When your friend becomes your fiend.
I’ve always loved the quote “friends are the family you choose.”
It’s so true, friends can feel just as important – or in some cases, even more important, than family. I often talk to my gal pals about things I don’t want to tell my parents, because there are some things only best friends understand.
True friendships are crucial to a happy life, but sometimes, friendships change. I’m lucky to still be very close to some of my childhood friends, but there are also those who were once my BFFs, but then things changed and it was time to let go.
Nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes, and in most cases you fight and make up, but I’ve learned there are certain things in friendships that are unacceptable. As sad as it may be to break off a friendship, there’s no point clinging onto it if it’s one-sided.
Friendship psychologist Irene S. Levine says “a toxic friendship is often one in which a woman’s own personal growth and individuation is sacrificed at the expense of the demands of the other person,” and I couldn’t agree more. Friendships shouldn’t be hard, they should be your safe haven, your comfort zone. When friendships constantly feel like work, your friend might have turned into a fiend. Here are three telltale signs it’s time to end a friendship…
1. They begrudge your success
When I was a teenager, I had a best friend who was never happy for me. It didn’t matter whether it was something as simple as a good exam result or bigger things like having a boyfriend. Whenever I had something to be happy about, she would play it down and find all the negative aspects about it, or even worse, she’d simply ignore it and instead turn everybody’s attention to something she’d achieved.
For years, I tolerated it, right up to the point where I wouldn’t even tell her about exciting things in my life anymore, scared she would ruin them for me. But when she picked a fight with me because I couldn’t hang out with her as often after scoring a really important internship, I finally saw the friendship for what it was: toxic, and dragging me down. A real friend would have been happy for me, and a real friend will always be happy for your successes in life, too.
2. They’re only there when they need you.
Friendships are about giving and taking. If you listen to your bestie complain about her boyfriend in the middle of the night, boost her confidence when she feels she’s failing at everything, and hold her hand when she needs you, it’s reasonable for you to expect the same support in return. But when all the two of you ever talk about is her problems and yours are downplayed, it’s usually a pretty clear sign she’s just using you as a therapist/cheerleader/shoulder to cry on.
So if you have a friend who never asks you what’s going on in your life, or even inquires “how are you?”, take it as a sign she’s clearly putting her wellbeing above yours, in which case, you deserve better.
3. They’re full of excuses
We all know people who say one thing, but do another. If you constantly have to remind your friend of something she promised to do with you, or are always following up on plans only to hear an excuse of why she can’t catch up after all, it’s a clear sign she doesn’t value your friendship.
We’ve all bailed on plans before, but if it becomes a pattern, it’s not good enough. Case in point: a former friend of mine was perpetually late or ditching our catch-ups last minute, then finding the wildest excuses to convince me it wasn’t her fault, instead of just saying sorry.
So-called ‘friends’ like this usually never take responsibility for their own actions, making it impossible for you to work on your relationship and have an actual honest conversation. Not to mention, unreliable people are a pain in the ass to deal with. It again comes down to the fact that friendship takes effort on the part of both parties in order to work, but it definitely shouldn’t always feel like work. If it does, it’s probably time to bite the bullet and ditch the people who are holding you back in life.
Images via giphy.com and tumblr.com.
Comment: Do you have any friends who are guilty of these friendship deal-breakers?