Proverbs 12:26a “The righteous choose their friends carefully..”
Friendship is a blessing in each of our lives. It is a necessity for living a full and enjoyable life. We all naturally want to connect with each other and have meaningful relationships. However, I’ve learned through the years, that not all friendships are healthy to hold on to. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to let certain friendships go.
Let me say quickly, I do not think this always has to be an intentional conversation to end a friendship (that is totally up to you). There was a time in my life where I had to sit down and acknowledge that the friendship was over. However, it’s not always that serious. I’ve experienced times when I just made a mental choice to withdraw gradually from a friendship.
Here are some very helpful signs to determine if it’s time to let go of a friendship.
1. The friendship stresses you out 50% of the time.
I had a close friendship that used to bring me stress about 80% of the time. Stress became normal for us. I didn’t realize how much anxiety and stress it caused over the years until it dissolved. I learned something…removing the friendship out of my life meant I was eliminating a major part of stress/anxiety that I was dealing with on a normal basis.
2. The friendship is one-way.
This means you put in most of the effort. You invite, call, and initiate almost everything to keep the friendship going. You deserve a friend that wants to be around you as much as you want to be around them. No relationship is completely 50/50. At the same time, you shouldn’t feel like the only one putting themselves out there.
There was a time I even tested a friendship. After having a conversation with them about how I was feeling, I decided to not contact them at all and I never heard from them again. This made it clear, it was time to let it go.
3. Everything revolves around them.
You can’t teach self-centered people they are self-centered and that shouldn’t be your job as a friend. If every conversation is only about their feelings, their thoughts and they dominate every interaction, it is not a healthy friendship.
If your constantly catering to them and it is rarely happening in return, it is probably time to let that go.
4. You can no longer trust them.
Some friendships come to a harsh stop because of something that was done or said. We should all have realistic and healthy boundaries in our relationships. If someone has done something to you that you cannot move beyond in the friendship then that is the time you should let that go.
For me, I know extreme disrespect or back-stabbing is one of those things. I believe forgiveness is always possible, but sometimes the qualities people show me are not the ones I want in a close friendship. At that point, I make a choice to step back from the friendship.
5. They are bringing no value to your life.
Sometimes, all it takes is a step back to realize someone is simply not bringing value to your life. I do not believe friendship is all about what you can get from another person. There are seasons just for giving to other people. However, when you view the relationship as a whole and you feel the friendship only sucks you dry and adds nothing positive, it’s not a healthy one to continue.
I can only count a few times in my life I’ve even had to apply this. I strongly believe that when you push through the hard stuff in friendship (just like any relationship), there is so much beauty on the other side. There is a stronger bond and a deeper trust. However, I do realize there are some personalities and circumstances that are very unhealthy for me and require a step in the other direction.
Friendship is a true gift from God. I’m grateful for all the different stages and seasons of friendship I have in my life. Some are super close, vulnerable and life-giving. Others may be more surface-oriented, but we enjoy each other’s company. Unfortunately, I have experienced some that have been toxic and those individuals had a negative effect on my life. At that point, it was time to create some space.
As a follower of Christ, I believe every relationship should be given to Christ. I constantly pray He will bless my friendships and give me wisdom in each one. Also, I pray that He shows me if there is one I shouldn’t pursue or need to walk away from. I pray you do the same and enjoy all the wonderful blessings that come with the amazing gift of friendship.