who will not judge you. True best friends want the best for you, take no profit in your success but wants to see you happy. They are honest, gentle, loving, and remind you of your true self in times you may have forgotten. They respect your boundaries, and honor what you say. Best friends are there to celebrate with, a shoulder to cry on, and the energy boost you may need. These friendships are golden.
To make these relationships last it is important that the support, love, and attention is a two way street. It is a give and take. It is full of positive, healthy love and support. Honest communication is key, so is taking time to develop the relationship. That means, phone calls or emails to catch up. Time spent together trying new things. Listening keenly to what each are going through and support one another. You truly only need a handful of best friends in life.
These relationships will add value to your life in the form of memories, support to reach the next level, happiness, laughter, love, and assurance. They will help you get through any tough time, and celebrate the milestones.
Real story, I used to have a massive friends circle. I loved everyone and loved that each person brought something different to the table. However, I began feeling depleted and undervalued in certain relationships. Sure they were fun to hang out with, but why was I always the one traveling to them? How come when I wanted to hang out, they suddenly didn’t have time? Why did it feel like they would rather hear about my hardship than the goals I’ve conquered? Where were they when it was time to celebrate me?
I realized later, some relationships weren’t as they seemed. Toxic friendships do occur, and they typically have the same underlying feelings and actions. Which are:
- Constantly leaving you feeling depleted, depressed, down
- It’s typically about them and you’re their cheerleader, therapist, savior
- It is a one way street, where you give and they take
- They smile at your misery, and never clap for your victory
- Gossip is the main point of the conversation
- They pressure you to participate in activities you don’t want to do (over drink, over eat, stay out late, skip important events)
- They feed you extra food or drinks (true story a few friends tried to make me gain weight because they were jealous of how I looked)
- They don’t respect your time or efforts and are late or on the phone when hanging out
- When it’s time to celebrate you, they try to steal the spotlight or never show up
- You pay for everything and are rarely reimbursed
- They don’t respect your boundaries and will push until you to give in, often eliciting a guilt trip to get what they want
- There’s constantly drama in their life which fields more attention for them and nothing for you. Unless you are on the down, in which case they want to hear all about it.
These relationships when they are active in our daily lives, drains us from the energy we need to succeed and be happy. They don’t wish us to do better than them, which in turn stunts our growth over time. Our confidence levels are lowered, and our ability to be happy is affected. No matter how small it may seem now in your life, having these toxic relationships will do long term damage.
Those Who Fade Away
Some friendships don’t end on a bad note, instead both people simply grow in different directions. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s part of life! Hold those friendships in your heart with great love and wish them the best on their journey. You can always reach out to them, but most likely the further you’ve grown apart, the less you have in common. Don’t be surprised if the dynamic of the friendship has shifted.
Sit down with a cup of coffee, or if you like a pen and paper, and go over each friendship you hold. See which category they fit under. The best question to ask yourself is this: “Do they leave me feeling inspired or drained after spending time with them?” Now not every single interaction will make you feel incredible, but on a whole your friendships should leave you feeling uplifted, energized, and loved.
It’s hard letting go of people, but think about your happiness and goals in life. Holding any room for toxic people will dramatically affect your ability to accomplish those dreams. Make sure you are giving yourself the best opportunities in life to be happy and whole. You deserve it.