Right after ninth grade, my family moved to a new state. As a teenager, I found myself nervous about meeting new friends. I timidly went to church the first few weeks, observing those around me and trying to find my place. I met a super friendly girl, and she and I became fast friends. We had nearly nothing in common at first, but as time went on, we were nearly inseparable. We sang at the top of our lungs with the windows down as we cruised around town, we got into trouble together, we supported each other through boyfriends and family drama. As many friendships experience after high school, however, we started to drift our own ways.
Fast forward about 10 years and we were still close Facebook friends. She got pregnant, and I flew out to spend time with her and her new bundle of joy. We picked up just where we left off — two wonderful friends who could laugh and cry together without missing a beat. A few short months after my visit, I was hurt by an action she took. Even though she apologized, I didn’t call her for the next two years. When we spoke again, it just wasn’t the same. Time passed and I realized that we both had moved on. Not only did we live a country apart, but we led completely different lives, and when we talked on the phone, we had very little to say.
For months my heart ached at the friendship I had lost. I replayed our lives in my head. Although there were a lot of reasons that it was best for my mental health for us to part ways, I found myself missing my soulmate of a friend. Along the way, I’ve had to remind myself that it’s okay to lose a friend, even a best friend, if the relationship wasn’t beneficial anymore. Here are some clues that perhaps it’s time to break up with a friend:
You feel like you continuously give more than you receive. All friendships are a give and take, and there will naturally be times when it feels like you’re giving more than receiving or vice versa. However, if you think back on the conversations you’ve had and everyone has started and ended with conversation about her (without her even asking about you), it might be time to move on.
You lack sympathy. If you have a drama mama for a friend, you know what it’s like when it feels like her life is in the dumps . . . perpetually. If you feel like she is always the one who puts herself there and you lack the capacity to sympathize, perhaps it’s time to end the friendship. Doing so frees both you and her to find friends to fulfill the needs you each have.
You feel like she manipulates or lies to you. There’s no place for lying in a true friendship and manipulation. That ended in the sixth grade. If your friend is always trying to control you, cut ties and find healthier companionship.
She makes you feel bad about yourself. By this I mean she puts you down or makes sanctimonious comments that make you feel like you’re not good enough. Mama, you’re awesome and no one has the right to tell you otherwise. Unfriend and find someone who lifts you up. There are plenty of friends out there who are capable of praising you, even if they don’t agree with you.
The truth is that a bad relationship benefits no one. It’s okay to say, even if you’ve been BFFs forever, that the friendship isn’t working anymore and to allow you each to find other friends to fulfill the needs you have. We all need friends, as long as they’re the right ones.