11 Illuminating Reasons Why Your Friendships Die a Painful Death
Society seems to place a far greater weight on romantic relationships than friendships.
Flip any lifestyle magazine or scan the shelves of the self-help category in libraries and bookstores and you’d probably see a couple of titles on love and breakups and romance…
…but none on friendships.
Funny thing, isn’t it? When friendships actually play an equally important (if not more) role in our lives.
A simple google search will tell you that people face many issues in their friendships we well. And this is also evident on my blog where these two articles – Long-term friends and why they cut you off + Long term friends who cut you off: red flags & how to deal – have some of the highest numbers of visitors.
Also, the way you conduct your friendships will be very similar to the way in which you conduct your romantic relationships. Our behaviours will tend to have very similar leanings and we will also be drawn to very similar dynamics in both our friendships and romance.
Hence, the core problems that arise in your romantic life will also appear in your friendships. So, tackling challenges in your friendships is akin to tackling romantic issues.
Let’s quickly look at 3 characteristics of problematic friendships.
Hugely intense dynamics
Many people whom I’ve spoken to who have experienced emotional upheaval in their friendships tend to have relations characterized by a huge amount of intensity, storminess and emotional volatility.
This tends to come about when you are heavily emotionally dependent on that one friend or a group of friends for everything in your life. This leads to us setting (too high and usually unspoken) expectations for that one person or group of people and getting incredibly disappointed when that person doesn’t “deliver”.
This results in quite extreme reactions when somebody does (or doesn’t) do something that you were expecting them to.
Solution: Broaden your horizons. Have more than 1 friend/friendship group.
Emotional baggage that is swept under the rug
Many of us walk around carrying hurt, anger and resentment towards our friends over their past behaviour or something they said 5 years ago, that we’ve never bothered to or are reluctant to bring it up to the party in question.
So we still hang around with this person because perhaps what they did/said was hurtful enough but not cutting enough for us to want to let go of the friendship. But everytime you are around this friend you are reminded of their actions, and you might behave passive-aggressively towards them.
This is akin to hate-following – like how some people out there follow a celeb public figure just to constantly hate on them? Yeah. You’ve really got two choices here though:
Solution: Make a promise to yourself to either deal with those feelings headon and make peace with past hurts or, let the friendship go.
Friend who aren’t really…friends
Sometimes we mistake having a good time or sharing enjoyable conversations to be a strong signifier of true friendship.
Never confuse social bonding with friendship. Friendship is way more than just sharing a couple of dinners, laughing over drinks and hitting the town several times a week.
Some people also confuse familiarity (being in the same school, workplace, event etc) with love and friendship.
Never choose a friend without complete understanding and never lose a friend because of a small misunderstanding.Anon
Want to hear me elaborate on these 3 characteristics and talk about 8 more identifying factors of why friendships fail? Tune in to the podcast and hear what other tips I have for you.
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With 10 years of experience as a Researcher (MSc) in Psychology, Neuroscience, Mental Health, Consumer and Organisational Behaviour; I help action-oriented, time-strapped people and solopreneurs crush their inner critics, navigate toxic workplaces and relationships and build their self-esteem so that you can have the freedom, happiness and confidence you desire. I spend the rest of my time daydreaming and downing cups of tea/coffee – my life’s vice.