There are many reasons we might hold on to friendships that make us feel less than great. If you’ve known someone since childhood, or simply for a long time, there can be feelings of loyalty and nostalgia keeping you there, even if that friend is no longer good for you. If you have a friendship that developed during a difficult time in your life, there can be some trauma bonding happening there, but the friendship doesn’t necessarily have a stable or healthy foundation.
While there can be guilt around walking away from friendships, it’s always important to remember why we have friends. The specifics of what you want in a friend can be varied (foodie, fitness junkie, shopping lover), but on a basic level, a friend should make you feel good things. And if you’re noticing that that’s not what a friend is making you feel, be honest with yourself. Evaluate that. Life is busy, and it can be hard to notice when a relationship is slipping from positive to negative, but letting those dynamics persist can have long-time negative effects on your emotional wellbeing. We spoke with Melissa Dumaz, MS, LMFT and author of “The Love Challenge” about dynamics that should not exist in adult friendships. You can find Dumaz on all socials @UHelpYou.
It’s another type of growing pain
Dumaz acknowledges that the friendship transitions that can happen in adulthood are no fun. “When you’re transitioning away from a friendship that was part of a big-time in your life, like college or childhood, there were a lot of memories created. There is an anxiety of feeling that you won’t be able to create those memories with somebody else. Or those memories can die off. But that’s not true. You can hold those memories in your heart.”