As you may have read in Best Friends Forever? (Part I), I have been experiencing some dynamic changes in some of my friendships – some for the better and some for the worst. Some of them have been happening gradually. People change, grow and often they grow apart. That is ok and completely normal. What is not nomal is when you encounter a situation in a friendship where you are wondering:
“Is this worth it?” “Is the hurt I’m feeling worth the friendship?”
Those are serious questions and lets face it, friends have a huge impact on our lives.
Whether you realise it or not, the friendships you have shape who you are. There’s a saying that says you become who your friends are or who you hang out with (I am not sure but I think you understand what I mean). That is why it is important to evaluate your friendships and determine who you want to spend your time with.
Life is short and you should surround yourself with people who bring you up, who make you happy, who strive to make you the best you can be. Unfortunately, you might find (as I have once or twice) that a friend is not doing those things for you. He or She is hurting you, bringing you down, causing you pain. But you might also share good times with that person. Ups and downs are normal, but when the downs are lower than the ups, it is time to take a step back.
I am not telling you to end all of your friendships – I am only saying to think about the relationships that continuosly cause you harm.
But how do you really know? – Just ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your friend act in a way that hurts you?
- Does your friend put you in uncomfortable situations?
- Does your friend leave you feeling emotionally drained?
- Does your friend bring out the worst qualities in you?
- Does your friend make you feel de-valued as a person?
- Does your friend create negative emotions (anger, hate, envy)?
- Does your friend encourage you to take part in harmful activities?
- Does your friend treat you with disrespect and unkindness?
- Does your friend put zero effort into the friendship?
- Does your friend seem to be in constant competition with you?
- Does your friend make you feel smothered and confined in any way?
If you have answered yes to a few of these questions, you are probably in a toxic relationship and it is probably in your best interests forgive them for their bad behavior, take a step back and make yourself happy by surrounding yourself with positive people.
If you are not ready to let go of an old friend who is bad or toxic for you, work hard to be there for them. Be patient and kind. Try to understand where they are coming from.
If it becomes draining and their behaviors continue, it might be time to step back and move on. You would not want to make any of your friends unhappy, so why let yourself be harmed? Sometimes it is better to understand that letting go is the only way.
When I think of some of my friendships, I only hope that they are happy. Letting go of them did not mean that I do not care. It just means I want to be happy myself. That’s why it is so important to forgive, love, and move on when you have to:
We all deserve to be happy.
We all have the power to make it happen.