Betty’s Spring-Cleaning Series
Spring-Clean Your Friendships
When you’re no longer into her
It’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.