Although your friendship with your longtime love-her-like-a-sister buddy was once rewarding and enjoyable, you’ve begun to cringe every time the phone rings. Are you really up for another whinefest? You know without even picking up the receiver that you’ll end up getting sucked into another one-sided conversation fraught with negativity – and it will eventually pull you out of your good mood and have you looking at the world through a cloudy haze.
It wasn’t always like this. You used to think you were BFFs who would grow old (gracefully) together. But as the years have stretched on, your upbeat personality kept you thinking positively, while her glass-is-half-empty outlook began to twist her thinking and behavior toward the negative. She had become, in the words of life coach Kevin W. McCarthy, a “perspirer” instead of an “inspirer.”
Growing beyond each other
This is exactly what happened between Jade and Angela, who were the best of friends – they even joked that they’d offer each other their kidneys, should one of them ever need one. They even embraced their differences – Jade was a Mets fan, while Angela rooted for the Yankees. Over time, Jade began to notice a change in Angela’s otherwise upbeat demeanor. Angela would complain about her work, or her colleagues – or about not having a man in her life. She just couldn’t find anything to be happy about. Jade in turn wondered what she was really getting out of the friendship.
A typical “perspirer”
What you must do when you find yourself questioning the longevity of a friendship is to consider whether your friend is a perspirer – or an inspirer. Do they exhort you to achieve things, or are they constantly bringing you down, making your life more difficult – and negative? Do they use you as a vessel for their anger? If the answer is the latter, you’re allowing darkness into your world that need not be there. Push it away… it’s not a friendship worth saving.
Enough is enough
While you may want to remain friends with them because you simply don’t know how to end things, sometimes the best thing to do is walk away. After one particularly anger-laden session with Angela, Jade realized that she just couldn’t take it anymore and the best thing to do was to let it go. What made it easy for her was that she realized Angela didn’t care anymore. Jade’s function was just to listen. She might as well have been a wall. So Jade simply stopped answering her calls, feeling relieved and liberated.
Bottom line? If you’re feeling such relief after the breakup of a friendship, you’ve made the right choice.
Nurture healthy freindships
Life is about bringing optimism, ideas, creativity and joy into your world. It’s about embracing those who will broaden your outlook and make you smile inwardly at just the thought of them. When we allow the “perspirers” into our lives – even if they are erstwhile friends – they pull us away from the upward trajectory that we must always strive for. And then we only have ourselves to blame and we must figure out how to extricate them from our world. Whether that is by simply acknowledging it to yourself, writing an email or having a conversation. It’s up to you.
Instead, nurture those friendships that will bring the best out in you and be more selective about who you allow into your circle. You’ll be happier, calmer and more inspired!
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