I am a big advocate for mental health. I strongly believe that your mindsets and beliefs steer the course of your life. One big aspect of mental health is tied to the relationships in your life. The old saying goes “you are the sum total of the five people you spend the most time with“.
From experience, I have learned that if you want to make progress in life, you have to constantly examine and evaluate the people you are spending time with. I admit, finding true friends gets harder as you get older because good genuine relationships take time and effort.
Here is one tip I always like to share: the same qualities you would look for in a husband apply to find a good girl-friend. Would you marry a man that you couldn’t trust, talked bad about you, gossiped about you, and never kept his promises? Me either. That relationship would be a nightmare. Then why do so many of us surround ourselves with those type of women and call them “friends”? Being successful in life also includes choosing the right people to share your life with.
Some people are lifelong friends, and others are only meant for one chapter of your life.
I know many women who remain in toxic relationships because they have a history with a person. People grow and evolve over time, and just because you have known someone for a long time does not always mean they belong in your future. The friends you had as a teenager may not be the same friends you have in your late twenties. And that’s perfectly OK. Don’t feel obligated to hold onto relationships just because you have known someone for a long time.
If any relationship is causing you harm and holding you back in any way, it’s better for you to dump the friend and keep your sanity instead of trying to save a friendship that is making you crazy. Life takes us all on different paths and not everyone’s path meets on the same road. If you want to keep in contact with everyone you have ever known, join Facebook. That is what it is for.
Reality TV and social media have skewed our ideas of what real friendship should be.
Many people use the term “friend” loosely and therefore get upset or offended when someone they thought was a friend hurt them. But in actuality, that person wasn’t a friend, but instead an acquaintance. Please understand there is a difference between friends and acquaintances. Acquaintances are people who know of you, but they don’t personally know you. For example, an acquaintance may be a coworker, a neighbor, a friend of a friend, or the friendly girl you see weekly at bible study group. You see this person on a consistent basis, but you don’t have a real relationship with them.
If the feelings in a “friendship” are not mutual for both people, then it isn’t a friendship.
Reality TV and social media have skewed our ideas of what real friendship should be. Gossiping about one another in the morning, having dinner together by the end of the evening, and ending the day with a fist fight is not my idea of a real friendship. Another woman that calls me b**** as a term of endearment would never be a true friend to me. Don’t be fooled, the women you see on TV aren’t really “friends” – they are actors who get paid to act that way for entertainment purposes only. Also, don’t be discouraged by social media numbers and followings, those numbers do not reflect real friendship. In actuality, if you real friendships start to resemble anything you see on reality television or the internet, I am telling you now that it is time to find new friends.
Here are the qualities of a good friend that you should always try to embrace and look for:
- Respect you
- Encourage You
- Listen to You
- Help Build You Up and Don’t Tear You Down
If you are surrounded by people that do not have these character traits, it may be time to re-evaluate who you are spending your time with. True love and loyal friends are the hardest things to find in life. When you do find a real friend, love her and take care of her. Be a good friend to her and nurture that relationship.
How to Know When To Dump Your Friend
Evaluate your troubled friendships. If any of your current friends resemble any of the following, you may want to reconsider this person’s role in your life.
1. She complains all of the time.
This friend always has a problem for you to solve. She is never in a good mood because her life is so “terrible”. She feels that nothing goes right for her, and every time you talk to her she has a sob story and wants you to cosign on her despair. When you try to encourage her, she doesn’t want to hear it. Whenever you try to share your good news, she is never happy for you. Always remember, misery loves company – and if you entertain misery, you eventually will be miserable. If you are surrounded by nagging and complaining all day, guess what you will eventually start to do? Don’t let her negative view of life start to influence you. It’s time to get rid of this friend.
2. She doesn’t keep her promises.
You should always guard your heart against anyone who isn’t trustworthy. This friend makes promises but backs out at the last minute. This friend volunteers to give you a ride and never shows up. This friend borrows from you and never gives back. Lack of trust can cause many problems in any relationship, including friendships. If your friend constantly lets you down, should you really call her a friend? One of the qualities of a true friend is trust. If you can’t depend on someone to keep their word or to be honest with you, then why have the relationship at all? It’s time to get rid of this friend.
3. She lacks ambition in life.
Lack of ambition to progress in life should be a red flag in any relationship (romantic or platonic). If someone you know is content with less than the best, you will not be able to grow with them, and you will eventually outgrow the relationship. Or worse – the influence of the friendship will start to hold you back in life.
Think of it like this: Imagine you are in kindergarten, and your best friend is right there with you on the first day of school. By the end of the school year when it is time to graduate to 1st grade, you graduate and she stays in kindergarten. Then, year after year, you are elevated to each higher grade and she remains in the same place, never desiring to move forward because she is content with being in kindergarten. Would you continue to hang out with her as you transitioned to 1st, then 2nd, then 3rd, then 4th, then 5th grade and onto middle school…and she was still in kindergarten? I didn’t think so. It’s time to get rid of this friend.
4. She is jealous of you.
A jealous friend is the type of girl you have to watch your back around. Never let your guard down around her, and be careful what you share with her. She smiles in your face, and gossips behind your back. Because the two of you are actually friends, she knows your secrets and your flaws. She tells other people things about you that you shared with her in secret. She uses what she knows about you to make you feel bad about yourself. She calls you names and laughs at you, then tries to cover it up by saying “I’m just joking”. This friend is probably not your real friend and cannot be trusted. This girl will always be in competition with you, and will never be a true friend. It’s time to get rid of this friend.
5. She is too clingy.
If you have a friend who needs your constant love and attention, beware: you may be in a codependent relationship. A good friendship has healthy boundaries. A clingy friendship is more of a burden than it is a blessing. She wants to talk on the phone for hours everyday after work. She needs to meet up for lunch every day. She desires your constant attention – and when you can’t meet her expectations, she gets mad at you and calls you a “bad friend”. Honestly, it is already hard enough to keep up with the constant responsibilities of work, home, family, and marriage. Add a needy adult friend on top of that, and you may just go crazy. If your clingy friend is fighting for your attention over your husband, your children, or your career, you may have a serious problem with her years from now. Nip it in the bud now. It’s time to get rid of this friend.
When it comes to relationships (romantic and platonic), always remember: what you allow is what will continue. Don’t allow bad friendships to take your life down a path that you don’t want it to. If there is someone in your life who is holding you back, causing you to stress, or constantly wasting your time, it’s OK to let them go.