When Good Friends Go Bad: How To Figure Out When To Salvage Your Friendship And When To Let It Go

March 12, 2013  |  

Some friends test the limits and boundaries of friendship just because they think that you’ll always be there for them to walk on.  We all have that friend, the individual who’s never there for us, but insists on demanding a great deal of our time when she’s in need. She’s the friend who will happily bail on birthday plans, but will need bail money; she’s the friend who’ll get a ticket on YOUR car, and will ask to be fronted cash for tickets to a Bey concert.  Sometimes friendships like these are salvageable, and sometimes these relationships are draining you of all of your energy and should be dissolved. The hard part is deciding which avenue is best to take for a decaying friendship.

For most people, friendships come down to a few very important components: support, understanding, camaraderie, trust and accessibility. Without these factors, friendships are usually dense and superficial, much like convenient situational relationships that we sometimes develop at work or in school. With those factors, strong friendships will flourish, and all parties involved benefit from the trust and support that occurs when forming strong bonds. So, when a friend suddenly challenges the healthy dynamic of a seemingly outstanding relationship, or you discover that support/understanding was never there, it’s disheartening, to say the least. When you begin to doubt the integrity of a friend, it makes you doubt yourself. After all, you chose that friend, and to some degree you find fault in yourself if others aren’t as devoted to you as you are to them. It’s expected that your friends will celebrate with you, cry with you and do about any and everything with you, when the occasion calls for it. So, your friend’s decision to flake out on plans or ignore your calls becomes so much more than a missed event, it becomes dismissal.

Some people have an eternal meter, letting them know when enough is enough, but most people don’t. Most people don’t know when their friends have crossed the line too many times and/or exhausted the friendship. One way to figure this out is to simply ask yourself the following questions, and respond to them honestly: What is the most important thing about our friendship? What does this person mean to me? What are three words I would use to describe this friendship? Does this friend make time for me and my issues? How often has this friend disappointed me and left me hanging? In what way would my life change if I didn’t stay friends with the person? These questions should help you assess how valuable your friendship is, and help you to foresee the future of your friendship. It’s important to cite how individuals benefit from a friendship, because it helps you understand if that that friendship is helping you to grow, or if it is hindering you.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that your friend does not deserve the benefit of the doubt, or that you have to sever the relationship after a few mishaps. But, when those few isolated incidents turn into a trend of infractions, then it’s time for you to understand that you may no longer be a priority in your friend’s life. Consider how long you’ve been friends and the type of friendship style that you have. If you have the type of friendship where you don’t keep in touch very often–then the hands-off friendship style is expected; but if you’re as thick as thieves, you might want to sit down with your friend to discuss any possible concerns or questions.

Know that it is normal to miss a “bad” friend, but that doesn’t mean that person needs to be in your life, that simply means that you’ve had great experiences with that individual, and now it’s time for you to move on and have great experiences with someone else. Also, if you’re afraid that person has too much access to you or your virtual information, take the steps to block that person on every media platform, and save their number in your phone as “Do Not Answer.” So is your friendship worth fixing? Or is it holding you back?



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