This is my newest mantra. While this month has been filled with so many good things: wedding planning, spending time with loved ones, awesome things happening at my job… this month I’ve lost a few friends/acquaintances. These are a mix of people from different parts of my life, different times of my life… people I have not talked to in a while from my past, people I am not really that close with but am friends with online, people I work with, etc.
The problems that have come up have struck me as childish and silly. But these problems were nothing that could not have been resolved over a strong cup of tea, with some actual eye contact and a hug to wrap it all up. But, things do not always work out that way… and that actually might be for the best. I have had to cut these relationships loose, and not take it personally, or blame myself for the loss of the relationship.
To give you a clear picture of what I think my shortcomings are, this is my realization of the problem I think I have: I am a people pleaser, and I try to foster too many friendships with too many people. I compromise my own self worth to foster a quantity of relationships that do not make my life better. I take things personally when friendships don’t work out, when in reality I am not nurturing the relationships I should be. I am not fostering friendships with people who understand my self worth.
I’ve always been the kind of person who has had many friends, more acquaintances, and then a handful of close friends. The problem with this is that the quantity of the relationships causes the quality of all the relationships to suffer. Without taking the time and care I should to nurture and foster these relationships, they start to get muddled up with miscommunications and other nonsense. Hell, I should really be screening people to ensure I think a friendship is a good idea in the first place, and if our compatibility is there.
For a long time, I had always blamed myself for relationships coming to an end. I prided myself on being the kind of person who could work through any problem with anyone, and who would apologize for things I didn’t even do just to remain amicable with people. I’d rather us have a facade of a friendship without any truth or honesty, than to sever ties. Again: people pleaser complex. I wanted to be friends with everyone.
The older I get, the more I see how challenging living my life like this has been. I end up having bad encounters with people who I shouldn’t have attempted to foster friendships with in the first place. It ends up putting stress on myself, making me question my value and importance as a friend, and stresses out important people in my life. I end up worrying myself sick wondering why every relationship I have isn’t working out perfectly, like it should in the magical land of Care-O-Lot. It’s not a healthy way to view your relationships with people, and some of these relationships won’t and shouldn’t work out. That’s life, and that’s for the best.
My approach should be to focus on fully nurturing a smaller amount of friendships with people I am more compatible with. Here’s a run down of all the advice I want to take away from these tumultuous encounters I’ve had.
- Know your worth. What is your friendship worth? If you’re like me, you are not shy in knowing that you are a great friend and worth having around. And breaking news: We all are! If we believe we are a valuable person to have around, a good friend, a hard worker, and a talented person, than we will be able to attract and foster relationships with people who will respect that and know our worth.
- Stand up for yourself. If someone is not respecting you, listening to you, giving you the time of day, taking out their own personal issues on you, can’t move on from an issue from the past, or being condescending, they need to know that you know you’re worth more than that. No one will stand up for you if you won’t stand up for yourself. If they don’t treat you with respect, you can gladly cut them loose. Standing up for yourself is the most rewarding thing you can do for your spirit and your soul. Do not let people disrespect, but be respectful in making sure people know that they can’t disrespect you.
- Close the door on relationships that compromise your self worth. You can’t be friends with everyone. Try as you might, you just won’t get along with everyone. And even if you could (in the magical land of Care-O-Lot), the sheer quantity of relationships you will have to try to foster will compromise the quality of the ones that really matter. Try to determine which friends are worth it, and which ones aren’t. If you have a friend who has a history of fighting with people, rides around on the drama llama, or doesn’t have any friends because they seem to have problems developing on and working on their relationships, these are all red flags. Not to say someone without a lot of friends is a drama queen or king, but hey – they just might be. If you’re considering developing a friendship with a new person, compare your Myers-Briggs personality types, your horoscopes, your conflict resolution styles, whatever! There are many ways you can try to screen people to ensure you will have a worthwhile friendship that isn’t full of drama, misunderstandings, and problems communicating. It will ultimately end up being best for the both of you.