Is It Time for a Friend Break Up? How to Be Selective With the Company You Keep
Sometimes, in moments of loneliness or poor self esteem, we say yes to spending time with people who bring us down. Maybe it’s because they are always negative or complaining, or maybe they gossip incessantly. Perhaps you have a friend you gives you back-handed compliments, or frequently puts you down ever-so-subtly.
One skill I encourage you to learn is differentiating between the people who drain your energy and the people who replenish it. Your body will clue you in with intuitive feelings before you see people, while you’re together, and after you’ve hung out.
People who replenish your energy light you up. They jazz you up on your crazy ideas, they are happy for your successes, and they challenge you to see the world differently. They are positive life forces to be around. They listen. You can be vulnerable and real AF together. You laugh together, and generally have a good time. You surprise each other in sweet little ways, and make each other’s lives better.
“We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” -David P. Brown
Think about who you let in your circle, and why. Do you have relationships of convenience, and find yourself putting up with bad behavior to cure your loneliness? Are you worried that if you stop hanging out with certain people, you will never find any good replacements?
I really encourage you to evaluate your closest social circles, and ruthlessly edit them if you want to step into your power, increase your self esteem, start living up to your potential, and generally live a happier existence.
Sometimes we take in frenemies and toxic relationships like we are some sort of shelter for shitty humans because we are insecure, and need to feel validated by the company of others. We are social creatures and for some people, the thought of being alone is terrifying.
We are living in a scarcity mindset when we believe we to cling tightly to what we have because we mistakenly believe it’s all we’ll ever get, or we fall into patterns that are convenient and don’t really think twice about the company we keep.
When you leave toxic relationships, toxic households, and untangle yourself from toxic family dynamics, you are no longer a horse broken into submission. You are a wild stag free to gallop through fields of daisies, and graze in the sunshine all the live long day.
Breaking Toxic Bonds is Like Quitting Addictions
As humans, we may still form attachments to others even if they aren’t good for us, so it can be hard to cut people out of your life. What many people don’t understand is that you will most likely still grieve even the most toxic relationship or friendship, because often those relationships brought us dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and plenty of other feel-good hormones at some point, so quitting even bad relationships can feel like quitting drugs. It’s hard AF, but you’ll get your life and health back when you can finally kick the habit.
Say you had a toxic relationship with a parent. They were critical of you, you could never do anything right, they neglected you, and their alcoholism led to an unstable environment where you never knew which parent you were going to get.
As a child, you still bond with that parent. If it was a mother, she literally still brought you into this world and nurtured you with her own breast! You’ve both still experienced an oxytocin-induced bond that is near impossible to shake. So even if that toxic parent didn’t offer you security, as a child, you don’t know any different, so that parent is still your security.
The same thing goes for our romantic relationships. You can fall in love with a toxic or abusive person, and even though you know your life is better off without them, and that they don’t treat you right, and you know you can’t change someone, the love will remain, at least for a little while and maybe forever.
It is far better to be alone than in poor company. Your body knows who and what it likes. Start listening. If you get anxious and dread seeing someone, your body is trying to tell you something. There’s a difference between anxious excitement and anxious dread. If you feel tired after hanging out with someone, pay attention to that, too.
If you’re trying to live a healthier life, achieve big goals, become financially abundant, and the best version of yourself, you’d better believe who you surround yourself with is going to help or hinder that process.
People who complain all the time, gossip incessantly, criticize you too often, or make you feel less than have no business in your life.
You can still love those people, and accept them exactly as they are, but it may be better to distance yourself from the people who deplete your energy or leave you feeling uninspired.
I believe in being kind and accepting to all people, and that hurt people hurt people. This doesn’t mean you are a rehab center, or a therapist. You can be kind and accepting, but you don’t have to be best friends. You don’t have to be friends period. It’s ok. You don’t owe anyone ANYTHING.
Make more time for the people who light you up, and who have you buzzing with creativity and feeling alive after you hung out with them. Learn to do that for yourself, and enjoy your own company.
But What if I’m Lonely?
If you’re worried you won’t have any friends if you cut people out of your life, I promise you will, eventually. Often periods of loneliness are periods are major personal growth, and once we make it past that growth spurt, members of our new tribe who are more aligned with us start showing up like magic.
You have to make room for new things in your life, whether that’s a new job, a new home, or new relationships. We only have so much energy and time to work with.
Fine tuning your social circle doesn’t have to be dramatic or nasty, in fact I’d advise against dramatics. You can slowly phase yourself out of someone’s life. Often it happens pretty effortlessly.
You deserve to have friends, chosen family, blood family, colleagues, and sweethearts that light you up and make your heart sing. This doesn’t mean you’ll never have disagreements, or accidentally push each others buttons, or face challenges. It does mean you will know in your gut they have your back, you want the best for each other, and you both add value to each others lives.
I promise you your people are out there. Don’t be afraid to walk alone for a little while, it is often on that very walk they will find you.
Know your worth, believe your tribe is out there (they are) and remember that three excellent friends is always better than twenty acquaintances.