I’ve met numerous people over the years, made and lost friendships, grew together and grown apart, and it’s all been wonderful.
I’m not a person who has the same friends she went to school with; I moved a lot around as a child and so never had a chance to form a friendship that lasted longer than a couple of years. Fast forward to adulthood and I’ve noticed a trend in my friendships that can no longer be ignored. I thought it might be a good topic to write about because it might be something you, Dear Reader, can relate to.
I’ve made no secret of my personal growth, my pursuit of self-love has left me deserting stale friendships and replacing them with fresh and fabulous friendships. I have no regrets, each connection has blessed my life with meaning or lessons in some way and moving forward I know this is how it will continue.
I wonder if it is worth mentioning here that I’ve never been great at forming attachments. As I’ve said already, I’m not somebody who is still friends with the people I went to school with or have friends I have known all my life. In childhood I moved from house to house, school to school, and adulthood began in the same way. While some people are able to overlook certain characteristics and behaviours of loved ones, I know I can let go and move on and build new friendships pretty easily.
Not every friendship will last forever. Everybody is replaceable. Even me.
How do you know it’s time to walk away? Here’s a few points:
They stop responding to your messages
You’ve messaged to arrange a meet up but they haven’t responded. A week later and still no response, but they’re active on social media and changed their profile photo a few times. They saw your message and chose not to respond.
They never ask how you are
If they aren’t asking how you are, do they care? Instead of having a genuine conversation, they instead flood the space with the drama in their life. And this doesn’t happen once or even every now and then, this happens all of the time. You begin to wonder if your sole purpose in their life is just to be a sounding board.
They keep cancelling on you
You’ve been successful in arranging a few meet ups, all plans have been confirmed and you’re finally on your way out… PING! Another message cancelling last-minute. The understanding part of you will know and accept that things happen because they do, don’t they? Some things are just totally out of our control. But you then begin to notice a pattern to this, it is happening more and more often. And then you start tracing back and discover that you’re always the one initiating meeting up anyway…
They get upset when you don’t lavish their social media with attention
This a is a true story, I’ve lost a ‘friend’ over this. It’s actually bizarre. How are you even noticing that? I don’t sit on Facebook all day long, I don’t see all posts, it really isn’t that deep. But there are people who are insecure and they project this onto you, they create ideas of who you are and get angry when you don’t meet that expectation. Genuinely, if I didn’t comment on your post, I probably didn’t see it. Genuinely, if that kind of thing feels like a personal attack of some sort, I’m probably not the friend for you. I can’t help you.
They project their insecurities onto you. All. Of. The. Time
You find yourself saying sorry for things you haven’t actually done. You’re always in the wrong, always proving to them what a good friend you are because they have suggested that you aren’t. They find fault in the content of your Instagram page, get angry at you for not messaging them (even though they haven’t messaged you either) and create an imaginary barrier when they see you (and tell you that you made them feel anxious because of it). This is real life, folks. I have gone to events, participated in activities, minded my own business and still came home to a message that suggested I had made someone feel anxious. I’ve been baffled and tried to work out how that happened, but then realise that the other person can’t supply examples to support their case. Because it is all about them and their perception of the world around them.
They are in competition with you
At first you think you are overreacting, but then you notice a pattern of their behaviour and words that are in response to something you’ve said. It comes with a “better than you” vibe. It applies to everything you do. You notice that in group conversations, your voice gets drowned out by their derailing the conversation every time you share your good news. If in business, they keep track of your posts, followers and online activity so that they can do exactly the same. It doesn’t feel like they are inspired by you, it feels like they are trying to emulate you. And you’re not the only one who has noticed.
They drain your energy
Ever had a friend who seems to drain your energy? Every day brings a new drama and you’re the person who has to deal with it? It feels like a lot and you know they mean you no harm, but eventually you feel reluctant to answer the phone or respond to messages. You begin to avoid them because you don’t want their bad vibes to bring your good vibes down. It is hard because you want to be there for them, but eventually you begin to pull away from them for your own sanity. I’ve done this a few times and felt quite guilty about it, but ultimately I have to prioritise my own mental wellbeing. If I’m a mess, I’ll be good to nobody.
There’s nothing to talk about anymore
And lastly, even when the friendship has been good, sometimes we just begin to drift apart. We are always growing and developing, either together or in different directions. It doesn’t mean the love wasn’t there, or that your friendship didn’t mean anything, but rather that it has served a greater purpose and it has now expired. It’s easy to hold onto these friendships, to resist the change and try it force it to stay how it was. But sometimes we have to let these things fizzle out. Change is inevitable. There’s been a shift. Maybe one of you has changed and the other is resistant. But now you no longer relate, you no longer have that shared understanding, no longer have that connection because you are in different phases.
Additional points to consider
I think it is fair to say that some people have so much chaos in their lives, that it makes it difficult for them to be a good friend. Perhaps they’ve had a loss or are experiencing depression, and so this is affecting their capacity for friendship. It isn’t their fault, this is how life is. Throwing at us circumstances that we have to try our best to swim through and not drown in. None of this makes them a bad person, it just makes them human. It’s up to us to set the standards of friendship and know what we are willing to accept and compromise with in return. It’s up to you.
What are your thoughts on this? Let me know in the comments.
Thank you for reading!
I’d like to bring your attention to Episode 12: When You Grow Beyond Recognition.
In this episode, I share aspects of my self-love journey and how it has impacted my social circles. I had to take responsibility for my happiness and choose to grow, over a life of being on auto pilot. This meant letting go of relationships, friendships and environments that no longer served me.
If you’re fearful of the unknown but ready to make the change, this episode is for you.