6 signs that your friendship isn't serving you and it might be time to let it go
Friendships are a significant part of our lives. We rely on them for support, laughter, and comfort. But what do you do when it becomes clear that a friendship is no longer healthy, perhaps even a toxic friendship, and the person is negatively impacting your own mental health? But how do you know if or when to end a friendship? And how can counseling in San Jose can help you make such a tough decision? In this blog post, we will discuss six warning signs that might indicate it's time to end a friendship. If any of these signs apply to your relationship with a friend, it might be worth reconsidering your connection.
Let's take a look at some of the key signs that a friendship may no longer be serving you.
First, let's talk about what a healthy friendship looks like.
A good friend is someone who makes you feel comfortable, supported, and respected. Good friends are someone with whom you can share your thoughts and feelings without judgement. A healthy friendship is a safe space; built on trust, mutual respect, and communication. In addition healthy friendships also allow for each person to be their authentic self where there is honest communication, often a sense of dependability, and they enrich your life. Due to life circumstances you may be spending time with your friend as much as you'd like, however it is the depth of the relationship that sustains the friendship, not necessarily the frequency when you see each other.
Letting going of a friend: six signs that the friendship might not serve you
1. The Friendship Is Consistently One-Sided
All healthy friendships should be a two-way street and they require collaboration. Whether your bond is as friends, a romantic relationship, or family, it is beneficial when there is some give and take from both sides for a relationship to feel fair and reciprocal. A friend supports you both being present in your life, actively listening, while also being dependable and honest. If you feel like you are the only friend constantly investing time and energy into your friendship, it might be time to evaluate the relationship.
Of course, every friendship will go through periods where one person needs more support than the other. But if this imbalance becomes a pattern, it's worth considering whether or not this is a friendship that best serves you or if this friendship is over. Pouring energy into a friendship that is not reciprocal may not be healthy dynamic and might be sign that the friendship is not built on mutual support and understanding.
2. You're Always Walking on Eggshells
A healthy friendship should feel safe. A true friend should be able to share your thoughts and feelings without fear of judgement or rejection. If you find yourself constantly holding back during conversation around your friend because you feel unsafe or afraid of how they might react, that be an indication that the friendship is not serving your needs.
A friend who is always putting you down, hurting feelings, gaslighting you or making you feel bad about yourself may feel like major betrayals and it might be hard to regain trust with this person. If you don't feel safe or comfortable being yourself around someone, it may be time to move on from the friendship.
3. The friend doesn't respect your boundaries
A good friend will respect your personal boundaries and will usually understand the need for such boundaries. They will be respectful when you request space and are consistent with your set boundaries. Setting boundaries are a means to protect you, your relationship, and your physical and mental health. Healthy boundaries allows you to communicate needs to your friends, while also fostering a relationship built on transparency, respect, and honesty. When a person decides to set boundaries, it is a way to communicate needs in a honest and transparent way so the other friend understands where you're coming from.
If your friend's behavior is consistently crossing your boundaries or disregarding your needs and feelings, that may be a sign of an unhealthy dynamic. Disrespecting your personal needs and space can often lead to conflict, which can strain the friendship. Having a friend in your life that provides some stability and also has your best interests at heart may be aspects to consider when you decide if this friendship serves you or if it's time to let it go.
Setting boundaries which are disregarded can leave you feeling frustrated, used, and trapped in a friendship that is no longer serving you.
4. You feel drained after you hang out with your friend
Connecting with a friend many times can be nourishing and have a positive impact on our mental health, well-being, and self-esteem. A friendship where you can spend time and share weekend plans together discussing life circumstances and supporting each other can have a positive impact on our wellness.
If you notice that you're feeling emotionally drained after spending time with a friend, it might be a sign that the relationship is having a negative impact on you. A friend who is consistently negative, only talking about themselves or complaining, and lacking consideration for your needs all the time may not be someone who is supportive or is investing in that relationship.
Your gut or instinct is a powerful tool. If you consistently feel bad around someone- whether that be anxious, stressed, or even just drained- it might be time to reevaluate the relationship andreach a point of acceptance that the friendship might be over.
5. You engage in unhealthy habits when you're with your friend
A friend who encourages you to engage in unhealthy habits- whether that be using drugs or alcohol, skipping class, or not taking care of yourself- may not be a friendship to supports your well-being. A true friend who wants to see you succeed and will support your decisions to live a healthy lifestyle, will help you in maintaining routines and habits that promote your well-being. If your friend is pressuring you into making choices that are not in your best interest on a repeated basis, it might be time to end the friendship.
It's normal for friends to occasionally engage in unhealthy habits together, but if this becomes a pattern it may be indicative of an unhealthy dynamic and it can be emotionally draining on your mental health. Unhealthy behaviors can often lead to conflict and further damage the friendship.
6. You don't feel like you connect anymore
Life changes like moving away, starting a new job, or going through a break up can cause two friends to grow apart. It's normal for friendships to evolve and at times fade out over time. However if you find yourself not connecting with your friend in the same way that you used to, it might be an indication that things have shifted even if it's hard letting friends go. It could be possible to work on the friendship and try to rebuild the connection. At times people remain staying friends due to the longevity of the friendship, however it is also important to understand if the relationship nurtures you and your own mental health. If both parties are unable reconcile differences or moving in different directions, it might be best moving forward and seek out other relationships which better serve your needs.
Hope to cope with your decision of letting go of friends
Most people feel guilty cutting ties and have a tough time when they decide to end a friendship, especially friends who have been a significant person in your life. Considering if this friendship is helping you move towards a life that is aligned with your core values may help you decide if you want to continue with this friendship anymore. It may be helpful to talk to other friends who understand the situation and can offer different perspectives about the friendship. However it is important to listen to your own intuition and also explore if there are valid reasons why you are no longer interested in remaining friends with his individuals.
Clarifying your core values can help you if it's time to move forward and end a friendship
Deciding to step away from or deciding when to end a friendship often is not an easy decision however it is important to consider what is in your best interest and if the friendship continues to serve you. Clarifying your core values in your own life and evaluating if the friendship is in alignment with what's most important to you is one tool to help you determine if its best to end the friendship.
Also determining your friend's values and if there is a significant gap between what is most important to you compared to your friend's values can be a clear sign as to what the future of the relationship might look like. In addition it is important to practice self compassion in this process of ending a friendship. Understanding that some friendships may have served you at one point in time life, however is not be the support you currently need.
It's ok to let go of friendships that don't serve you
Deciding to end or letting go of a friend can bring up feelings of grief or loss. If you need to talk to a professional about the friendship and how it is impacting your life, reach out to Kristin to help your with moving forward in your decision. Sometimes it can be helpful to seek our professional support when we're navigating feelings of loss and grief due to the end of a friendship. Reach out to Living Openhearted Therapy and Wellness to book a free consult and learn more about our services.
***The ideas, concepts, and opinions expressed in all Living Openhearted posts are intended to be used for educational purposes only. The author and publisher are not rendering medical advice of any kind, nor are intended to replace medical advice, nor to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, condition, illness, or injury. Authors and publisher claim no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material.