Can we really do without friends? Seriously, friends are more than just fun people we love to hang out with; they are crucial to our well-being. Recent studies have shown that people who have good friends are healthier, happier, live longer, and feel like the challenges they face are more manageable. In as much as having good friends is good for us, we’ve all had friendships that have gone sour. We’ve had friends who have mysteriously turn enemies. They could be people we have known all our lives or just within a short period. Either way, it is not a good thing to experience.
Potential destructive or harmful friendships may be difficult to spot because we all believe that friendship should last a lifetime. The longer we remain friends with someone, the greater our investments in maintaining such friendship and with time we tend to ignore their negative toxic behaviours. We would rather prefer to deal or condone the negative act than loose the friendship. Besides, thinking they are bad friends can sometimes make us feel bad for thinking that way but, are they really worth the energy we are wasting on them? The answer is NO!
Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy. – Proverbs 27:6
While growing up, I’ve always been warned to be very cautious and vigilant about people particularly friends. I didn’t think much of it because I thought I had really good friends. When few of my friends started to misbehave, then it occurred to me. For a while, I thought I was the bad friend in the relationship. I just couldn’t understand why someone I call a friend would treat me bad for no apparent reasons. I love talking. I could talk for days and for a while I thought my endless talking sent them away. Probably I said too much.
If you’re very self-critical or have low self-esteem, you might be prone to overestimate your own negative traits and think you are a bad friend. It should be noted that not all friends who start acting funny are bad. Some friends might just be going through hard times and might find it hard to communicate.
I had my first taste of unfriendly friends back in secondary school. Two friends I really cared about went cold one me and up till now, I still cannot explain it. This made me re-evaluate my friendships with other people. I thought deeply about the traits I had that were bad and good. I thought about how I was been perceived by other people. I even started asking people questions about what they thought I could do to better myself as a friend. I later realised that with these two friends, I was not the problem, they were. As cocky as it may sound, it is true.
Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me. – Psalm 41:9
The strength of friendships is based on our interactions with one another. Friendship is also about building companionship that doesn’t require more than the other person’s best interest. Unfriendly friends couldn’t care less about you or your well-being. They are self-centred, callous and only need you when they think you have something that is beneficial to them. Unfriendly friends are worse than exes, LOL.
I once had a friend who I noticed got upset anytime I was in a relationship and she was single. Whenever i told her I was in a relationship, I wouldn’t hear from her for days. If she managed to check up on me, it was to find out if I was still with the guy. Also, she was always quick to tell me to leave my bf after I tell her about our arguments. There was an instance she tried to hook me up with a guy who left her so he could reject me as well. She did this so she could feel better about herself. I actually played along and lied that I got rejected. Stupid right? Even if I knew the motive behind it, I was concerned about making her feel better. When I told her I got rejected, she laughed so hard. She was so happy she didn’t even notice how sad I was.
I am at the stage where I’m not that particular about making friends anymore. I think making friends is a daunting task. I am not the type of person who chases people, I honestly can’t run (I run like a duck on fire). I am a firm believer that if a perceived bad friend wants to leave your life, let them. It doesn’t matter who they are or how long you’ve known them, if they leave, shut the door behind them and watch some mavel movies or cartoons. You were fine before them, you will be awesome without them. If you thought your so called friend made your life colourful, you will find another friend who will paint rainbows with new additional colours just for you.
When friends leave, re-evaluate the situation. You need to understand the type of person you are and how you behave around people before you can assess other people. Sometimes we often fail to recognise how we might be contributing to the problem. If you genuinely cannot find the reasons why they are leaving or misbehaving, then it’s probably not your fault. Not all friends are keepers. Some people are just walking by. They liked what they saw and they decided to stop by to say hi.
Leaving an unfruitful friendship is hard but must be done. You need to distance yourself from unfriendly friends. If you are the type that is not confrontational, then quietly leave them, reduce all communications and focus on being a better friend to the ones you have left. True friends will reach out if they notice they haven’t heard from you. It only takes a few minutes to text, email, or call someone. If they don’t then you know it’s for the best. You also need to evaluate whether this person is even worth keeping as an acquaintance. If it’s someone you see regularly or work with, then keeping a calm and distanced acquaintanceship may be your best option. On the other hand, if this person has no formal links to your life, cut the bond entirely.
Remember, this also applies to you. Some of your friends may see you as an unfriendly friend. If you’ve noticed that they are being distant and you are sure you are not a bad friend, get in touch with them and sort things out. Apologise for any wrong doing and stick to it. If they accept you, all good, if they don’t, move on.
Having no friends is better than having bad friends. It’s hard, but in the end, you’ll be happier with your choice.