Spring Cleaning for Your Friendships

Clean up your friendships this spring!

Betty’s Spring-Cleaning Series

Spring-Clean Your Friendships

When you’re no longer into her

-Stephanie Elliot

a group of female friendsIt’s spring – the time of year where we take stock of what we have and dig deep into those closets and drawers to rid ourselves of the clutter we have acquired from the past year. While it’s easy to toss those sweater sets and that old pair of clogs, it’s also the perfect time to look at the people you surround yourself with and see if it’s time to clean up some of your friendships.

It’s great to have a lot of friends, but it can be exhausting to work at friendships that don’t offer much in return. I’ve come to the conclusion in my older and wiser age that QUALITY far outweighs the QUANTITY of friendships.

Do you have friends that just drain you? Ask yourself of each relationship you have: What am I getting out of this friendship?

Look at every relationship as a GIVE and TAKE. Do any of the following words and phrases come to mind FIRST when you describe a particular friend? If so, this may be a friend that might be sucking you dry, and not giving you anything in return:

Needy. Complainer. Gossip. Whiny. Moaning. Crabby. Grumpy. Depressing. One-Way. All About Me. Martyr. One-Upper. Phony.

Other signs that this friendship might not be one to continue:

• You see her name on your caller ID and think, “I do not want to answer this call.”

• You have vastly different perceptions on what is right or wrong in the world: News, politics or religion. Different OPINIONS are OK, but if this friend is always outspoken, and never allows you to share your thoughts on various topics, then that is NOT OK.

• You have different and conflicting views on how to raise your children or different marital values (she thinks it’s OK to cheat, etc).

• You each have different hobbies that neither of you are interested in knowing about.

Ask yourself these questions:

What are you getting out of this friendship?

Does she make you laugh?

Do you look forward to seeing her?

Do you have fun together?

What do you offer one another in the friendship?

Is there a shared history between the two or can you imagine creating a history with this person through a new friendship?

Most of the time, you’ll know if you’re getting what you hope from a friendship. If you feel you’re doing most of the work between the two, and your friendship needs are not being met, then it may be time to look around for a more like-minded pal.

Easing out of a stale friendship:

Nobody wants to hear, in a Simon-from-American-Idol-accent, “Sorry, I just don’t want to be your friend anymore.” There are ways to make it clear that you’re “just not that into her” without hurting her feelings.

• If she suggests lunch, counter with a coffee break.

• Plan activities that involve others so you don’t have any uncomfortable one-on-one confrontations.

• Encourage her to seek out other interests that she might enjoy.

• Be honest, and if you’re busy, or not interested in doing something, tell her you can’t or don’t want to.

On the other side of the coin, if you take a look deep within and feel that maybe you are more of a taker than a giver, you might need to reconsider how you’re dealing with your own friendships so you’re not the one getting dumped.

Stephanie Elliot is a contributing editor at Betty, and she also answers your parenting questions at Just Another Manic Mommy. Visit her at manicmommy.blogspot.com or stephanieelliot.com.


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0 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning for Your Friendships

  1. CM-JJordan says:

    This is a GREAT topic to cover – although it’s hard to cut friends out of your life, sometimes it’s necessary. As one of my good friends says, “You gotta weed your garden”. Sometimes you truly just grow out of people..

  2. RELLY says:

    So true. Just blow them off! They’ll get the picture.

  3. loubell says:

    You know what the say, if they don’t bring it to the table and enrich your life, drop the baggage and move on.

  4. jessicarichelle says:

    so much truth here! but harder said than done i must say.

  5. lotsowritin25 says:

    so true – if you’re over them, “dump” them politely – people move on – it’s natural

  6. Carolyn88 says:

    “You see her name on your caller ID and think, ‘I do not want to answer this call.’” OMG I so know what that’s like :P

  7. ellen says:

    Ooh, I have friends like this I need to get rid of!

  8. VERUKA says:

    Out with the old, in with the new!

  9. deborah says:

    I figured out that I needed to Jettison “so called” friends out of my life years ago, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

  10. Fern says:

    Great advice! It’s hard to do, but that caller ID test is completely critical.

  11. SNOOKY61 says:

    Unless you have a real blowout with them, it’s easy to drop them from your life by just ignoring them.

  12. mk_ultra says:

    Definitely – especially if a friend is prone to high drama – its time to move on!!

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