7 Signs It is Time to Let Go of a Friendship (& when to stick it out)
– research: most middle school friendships do not last a year
– adult friendships do not always last for life, & some can make us feel we have been “sentenced for life”
– sometimes it is obvious when to end a friendship: steal your partner, your money etc.,
– sometimes less obvious: a friend has addiction issues, is being boring, has a change in values
– friendships can also just fizzle
– there is no checklist – go with your heart & your gut
Seven questions to ask yourself to make “fuzzy situations” clearer:
1) does it feel genuine or like a transaction? That is, are people friends with you because of what you can do for them. For e.g. A) selling you things b) borrow money from you c) keep tabs on favours
– such friendships routinely cross the line between friendship & business. Or is the friendship based on the other person admires you / has stars in their eyes about you – it boosts your sense of worth/self-esteem; or are they a friend that holds you back & gives you an excuse for blaming them about any lack of accomplishment
– check – are you being used or using the person yourself?
2) are you holding each other back from getting healthy?
– research: social ties are linked to health behaviour (unhealthy psychological health habits such as a tendency to put each other down & this can spread in a small group; unhealthy eating & drinking habits)
3) are you being manipulated? That is, having your emotions managed by others?
– sulking to get someone to feel bad
– being especially nice to butter someone up
[note: it can be hard to detect while in the friendship]
– such friendships feel complicated, & you may feel lost for words when asked to describe the friendship by another friend
– you can feel less happy, less secure, less confident as a result of the friendship
– you may be the one always doing the apologising
– you may feel there is always something wrong
– you receive the silent treatment on occasion & you feel confused
Research: manipulation is linked with lower levels of friendship characteristics such as not being able to express personal thoughts & feelings, not providing comfort when needed, not being able to have fun, & not being there for one another when needed [i.e. called “unreliable alliance”]
4) are you friends simply because they are similar to you?
– Similarity often makes us feel we should be friends.
– the true building blocks of friendship are: trust, honesty, respect & being there for each other
5) do you do all the work in e relationship?
– you initiate, make all the plans, & change arrangements
– you excuse inconsiderate behaviour
– you do all the emotional “heavy lifting” (again)
[if you do all the work, you are an employee not a friend]
6) can you count on each other?
– research: friendship is mutual, reciprocal & supportive
– balance shifts – friends share in success & struggles
7) can you be yourself?
– people change depending upon situational context
– if you feel the need to change when with “friends” or feel ashamed after being with such “friends”, it may be time to reconsider
– breaking up is always difficult
– some are context dependent
Source: Savvy Psychologist podcast