Should I Stay or Should I Go? Friendship Edition
How do you know when to walk away from a friendship or stick it out and repair?
We’ve been friends for a while. She has seen me through some really hard times and we’ve experienced some amazing moments together. I continually replay the good times, wondering WTF happened? Did I change? Or did she change?
After many tears and heartfelt conversations, I decide it's best to end the friendship. We are no longer building each other up and the person who I used to be is not who I am. Our interactions are no longer loving and encouraging and I leave every conversation feeling drained, upset, and confused. We continually tried to make it work, but our misaligned values kept causing conflict. Ending the friendship felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders, but I toiled for weeks before feeling confident in my choice.
As we grow and become more conscious, self aware individuals, our friends may not continue along that trajectory. Our friends may be comfortable where they are at and our growth may confuse or worse- threaten them.
So when do we know to completely walk away from a friendship and when do we try to stick it out and repair?
I always advocate first trying to repair. Given this friend is mentally sound, I always reach out and try to understand their side. Their reaction to our vulnerability is a good indicator of whether or not we should stay or go.
Here are 7 questions we can ask ourselves to help us make this extremely tough decision:
When we reached out vulnerably, did she respond in love and kindness?
When we opened ourselves up to her, to share the discontent feelings we’ve been having, did she understand and love us back by being vulnerable herself? Or did she attack the vulnerabilities we shared because she wanted to gain an advantage?
Does this friend build me up and support my growth?
A friend doesn’t even have to grow with us, they just have to support and encourage our own growth! In fact, it’s good for us to be friends with people who are different from us, as it helps us to empathize with others. But if this friend tries to tear us down or rip apart our choices, we have the power to walk away.
Do I desire to build this friend up and support her growth?
Not only is it a requirement for her to support us, but we have to want to support her. If she is a destructive human and we see no conscious self-awareness, we likely don’t believe in her ability to grow and change. Not only is that draining to us, but it’s not loving and kind to her!
When I spend time with this person do I feel empowered?
Even if we disagree on certain subjects, do I still walk away from conversations feeling empowered in my quest for higher consciousness? Does she challenge my beliefs lovingly or does she attack them with resentment and anger?
Will this friend humbly admit when she has made a mistake?
This is probably the biggest one. Of course, we must also humbly admit when we have made mistakes. Humility can heal all relationships- but only if it is a two way street. There is no joy or love in only one person humbling themselves and being vulnerable and the other attacking or using that vulnerability to gain advantage. Both parties must quiet their ego and have the strength to admit to mistakes.
Does this friend respect my emotional, physical, and spiritual boundaries?
We may not always agree, but do I feel respected and loved in our conversations? Does this friend respect that my family or career or church or self comes first, or does she demand total loyalty? Does she expect us to drop whatever we are doing to attend to her?
Is this friend someone who I admire or at the least, respect?
Lastly, as we’ve heard many times before, we are the average of the people we spend the most time around. So we must honestly ask ourselves, do we want to be similar to this person? Even if they are different, do we admire or respect them?
It’s always a judgement call and extremely personal, but if the majority of the answers are “NO” to any of the above questions, it’s time to consider walking away from that friendship. It’s time to set boundaries and if need be, cut her off completely.
We all deserve loving, supportive, kind friendships. We deserve people in our lives who will encourage us, challenge us, and empower us. It’s not brave to stay in a friendship just because “we’ve known them for so long” or “we feel bad for them.”
It’s brave and loving to ourselves and to her to evaluate when it’s appropriate to stay or when it’s best to go.
If we decide to go, let’s leave the friendship with grace. Let’s refrain from using targeted words or “one last dig,” but let’s lovingly say thank you and goodbye and if she lashes out, let’s have the courage to swallow our pride and not engage.
And if we decide to stay, let’s give this friendship our all. Let’s dive headfirst into supporting this person through all of life’s battles. Let’s show up as her friend and confidant and cheer her on to victory in all areas of her life.