Do you have certain expectations of your friends? If so, what are they? Do you have friendship rules? A certain code of behaviour? Acceptable and unacceptable ? What would need to happen for one of your current friends to become an ex-friend? How many times can a friend do something ‘bad’ before they’re struck from your friend list? Of course, a certain level of forgiveness, understanding and flexibility is expected in most close relationships (from time to time) but when does a healthy and positive friendship become an unhealthy and negative one? When is enough, enough? Where’s the line? Does it happen quickly or is it an erosion that happens over time? Maybe both?
All good questions.
To be honest, I don’t have as many friends as people might expect. Not what I would call friends, anyway. Yes, I’m a friendly bloke (mostly), yes I know a lot of people and yes, I do have a lot of acquaintances and colleagues, but friends? Not so many. Some people assert that friends are friends no matter what. I disagree. There are deal-breakers. When it comes to the matter of healthy friendships, I believe many people have compromised themselves.
In a big way.
Recent conversations and coaching sessions tell me that some people are confused about real friendship. I’m always amazed when people talk to me about their ‘friends’ who run them down, undermine them and sabotage their attempts to improve their life in some way. Just so you know, that’s not friendship. On any level.
And yes, it happens a lot.
Yesterday, I spoke with a woman who has lost thirty kilos over the last six months. She looks and feels fantastic. Her biggest challenge over that time has been her ‘best’ girlfriend (good grief) who has done anything and everything but support and encourage her on her weight-loss journey. Apart from trying to sabotage her with regular high-calorie, high-fat, high-sugar gifts (“don’t be silly, one won’t hurt you”), her bestie is now telling her that (1) she’s become obsessive (she hasn’t) and (2) she’s boring to be around (because of her new habits)and (3) the weight loss is making her look prematurely old.
That’s what I call a truly crap friend.
I’m of the opinion that too many people have been involved in unhealthy, negative and, even, destructive friendships for far too long. And I’m guessing some of you reading this right now might relate. In an effort to belong, many of us have accepted second best. Third best. If you allow your ‘friends’ to treat you poorly then maybe you need to think more of yourself. If you don’t believe you deserve their respect, kindness and honesty then neither will they. Consciously or not, you have taught people how to treat you. We all have.
For what it’s worth, here are my thoughts:
People who trash talk you: not your friend.
People who resent your success: not your friend.
People who try to manipulate you: not your friend.
People who lie to you: not your friend.
People who don’t respect your beliefs or values: not your friend.
People who take but never give: not your friend.
People who ‘compete’ with you: not your friend.
In my world (Planet Craig), the above stuff is non-negotiable.
If you recognise any of your ‘friends’ on the list then maybe it’s time to re-think your friendship criteria. Personally, I’d rather one genuine friend than a hundred pseudo-friends.