5 Ways to Tell if a Friendship is Healthy

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Friendship is a special and sacred aspect of our lives but often we hold onto friendships that no longer serve us.

Good friendships are an essential part of life.  We are social creatures and are comforted by the familiarity and solidarity of spending time with people we love and admire.  Fulfilling friendships are an important source of support and confirmation that we are lovable and valued by others.  Healthy friendships make us feel good about ourselves whilst also challenging us to be the best of ourselves.

As we progress through life we naturally evolve.  Our values, beliefs and identity shift and become more refined as we grow older.  One of the main purposes in life is to become happier and more at peace within ourselves.  Bringing every friend with you on this journey isn’t always in alignment with this path.  We often have friends from childhood, college, past jobs and through family connections that were relevant at the time but that no longer serve our highest good.  We can continue friendships on for many years solely through a sense of guilt and loyalty, or through lack of awareness about the unhealthiness of the friendship.

Unhealthy friendships lead to feeling bad about yourself.  Thoughts and emotions linked to depleting friendship often go around and around in a  loop of negative self-talk, and feelings of guilt and frustion.  These kind of friendships divert positive life energy into negative and depleting thoughts, feelings and actions to do with the person.  Often these friends can be the ones who seem most fragile and in need, or they can be the friends who expect the earth and/or are careless of your feelings.  We do not need friends in our lives that take us away from the goal of becoming happier and more at peace within ourselves.  Holding onto negative friendships neither serve you nor the person you’re holding onto.  More often than not you are both caught in a subtle or not so subtle power struggle and ways of relating that disempower you both in the long term.

5 ways to tell if a friendship is healthy

1)  Your friendship contains both laughter and seriousness.
2)  You have balanced conversations, talking equally about your life and their life.  You are not always listening to their problems.
3)  There is no guilt-tripping about how often you call or don’t call
4)  You don’t try to change each other and admire aspects of each others characters.
5)  You both make equal effort to stay in touch.

So, I’d like you to think about your friendships.  Check in with yourself about how a particular friendship has made you feel over the last few years.  You may have one or more friends that spring to mind where you feel energetically depleted when you spend time with them (do you find yourself coming away and needing to talk about them with others?).  Some of us surround ourselves with these kinds of people so that there is always something to complain about, stopping us from allowing happiness and contentment into our lives.  Decide to change the way that you behave in one particular friendship, empowering yourself, or choose to distance yourself from  that person.  Allow yourself to feel the relief that comes with regaining the energetic space which was taken up by that person.  You are not a bad person for letting someone drift out of your life or for actively letting a friendship go that doesn’t serve you.  The happier you are in your life, the more true love and friendship you will have to give to others.

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