When friends become foes.
If you’re trying to detox and declutter your life as part of your New Year’s resolutions, making over your apartment and eating clean may be a good start, but cutting the dead weight from your friendship squad will have a far greater impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing in 2017.
When it comes to friendships, quality definitely trumps quantity. There is no point clinging on to people who might seem like good friends, but in reality just cause you stress and negativity.
Sometimes, an honest conversation with your friend about the things that bother you might be all you need to resolve existing issues, but at other times, it’s best to let go of the idea they will change, and instead accept the fact you two are better off without each other.
If any of these four types of friends sound familiar to you, it might be time to move on…
1. The friend who always interrupts you
Before you say interrupting people isn’t a reason to break up a friendship, let me explain. If you’re in the middle of telling your friend about your shitty weekend and they interrupt you saying they totally understand because they had a much worse weekend, the problem isn’t the fact you were interrupted, it’s that your friend doesn’t care for your problems and is far more self-interested in shifting your attempts at discussing them back onto themselves.
When every conversation ends with them having talked way more than you, even if the topic initially revolved around you, it is clear your friend likes to hear themselves talk and sees you as someone they can talk to, not with. They might be fun to hang out with, and even seem like a great friend because they’re up for anything, but if they cannot listen, let go.
Not sure if this applies to you? Put your friend to the test. A side effect of not being able to listen to you is they won’t remember much of what you told them, as they’re preoccupied with their own thoughts, so try asking your friend a few questions about a problem you recently had, and see if they know what you’re talking about or respond as if it’s new information.
“Connecting with others and communicating well begins with considering the other person’s perspective,” explains communication specialist Marion Grobb Finkelstein.
So if someone is constantly interrupting, it damages your connection, and therefore your friendship.
2. The friend who likes to disappear
We all know flaky people who have a hard time committing to plans and are constantly late, and then there are those who seem to go through phases. Sometimes they’re reliable and available almost every day, and sometimes you won’t hear from them for months at a time.
These ghosting periods tend to align with said friends getting into a relationship, soon after which, it’s like they’ve vanished from the face of the earth. Texts are unanswered, calls ignored, and invites declined because her and the BF already have plans (read: their relationship is too codependent for words).
A study led by Oxford University Professor Robin Dunbar revealed that most new relationships come at the expense of two friendships.
“If you don’t see people, your emotional engagement with them drops off and does so quickly,” says Dunbar.
So if your friend can’t make an effort to see you, you might be one of the two friendships who didn’t survive their new relationship.
3. The friend who brings you down
I hate to admit it, but during highschool, my mother was usually right about friends who had a bad influence on me. It took me years to see what she saw, but I eventually broke off a friendship with a girl who constantly got into trouble.
These types of friends might seem extremely appreciative of you, call you their BFF, and spend a lot of time with you, but when their problems become your problems, something’s not right.
It might start with them needing a place to stay for the night, or asking to borrow a little money as they are short on cash. The time spent with them usually involves crying, long talks about their current situation, and lame excuses. No matter how much advice you give them and how often you help them, they always find a way to make things worse.
“When your friendship has fallen into a pattern of negativity, there is little possibility of being able to effect true change in the relationship,” says author and friendship expert, Irene Levine.
If after every conversation with your drama-addicted friend you feel drained and suffocated by her problems, it’s time for that friend to seek professional help and let you get back to focusing on your own life.
4. The friend you have nothing in common with anymore
Sometimes, we hold on to friendships for the sake of good memories and familiarity. But just because you’ve known someone all your life, doesn’t mean you necessarily have to be good friends with them.
People change, and while the girl you sat next to in class for 12 years seemed like your soulmate when you were 18, she might now be living in a small town with her husband and four children while you’re working 12-hour days in three different countries.
You’re both happy for each other, but it is undeniable you don’t have much in common to share with each other anymore. Psychology professor Brett Laursen confirms we need to have things in common in order to remain friends.
“Dissimilarity is bad for friendships,” he says. “It causes conflict, it interferes with cooperative activities and shared pleasures, and it creates circumstances where one friend bears more costs, such as the friend who is less aggressive; or gets more benefits, such as the friend who has lower social status than the other. Dissimilarity disrupts relationship bonds.”
Of course it’s sad when longstanding friends slowly become strangers, but it’s normal to grow apart from people, and accepting that will be much better in the long run than trying to keep a friendship alive that doesn’t really exist anymore.
Images via tumblr.com and giphy.com.
Comment: Do you have a friendship that’s no longer fun?