To Friend, or Not to Friend

Group of teens sitting on a wall

By: Olivia DeLong

In this Therapyology Thursday, we discussed all things FRIENDSHIP.

Although February is typically centered around romantic relationships, we thought it would be the perfect time to discuss friendships, too!

Here are some main takeaways from our discussion based on the book “How to Break Up With Your Friends” by Erin Falconer:

The Basics:

We have different people in our lives for different reasons.

The author of this book describes it as in rings:

  • Outer: People you say hi to in the store or friends of a friend– happy to see them but you aren’t running to make plans with them on a Saturday night.
  • Middle: – “Situational” Friends – work friends, school friends, mom friends, couple friends- people that you are semi close to because you are sharing life experiences with them. These friends do not always stay in the middle… They can become closer or as time drifts and you see them less, you drift apart naturally. Sadly, as other opportunities or people come along, sometimes these friends are the ones who become lower on the priority list to hang out with all the time.
  • Inner: The Best Friends – the people you feel safe with, you want to be around them, you can talk to them for hours-poke fun at each other in loving ways. These are the peeps you can rely on during a crisis.

Taking Inventory:

Evaluating your friendship to ensure they are actively serving you (and you are serving them) is important! Lexie shared these tips when analyzing the current relationships, you have:

  • Think – how do you feel? When they call you are you excited to see their name or drained? How does it feel after you speak to them – tap into your mind and body – are you anxious? Guilty? Inspired? Uplifted? Energized?
  • Reflect – How do you behave when you are with this person? Are you super filtered? Are you normal? Are you off? Are you comfortable? Are you present? Ask yourself why? Are you always trying to impress or show off?

What about those long-term relationships? 

It is always important that we analyze and evaluate the people in our lives….

It is important to understand why each person is in your life and know that all friends serve a purpose. For example, we might have nostalgic friends who we can reminisce with over happy memories, or friends that are more nurturing – who stay out of the drama and cheer you on and support the decision you make and follow up. What about the creative friend that has a million ideas to share with you, or the mentor friend. Point being- every friendship serves a purpose for that moment in your life.

Do I have to break up with a friend? 

Usually, a friendship declines over time. You might have other friends or family point out that you are often venting about this friendship, and you want to decide what to do from there. Some things to do before acting on a “friendship break up”:

  • Visualize your life without this person: how does it feel? What does it do to your other friendships or friend group or family? Will you have to tell others what is going on? Using visualization can help us understand what it might be like without this person.
  • Does this relationship need to have a full-on convo to end it? Are you already drifting? Sometimes we might need to honor the relationship with a chat, letter, or direct convo and pay respect to that other person.

“I’m the Problem, It’s ME.”

  • Relationship are TWO WAYS – it does NOT all fall on one person.
  • It is important to engage in self-reflection to see how you might have contributed to the problems in a relationship.
  • Friendships when we are younger are so easy…. As we get older it is harder because we have more of a choice of who we are seeing or texting back, etc. and when.
  • Bad situations with friends leave your life or growing out of friendships can make it hard to be vulnerable with new friends and vulnerability is a foundation of good friendship in that inner circle, it doesn’t happen overnight, friendships take time.

So why is all this important? 

 Friendships are hard. In fact, all relationships take work. Not only to protect ourselves, but also to ensure we are being the best friend, sister, partner, etc., we can be- we must educate ourselves on the inner workings of friendships and relationships.

Thanks for listening or reading! Catch us next time on, Therapyology Thursdays!