Cleaning Out Your Friendships


For good times and bad times
I’ll be on your side forever more
That’s what friends are for …

That’s What Friends Are For  – Burt Bacharach

*Riiippp* Until they’re not there for the good times. Or the bad times.

Or maybe they’re only there for the bad times and drop you in the good times when things are going well for you & not so well for them. Hmmm … friendships can be complicated and we can outgrow them.

Let’s consider some of the things that draw people together as friends:

  1. Common interests; kids, sport, hobbies, work, religion.
  2. History, whether that be childhood, sporting teams, school, work.
  3. Common values, sense of humor, and way of life.
  4. Balance in the relationship. You both get something out of it.

Let’s consider some of the things that separate people as friends:

  1. Less common interests; kids, sport, hobbies, work, religion.
  2. History that no longer has the same meaning to you as it once did.
  3. A change in common values, sense of humor, and way of life.  As you age and mature you may find the friend you had a great laugh with twenty years ago may now seem immature or obnoxious.
  4. Imbalance in the relationship. You no longer feel supported, or you are always the one doing the supporting with little back in return.

For some, friendships are forever and changes in the friendship may not make one bit of difference to the bond held between friends. Interestingly, a recent report also suggests that friendships are based on genetic similarities (… do you look like your friends?).

What we’re talking about today are those stagnant friends, who dampen your spirit, do not support you or share the friendship you want to have.

Let’s clean out our friendships and live simply! Consider the following types of friends and whether you have room for them in your immediate future.

  1. The Drama Queen. You know, the friend who expects you to drop everything to listen to her. Talks for hours on end about the same problem – every few days/weeks/months – with no solution in sight.
  2. The Taker. Happily takes your time and effort but gives the friendship nothing back in return.
  3. The Happiness Stealer. This is the friend who loves it when you’re sad, upset or struggling, but as soon as you get good news, or something magical happens in your life, they’re a downer. 
  4. Miss I-Know-It-All. Oh my, aren’t those friends the pits! I find these kinds of friends exhausting and I usually can’t wait to “escape”!
  5. The most dangerous of all, the Gossip Queen. Don’t be fooled, if this friend is talking about everyone behind their backs to you, chances are that you are being bitched about too.

So what’s the best strategy “unfriending” a friend in the real world? Friendships are essential for maintaining our support system as we make our journey through life. On your short-list of friends, find people who can:

  1. Face problems with you.
  2. Give and take.
  3. Communicate well and understands you.
  4. Accepts you as you are. 
  5. Listens, keep promises and are reliable when needed.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Friendship looks into the nature, value and justification of friendships –  if you would like further reading.

Be the friend you want to have

Let’s keep the quality of our friendship high, and of mutual benefit to our wellbeing.

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