Many of us have had a friendship that is riddled with conflict and drama. We struggle with thoughts of what to do and how to handle these unhealthy or lopsided relationships and agonize over confronting the issue or just walking away. All relationships have ups and downs but when there are very few ups and an overwhelming amount of downs it may be time to consider “weeding” your friendship garden.
The Protocol of “Weeding”:
- Think about it, sleep on it, and then think about it again. Ask yourself if you are temporarily upset by an isolated incident or are you continuously frustrated by a recurring theme or event. Forgetting to call on your birthday is not a mortal sin. Insulting you with backhanded compliments, undermining your authority with your children and making you feel inferior are more serious offenses.
- Your instincts seldom lie. It is difficult to maintain a relationship with someone who is always critical of your choices, your feelings, your actions and your behavior. If you enjoy dinner and a conversation and your friend belittles you and deems you a bore, this may be your ticket to freedom and an obvious sign that you are not as compatible as you would have hoped.
- Follow the maintenance agreement. Much like a car, friendships run out of gas without proper attention. Each relationship is unique, and knowing and understanding what the other person needs in the friendship is an important factor in nurturing the relationship. One friend may need nothing more than an occasional check in call, while a daily call is what is required to keep another friendship alive.
- Trust is vital. We all need a friend with whom to vent while knowing that the conversation will remain confidential. If you read about your dirty laundry on her Facebook page it is definitely time to move along.
- Show interest. Have you ever had a friend that is a great conversationalist, as long as the conversation is focused on her? Three hours and a long and miserable lunch later, your ears hurt, you have indigestion, you’re out 40 bucks and you never said a word. “WEED!”
- Be a good friend. Listen more than you talk. Ask thoughtful questions that promote healthy conversation. Show compassion when a friend is hurting and know when to set limits if a friend is rehearsing negativity and strife.
- Understand that not all friendships last forever. It is not your responsibility to “fix” or foster an unhealthy relationship. If a friendship is not working, for whatever reason, and you feel that it has become unhealthy or toxic, distance yourself with integrity. Back away from the friendship without anger or unkind words.
Someone once said, “You are judged by the company that you keep”. Having good friends requires you to be a good friend. Be as selective with your friendships as you are with your plants and vegetables, handling them with care.