3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Moving On From A Friend
Confused about the quality of a certain friendship? Ask yourself these questions to get to the bottom of it.
By Jourdan Travers, LCSW | February 17, 2023
Many people come to therapy wondering if a certain friendship is worth continuing. They ask questions like "Do I deserve better?" or "Am I being too demanding?" or "I'm not sure I feel all that great when spending time with him/her."
If you find yourself in a similar situation, know that you are not alone. It's common for individuals to reassess their friendships. It's common for us to spend time with people even when our better judgment tells us not to. It's also common for friendships to drift away and then return as our life circumstances change.
If you feel that a friendship is souring to the point that it's no longer serving your mental health priorities, here are three ways to fact-check your read on the situation.
#1. How do they react when you share exciting news with them?
The reaction of close friends upon hearing your exciting news can reveal a lot about their ability to maintain healthy relationships.
Some friends may be genuinely happy for you while others may react with envy or negativity. Friends who consistently react with negativity or show little excitement when you share good news are probably not good for your psychological well-being.
It's important to have friends who support and uplift you rather than bring you down. Surrounding yourself with positive people who celebrate your successes and offer a shoulder to lean on during tough times is crucial for personal growth and happiness. A good friend should be there to share in your joy and help you navigate life's challenges.
This doesn't mean you need to cut off everyone who doesn't respond with positivity to each of your successes. We're all human and we all have bad days. However, if you notice a pattern of passive-aggression or indirect hostility, it may be time to reassess your relationship with this person.
#2. Do they ask about you or are they absorbed in themselves only?
Healthy relationships require give and take. A friend who is always talking about themselves and never asks about you might dull your sparkle. One-sided relationships can be draining and can lead to feelings of neglect.
On the other hand, friends who show a genuine interest in your life and ask about you regularly are precious for your psychological well-being. This type of two-way communication is key to building trust and mutual respect in a friendship.
A good friend will always make an effort to understand your perspective and be there to listen to your concerns as opposed to one-sided friendships that can leave you feeling unheard and undervalued.
#3. Do you feel like your most authentic self when you are around them?
It's important to surround yourself with people who accept and support you for who you are. If you feel you have to hide or change aspects of yourself to fit in with a certain friend, it might be time to re-evaluate that friendship.
Petra Kipfelsberger, the lead author of a recent study on authenticity, breaks authenticity into three subcomponents:
- Reducing self-alienation, i.e., rejecting the subjective experience of 'being out of touch' with oneself or even 'not knowing oneself.'
- Increasing authentic living, i.e., behaving in ways which are true to one's core self in most situations.
- Rejecting external influences, i.e., not being driven by the urge to conform to others' expectations and instead following one's own values and beliefs.
Friends who support you on your authenticity journey are worth their weight in gold. Those who don't may not be worth your time and energy.
It's important to remember that all of our relationships in life have value and it's never a good idea to burn bridges or cut people off. However, staying aware of which friendships are truly supporting your mental health goals is a smart way to prioritize your time and your relationships.