Spotting and Dealing With Negative FriendshipsOut With the Old and In With The New:

Spotting and Dealing With Negative Friendships.

Surround yourself with those who see greatness in you, even when you don’t see it in yourself.” @WomenOfHistory.

I came across the above quote whilst trudging through the endless stream of self promotion and pointless whinging on twitter the other day and the words really struck a chord with me. Like a lot of people I have an unfortunate talent for picking untrustworthy friends.

We all have those people in our lives that don’t seem to want our company, despite constantly asking for it. On the other hand when they do get our attention they fill our minds with doubt, making us feel worse than we did before we saw them. We all have the friendships that we put our heart and soul into, really making every effort possible to keep in touch, and only receiving a half hearted, if any, response.

Now, from one serial bad friend chooser to potentially another, dependant of course of who is reading this, I want to offer some advice on picking good friends and how to deal with someone who is a negative influence.

Firstly, I will not spend this blog ranting about people being fundamentally bad people. I do not believe that a person wakes up with the intention of hurting another person and if they do, definitely not the person to take into your friendship group! I believe that some persons might simply not realise that they are being offensive. Little comments that perhaps might mean nothing to them, could mean the world of difference to your mental state at that particular moment. Perhaps just mentioning when certain things offend you. Telling the other person that the comment, and the timing of it, were not the nicest, might just open up their eyes and make them think of their words before they speak them.

If this fails, don’t spend loads of time worrying about their feelings before stopping in your endless pursuit of their friendship. Open your fingers and let the reins fall, you are no longer in charge of this relationship. If they don’t even notice that you haven’t called, emailed, Facebooked – whatever your favourite means of contact – then it will become very quickly clear how much you should move on. If they do notice, which is hopefully the case, let them do the work for a while. Don’t feel bad about shutting someone out, about letting them pull the weight. Your life is your own, we only get one shot at our short time on this planet, we must fill it with as much joy as we can.

This is my main problem. Feeling bad for people who have never felt bad for me. It may sound harsh, and it may appear so when you are ignoring a person who you thought you were close to, but when you remove the shackles of a bad friendship you are opening yourself up for so many good ones. By not accepting negativity into your life, by taking control of your own destiny, you will find much more joy than you ever dreamed possible.

As I mentioned before, a bad friend is not the same as a bad person. Some people are just not made to be friends forever. They meant a lot to you at one point or another but perhaps now your lives are just both moving in different directions. It is okay to let go. If a person makes you feel badly about yourself, or makes you doubt your dreams, turn away (figuratively, or that’d be rude). Stop trying to mould yourself into someone you clearly are not just to appease one person. Join clubs based on interests you alone have, put yourself out in the world again, and you will find friends who fill you with positivity you believed to be myth and a true sense self fulfilment.

Cutting out the clutter of negative people in your life is not easy, it is a hard, emotional road but one that is essential to your personal and mental wellbeing. I wish you the best of luck.

Mary Tanner,

Daily Zen.