This may sound random, but I’ve created my own little friendship formula. It’s like a self-made guide to deciphering the good friends, from the flakes.
You see it’s hard in your 20’s. You learn loads, you change loads and then you come to realise that despite your flaws, you can only ever be happy if you’re just you. No airs, no graces, just plain old you.
And when you realise this. You also realise that you don’t have to impress anyone, other than yourself. You don’t have to bow to anyone’s expectations, as long as you’re setting your own. Basically, up until the age of around 25 you try to bend and flex and squeeze yourself into a box, you’re never going to fit in. It’s unhealthy, makes you feel crap and is pretty bad for your confidence.
And with this realisation, comes the biggest lesson of all; you really don’t need shit people in your life. In fact, the older you get, the less drama you want. I’m not saying you want boring friends – hell no, if that was the case, I’d be friendless – mine are all total reprobates (in the best possible way). No, what I’m trying to say is you don’t want friends that make you feel bad.
I’ve found this a real struggle. I still do. Because as part of moving through your 20’s you develop empathy. Which means that every time someone does something shitty, rather than immediately presuming they’re crap, you think ‘shit, what happened to make you behave like that?’. But, with this empathy, also comes the opportunity to be taken advantage of.
So you have to put the reasons for your friend’s behavior to one side from time to time and think about their intentions..
Do they have good intentions…
- Do they have your back?
- Are they loyal? Do they raise a problem with you first and foremost?
- Do they go out of their way to make an effort?
- Do they let the small stuff slide?
If you said yes – then they have good intentions, and maybe right now they’re kicking out at the people they love the most because they’re upset and need support. Be a friend, stand by them, help them.
Do they have bad intentions…
- Did they default to playground tactics? Did they bitch behind your back?
- Are they getting funny with you over something trivial?
- Are they avoiding making an effort?
- Are you nervous about trusting them?
If you said yes – then it’s probably time to call it a day. Try not to take it personally. When someone reverts to playground tactics or makes an effort to make you feel like a bad person, the problem usually lies with them.
And, whilst you can think about what’s caused those issues, they’re not allowing you to be a friend, so don’t waste your energy if you’ve tried your hardest. It will only make you feel worse.
Be gracious, leave the friendship behind and move on. Talk to impartial friends you trust about how it’s made you feel for reassurance and keep moving forward.
I think losing a friend is worse than a breakup, because friendships in your 20’s teach what it is to love selflessly. The love you have for your friends is based on raising each other up, helping each other learn and becoming braver, better, stronger people.
But that’s why it’s also important to know when to end an unhealthy friendship. If you’re not raising each other up, or making each other feel great. It’s not a friendship. So be strong and say no to the people that don’t make you feel good about you.
Oh, and it means you have more time to spend with your precious people! ❤