If that friend doesn't have your back... say good-bye!
Friends share our happiness, pain, success, and hard times, making those experiences much richer. But over time it is easy to get casual over who we travel through life. Life is about growing through our experiences and becoming a better person. The people around us need to support that growth or the friendship fails.
There is a beautiful synchronicity to how people come into our lives. Just when we think we would like someone who enjoys something as much as we do — we meet them! Or we discover the person at the coffee stand has more in common with us than we realized.
The way to fully appreciate the friendship is to enjoy the person for who they are without reservation. People will surprise us with their depth if we allow them. When they are no longer able to support each other, it’s time to say good-bye.
When the friendship shows these following patterns, it’s time to move on
- You’re not really heard
Do you care about different things? When you share your dreams, does your friend understand? You don’t have to share the same goals but supporting them is important.
- The interactions are negative
One of the benefits of having friends in our life is to buffer the negativity and create a positive outlook. A friend who chooses to create a negative playing field defeats that benefit.
- Your friend is toxic and doesn’t want help
We all go through hard times and find different ways to cope. But if your friend is on a long term “coping” phase of abuse and doesn’t want help, it’s time to get out. An alcoholic, addict, etc. can’t be reasoned with or helped until they are ready.
- You’re being used
Do you notice a pattern of only getting a phone call when there is a need from the other person? Unless there’s a two-way sharing, it’s not a friendship.
- Too much competition!
Who needs this one? Healthy competition is a mutual encouragement of goals. There is a huge difference between cheering a friend on while they train for the same marathon or trash talking them behind their back because they’ve cut out sugar and lost 15 pounds. Jealousy has no place in a friendship.
It’s easy to see when a truly toxic friendship goes bad but it’s harder to see the more subtle reasons to leave a failing friendship. It’s also time to leave a friend behind when you have nothing in common any more or the friendship has turned into an obligation.
But, wait – before you cut your friends loose
People in our life act as mirrors. They reflect what we most need to see. Is there something a friend is showing you that you want to change before you end the friendship?
Before you cut off a friend, take personal responsibility for your actions. For example, is the pal who disregards your success a mirror to show you that you are disregarding your own success? Would speaking up when you score a win make a difference?
Evaluate what changes you want to make within your actions and within your circle of relationships. Then, after taking personal responsibility, release the people that no longer have a positive role in your life. Perhaps say a silent thank you to them for the role they played while they were with you.
Let them go and move on. Become the person you know you can be with like minded friends who share your values. Have more fun and feel better afterwards!
Now consider -- what kind of friend would you like to be?
Jan L. Bowen is a passionately authentic thought leader who helps clients align their lives so they find more joy and greater connection through articulating and living their purpose. To get Jan’s latest book, "Why Do You Get Up In the Morning? How to Demystify Your Life Purpose," download it now. You will also receive her newsletter, with articles only available by subscription.
This article was originally published at Jan L. Bowen. Reprinted with permission from the author.