Ask yourself this; When thinking about your friends, does one of them stand out as being particularly difficult to deal with? Do any of them have a history of talking behind your back? Do they frequently come across as too controlling, too unpredictable, or otherwise too emotionally draining to deal with?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may not be a bad idea to remind yourself the qualities that make a good friend:
Kindness is the foundation upon which true friendships are built. The more time we spend around people who exhibit this trait, the more likely we are to pass this same trait this on to others, and exhibit it ourselves. If you have friends that are lacking this quality, it is time to stop making excuses for them and realize you are basically wasting your time with someone that is not going to treat you well. If you've thought to yourself, "They're just unkind some of the time", or "They are just unkind to other people", perhaps it's time to look at the reasons you feel this behavior is okay...because it isn't.
Real friends encourage us to believe in ourselves, encourage us to try for that job promotion, or to keep our goals in the crosshairs--Basically, they encourage us to be the best version of our self we can be. Real friends build us up, not tear us down. If there is someone in your life that is telling you that you can't accomplish your goals, or you will never lose that weight, or you will never get that job promotion, you have a "friend" that is undermining your efforts to better yourself. The ugly truth is, they may be the negative force that is holding you back in life.
There's great peace of mind that comes with knowing that your friend isn't going to say one thing to your face, and then another behind your back. True friends are able to share their thoughts and feelings without fear that it'll be used against them, or told to others. When we have a "friend" that is not trustworthy, we live in constant fear that they will tell others about our private conversations, and they, in turn, will judge us. It's this sort of background stress that will wear you down, over time. If you have a feeling that this might be happening, I encourage you to follow your intuition, and explore where those feelings are coming from; you owe it to yourself to surround yourself with people you can trust.
There is a difference between being honest to help someone, and being honest to hurt someone. Good friends understand the difference, and know that honesty is not always easy, but necessary in certain situations. A bad friend will be honest with you, but will do so with the intention of hurting or undermining you. Do you know someone that seems to revel in making you feel bad, while saying they're "just being honest"? It might be time to be honest with yourself about their true motives, and remind yourself that some people feel better by making others around them feel worse.
Give and receive are the two words that come to mind when I think about equality in friendships. I am not referring to physical items, but rather about emotional equality;
Emotional equality involves being there for each other during difficult times, listening to each other, and encouraging each other. Do you have a "friend" that calls you about their problems, but is not interested in listening to yours when they happen? Do you find yourself dreading to answer the phone when they call? If so, then it may be time to decide if you want to keep giving your emotional energy away.
While every relationship has its ups and downs, it never hurts to re-evaluate who's a true friend, and who' isn't. Sometimes these decisions can be difficult to navigate on our own; If you, or someone you know needs help with their "social housekeeping" skills, I encourage you call me to schedule an appointment. Together, we can build a happier, healthier you!