Living in a community and forming friendships is an important aspect of our characters’ formation. It’s easy for us to pick up habits and mannerisms from those we surround ourselves with. They say that life is a sum of choices we make everyday, and that our decisions are dictated by the habits we keep. One of the biggest choices that we will make and that will ultimately impact the quality of our lives, is who we choose to do life with. When speaking of success, the renowned American businessman Dan Pena once said “show me your friends and i’ll show you your future”.
Sometimes we remain in friendships that no longer serve us just because of history and familiarity, but how do we know when it’s time to go?
You might want to re-evaluate your friendships when:
– You go against your values to feel included by them
– They don’t respect your boundaries
– They don’t encourage your growth because they feel intimidated by it
– The conversations are always negative/ always revolve around other people’s business
– They belittle you and your accomplishments
– The effort is one-sided
How to End Unhealthy Friendships
Depending on the situation, there are several things that you can do to end a friendship. Some friendships can fade overtime once you stop making yourself available to the other party. Other friendship breakups require confrontation and assertiveness. This will require assessment of the situation and a level of discernment from your part. Why is this friendship ending? Did an incident happen that needs to be addressed? Did you simply outgrow the friendship and can swiftly move on from it? The answers to these questions will determine whether you can reduce effort with the other party overtime or if you should confront them and make it clear that you need some space.
What to Look for In Healthy Friendships:
1- You can be your true self around them
In healthy friendships there is no room for fear of judgment. You can show up authentically and know that they will love you for who you are, which removes feelings of anxiousness and worry. This also means that you won’t have to compromise or do anything out of character in order to gain their love, because you already have it. Being your true self means that the friendship can have depth rather than remain superficial.
Healthy friendships encourage honesty and clear communication with one another. You’re never upset with them for long because you know that you can openly communicate anything and they would be understanding. This prevents bottled-up negative emotions or bitterness, which leads to a more authentic friendship.
3- Mutual effort
Healthy friendships are not one-sided. There is a genuine interest and investment from both sides. The most valuable thing you can give to someone is your time. And if you feel like you constantly make time for someone but it’s not reciprocated then it’s surely not the right friendship for you. You should look for friendships that pour into you and give you equal attention. A healthy friendship consists of two individuals who listen to each other and build each other up rather than leave one of the two parties feeling drained and alone.
4- No competition
A good friend roots for your growth and success instead of being intimidated by it. Being in a healthy friendship means rooting for your friends when they get their dream jobs or get into new relationships.
It’s important that you know that you can trust and depend on the people in your circle to keep your secrets and their promises.. You know that they will show up for you in a time of crisis, and that you can depend on them to defend your name in your absence.
6- Willingness to be better
A healthy friendship includes individuals who are willing to be constructively criticized in order to benefit the friendship. If your friend listens without being defensive and exhibits a willingness to change to the better, then this friendship will most likely be a source of joy and growth for the people in it.
People may be overwhelmed with a desire to increase quantity over quality, but there will come a time where we start seeing who should walk the journey of life with us. It’s important for us to start assessing who encourages our growth and who blocks it.
– Who in my life can I depend on?
– Am I a good friend to those around me? Do I honor others in their absence? – Am I a secret keeper?
– Do I compromise my values to feel included by my friends? Or can I show up as my authentic self?
– Do the company I keep sharpen my character? Are they a good influence? – Does my circle encourage fruitful conversations or gossip?