Unhealthy Friendships & When to Let Go
People often say, “you’re only as good as the company you keep.” In college, the friendships we make can last a lifetime. With growth comes change; people grow apart and friendships can either flourish or flounder. At some point, you realize that there are friendships that are okay to let go of.
The Part-Time Friend
This friend rarely, if ever, makes an effort. When you reach out to them, whether it’s for a shoulder to cry on or simply to hang out and catch up, they’re nowhere to be found. When you do hear from them, it’s typically based on their own needs or convenience. If you feel taken for granted on a regular basis, make a last effort to communicate these feelings. If you’re still not being heard, and there’s no reciprocation, it may be time to throw in the towel.
The Negative Nancy
No matter what positive change, opportunity, idea or sentence comes out of your mouth, this friend immediately points out the negative; what could possibly go wrong, why it’s a stupid idea, or even why it’s not as great as you think it is. Honest and constructive criticism is a great thing to have in a friend, but this friend lacks the most essential part of that: constructiveness. Whether it’s due to jealousy or from some other negative place, this friend seems like they couldn’t care less about the good things in your life. Sharing and celebrating with friends is the best part of getting good news – anyone who belittles your accomplishments or ambitions may not be as much of a friend as you think. Usually people who tear others down are trying to mask their own insecurities – most will stop if you’re up front about not tolerating these comments. Support is key in every friendship.
The Peter Pan
Serious relationships scare this friend – whether it’s friendships, romantic relationships or career commitments; which are usually the things most of us aim to take a little more seriously as we get older. For this friend, friendships are abundant, but low in substance, and they prefer it that way. They care about maintaining the bare minimum in all aspects of life, and will even go as far as to mock you for “taking yourself too seriously”. Now, to be clear: we’re young!! We’re allowed to party too much, fail in our personal and professional lives every now and then and enjoy the crazy roller coaster ride. Mistakes are the norm, but this friend refuses to learn anything from their mishaps. Be wary of friends who discourage personal growth – growing up is scary, but desperately clinging onto one stage of your life for fear of what’s to come is worse. When you feel like you’re outgrowing someone, try not to feel guilty about any distance that naturally happens.
College and post grad in particular, is when you really get to challenge yourself and grow – without rules and guidelines telling you how to do so. Good friendships stand the test of time, are supportive yet challenging, and don’t feel forced. Value yourself enough to maintain positive friendships with people who make you genuinely feel appreciated and happy.
Do you have any advice on failing friendships?
Share your tips in the comments below!
Image courtesy of Joycee Yip via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).