I want to be the reason you look down at your phone and smile. Then walk into a pole.
In life you’ll realise that there is a purpose for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you, and some will teach you. But most importantly, there will be those lovely some who will bring out the best in you.
You must have heard of the “You Are Your 5 Best Friends” theory where we are the average of the five people we hang out with the most. The people you spend the most time with will either have a positive or negative impact around you. Surround yourself with self-important egomaniacs long enough and you’ll end up loving yourself a little too much. Their habits start to rub off on you. Things that were once not ok can totally become acceptable.
Friends can make you a better person, make you want to be a better version of yourself, or … on the other side of the spectrum, drag you down. When your friends make poor judgement calls frequently, you are more inclined to emulate their behaviour as that’s the “norm” of your party.
Here’s everything that I know about friendships.
- One of the best ways to understand yourself is to look at your best friends. As you are free to cherry pick your circle of friends, they are a good reflection of what you stand for.
- Look at the friends from your past whom you’re no longer in contact with or stopped being friends with. Patterns of long-term friendships allow us an observation into how we have changed as a person.
- The kind of friends you’ll wanna have are those who bring out the best in you, help you grow and will always stand by you.
- Be willing and ready to lose friends who repeatedly cause you pain and discomfort.
Be on the look out for humans who:
- are mean ? and unkind to you.
- abuse or exploit your weaknesses ? just because they can.
- belittle you and are jealous of your achievements because they don’t want you to succeed more than they do.
- are selfish, self-centred, narcissistic and too in love ? with themselves. The world revolves around them. Even on your birthday (I’m not kidding!). They are needy, constantly talking about themselves, and would even go to the extent of creating drama so they can remain the centre of the attention.
- have values, viewpoints and behaviours that are different from yours and make you feel uncomfortable. Worse when they shove their self-righteous POV down your throat and expect you to conform. Discussions are usually stressful and utterly not delightful because they make you feel like a mutant ? and undeserving to be part of their cluster. Oh yes, you bet they'd make their displeasure known. Which brings me to my next point.
- are controlling. They love playing moral police and deciding for you what you should or should not do ?. Fall within the confines of the parameters they’ve defined, you’re safe. Fall out of line, watch out for some schooling. Control freaks freak out when there is a change in dynamics. Especially when the alpha in the group feels challenged.
Often times, it’s easy for abuse to feel comfortable especially with friends you’ve grown up with just because it has gone on for a really long time. As such, you become the enabler for this “friendly” abuse and feed the toxic patterns of friendship.
A friend once told me to my face
“Dan, look at you! I’ve never thought you’d be as successful as you are today and be able to break out of poverty. I’m so happy for you.”
Er… thanks for the sobering honesty and vote of confidence/validation/admiration/acknowledgement/WTF was that!?
Be brave. Make tough but necessary choices.
When you have decided to move away from certain friends, you DO NOT have to justify your decision and why. You may choose to fill them in with your concerns and thoughts but do so without any expectations for them to change.
The idea is not to “fix" a toxic friendship. It’s to walk away from one. People are often oblivious to their own weaknesses and may refuse to accept what you say. In fact, you can expect self-righteousness to be brandished around at this point and be prepared for getting blamed for breaking up the friendship.
If you share mutual friends get ready for things to get purty messy! Your pulling away will have an impact on existing group dynamics. Well meaning friends, especially those sandwiched in the eggy mess, would reach out and help to reconcile with good intentions. After all, friendships are valuable right? Forever Friends, right?
Yes and no.
You do not have to feel apologetic, embarrassed or trapped. Be honest with those around you about your feelings, decisions and actions. Remain true to yourself. There is also no need to convince people or “win” people to your side. The decision is yours to respect and honour. Own it. Reclaim your power.
Keep the good ones.
I believe shit hits the fan for good reason. When that happens, we learn to clean up and we clean up good. Friends move away from us, due to a myriad of reasons. That is a fact of life. Major life events have a way of revealing who our real friends are. These are the ones for keeps. Treasure them.
Clear the deck so you can allow new and good people into your life.
To good people,
“Best thing since Tiong Bahru Chwee Kueh”
- Dan's Grandma
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