If you read one of my first posts 6 Things I am doing to Focus on Me at Age 23, you will know that I have been working on eliminating toxic people from my life. I am learning that this is truly an ongoing process when you are in your 20’s. You meet people everywhere- in college classes, at bars, at parties, and at your various young adult jobs, and if you are anything like me, you tend to see the best in people right off the bat. While making friends hasn’t always been easy for me, being friendly has been. It has been a blessing and a curse.
There is a lot of attention put on abusive relationships, with the focus on romantic relationships. Most people look past the fact that friendships can also be very abusive. I have been a part of several abusive friendships, and I have come out of them knowing what to look for in friends, as well as what to be wary of. Here are some of my observations.
You may not have a great friend if she points out your flaws.
In a world of unrealistic body expectations for both men and women, its so hard to be confident in ourselves, so the last thing that we want to hear is someone pointing out what we are least confident about.
Let me begin by saying that I understand that there is such a thing as honesty, and that the ability to be honest with one another is an important quality in a friendship. However, there is a very fine line between honesty and cruelty. I have had several “friends” that crossed this fine line daily. Even on my most confident days, they would pick me apart until I felt that I was nothing. I had so many friends like this that I began to feel that it was normal, and that it was just the way that girls were. It wasn’t until I distanced myself from my “friends” and began hanging out with a new crowd that I realized that there are people out there who genuinely can care about one another, and that can be honest without being cruel. As my parents (and all parents) say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!”
So, if your friends point out your flaws, they may not be great friends.
You may not have a great friend if she purposely steals your spotlight.
It is usually my goal to stay out of the spotlight at all costs, being that I am an awkward conversationalist and do not do well in generally crowded situations- and I am sure that I am not the only one like this! That being said, there are some (rare) times that I like the spotlight to be on me! It is human nature to crave the attention from people that we care about, as well as people that we are trying to impress.
Some people are made for the spotlight. My sister is one of those people. She, though, would never intentionally try to take any kind of positive attention from me. If someone compliments me, she chimes in to agree! That is exactly what a good friend should do!
On the contrary, there are others that will do anything for the spotlight, including pushing you down to be under it. These are the kinds of “friends” I am talking about. I have had a friend like this, and I can honestly say that there is nothing more annoying that hearing someone chime in on your compliment saying that they also have that quality, or that they are better at that skill in some way. Its belittling, to say the least, and a confidence crusher.
So, if your friends steal your spotlight, they may not be good friends.
You may not have a good friend if she belittles you for your decisions.
If you are religious, you may know a little something about not judging thy neighbor. If you are not religious, you may know a little something about not being an asshole.
That being said, it is essentially common knowledge that we shouldn’t cast judgement upon others, under any circumstance, especially, those that we call our friends. So, naturally, I would manage to find a best friend that judged e v e r y t h i n g. I. Did. If you are wondering if your best friend is judging you, or just looking out for you, think about this. A friend that is looking out for you may advise you on what she thinks the right thing to do is, but only when you are asking for her opinion. A friend who judges you will tell you that you are making the wrong decision, regardless of if you asked. She will make you question everything you do, even when you were sure that it was exactly the choice you wanted to make.
Ultimately, you are the only person who knows what is best for you, no matter how well your friend may think she knows you, and you will be the one to face the consequences, whether good or bad, from your decisions. A good friend will let you make your own decisions where you see fit. She will let you learn from your mistakes, and she will be there for you if the consequences are poor. Oh, and she never will say “I told you so”.
So, if your friends belittle you for your decisions, they may not be good friends.
You may not have a good friend if she is angry with you more than she is happy with you.
You shouldn’t have to “walk on eggshells” around your friends. You shouldn’t have to be afraid of making them angry, or afraid that even though you are happy with a decision, they won’t be. You should be able to make your own plans without your friends questioning your every decision. You should be able to do as you please without worrying about being questioned later.
So, if your friends are angry with you more than they are happy with you, they may not be good friends.
You may not have a good friend if she doesn’t want to hear about your problems.
Just as you sit and listen to her problems, she should be there to listen to yours- and when I say listen, I mean really listen. If she often gives the same response no matter what the problem, it is likely that she is not really listening. If she changes the topic of conversation to relate to one of her problems, she is probably not listening. A good friend listens to your problems and helps to come up with a solution rather than just providing one response. A good friend listens to your problems without bringing up her own to change the subject.
So, if your friends don’t want to hear about your problems, they may not be good friends.
Luckily, I am hashtag blessed with a best friend that is perfect in every way! (In my eyes anyway). She is the example of everything that a best friend should be. It took me several broken friendships over the course of several years to make it to her, so don’t be discouraged if you feel that you have not find the Dwight Schrute to your Michael Scott just yet.
Until next time,