Do you need a friend reset?
By Celine Wallace
Wellness Expert and Founder of Sattva Soul Retreats
When a friend sleeps with your boyfriend or posts negative things about you on Facebook, its obvious it’s time to let them go, but what if there hasn’t been some catastrophic event and you just feel like you’ve outgrown them? In life, we’re continually growing because everything is temporary, and so if you’re adapting to this journey called life then it's inevitable you’ll have evolved and changed too.
Shedding layers as a person is a normal and healthy, and really if you’re not evolving as a person, what are you doing? Imagine if we stayed as the same person as we were ten years ago! I know in my early 20’s I was living in Hollywood with a permanent hangover, surrounding myself with the wrong people and then partying all night. Needless to say, the sunrises I saw weren’t because I was up early meditating. I can’t imagine living my life like that now, but when I was doing that I was having the time of my life, and didn’t want to live my life any other way.
Every chapter of our lives serves a purpose, even if it's a significant learning chapter, and in those years I learned so much about myself, and have continued to every chapter since then. Sometimes you have to use these lower energy times of your life as a catalyst to create a change and evolve, grow and redefine what you want for yourself. For me, all I knew was that I didn’t want this feeling or to live my life like that anymore and so I found the world of wellness, or did it find me?
In contrast, I know some people who’ve decided to continue their lives with the same patterns, including having bad habits and tolerating crappy friends. All of which ultimately suck their energy and kept them stuck, then they wonder why they feel low or feel stuck in recurring cycles of bad circumstances - hmm, I wonder.
This is where we have to be careful, it’s easy to recognize our own bad behavior; maybe our diet needs a cleanup, we don’t exercise, or we’re guilty overindulging on a few too many wines on the weekends. Whatever your vice is you probably know about it, but bad friends aren't always apparent, which makes it even more important to watch out for the subtle signs that you need new friends. It can also be hard to let go of people that have been a part of your life for a long time, but bad friends can end up hurting our emotional wellbeing, so we need to embrace those grow pains and release any toxic relationships, because then we are opening ourselves up to good social and emotional support. And, let’s be hones, that good social support is important for both our physical and mental health.
It’s really easy for people to come into our lives by default, from our surroundings, or circumstances and then often we form these feelings of companionship. That’s normal and healthy! But in this article I encourage you to use your energy and have people in your life in a more intentional capacity. Basically, consiciously choosing the energy you surround yourself with. Have you got friends in your life through work, associates or just because you’ve known them forever? It’s amazing to make friends so easily and keep lasting friendships, but only if it’s a two-way street. You can start to notice subtle changes in any friendship, but here are some specific things you should look out for to identify if you’re both openly and lovingly showing up for each other.
• Do you feel free to be yourself?
Firstly, good friends make you feel completely comfortable being yourself. This is a huge factor when you’re in a friendship that is no longer serving you because often you might not feel comfortable to be you and not know why. Stop and ask yourself ‘Do you feel awkward around that friend? Do they judge you or you end up judging yourself?’ If you don’t feel like you can be yourself, then ask yourself if you and this friend always had this dynamic and were you a different person then or, have you always camouflaged yourself and you’re just realizing it now. Chances are if you’ve shown up for this person as a version of you, then you might have done it for others too.
• They get pissed if you don’t do what they want.
I’m sure we’ve all experienced once in our lifetimes when there’s someone who just won’t take no for an answer. This is dangerous because they aren’t respecting you or your boundaries. I noticed when I was in my 20s that when I stopped going out with my Hollywood friends to a party, they would get annoyed that I didn’t want to go out, and then they would call or text me incessantly for hours trying to force me to go out with them. Whether it's going out when you know you have more important things to do, overindulging in food or drinks, or just people being insensitive, it's not a good paradigm. Friends respect what their friends want, otherwise are they even your friends?
• They don’t support your life goals.
It’s like trying to drive a car in two different directions; you’ll just end up crashing. If your friends don't support your goals in life or values, it's time to say goodbye. Friends who support your goals and values will give you encouragement for trying to make positive changes in your life, like exercising more or eating healthier food, or even just focusing on your career. If the person can't do social activities with you that align with your goals, or, even worse, won't hang out with you unless you are at happy hour, then he or she probably isn't a good friend to have around.
• You feel exhausted after being around them.
Have you ever heard of the term Energy Vampires? It’s a name coined to emotionally immature people who think the whole world revolves around them. These are definitely not the type of people you want to get close too, because you’ll leave feeling emotionally drained since they take more than they give emotionally. I don’t want to get this confused with supporting a friend, there are times in every friendship when one person could be going through a difficult time and needs support. This is natural and normal, as human beings we always need to show up for each other with love and compassion, but when it becomes the norm, and the other person is continuously needy, then it is time for a new friend. You’re not put on this earth to be someone’s personal therapist (unless it’s your job and you’re being paid for it.)
• They are ‘SOOOO BUSYYYY.’
‘Omg babe, we have to catch up!’ Yeah, we’ve all heard this before but if it’s not put into action then its just niceties for the sake of it, which don’t mean anything. Your relationship with your friends should involve more than just social media chats. Text messaging and liking each other’s posts are fun, but real relationships meet up in person to discuss ideas and share emotions and experiences together. If you try to make plans with this person, but they keep deflecting you about how they’re busy with work, or the kids, then you can try to make it easy for them and offer to do something that suits them. If they still can’t find the time for you, then it’s time for you to use your time more wisely and move on. Everyone is busy — life is busy —but if you care enough about someone you make time to see them, and you make it a priority. Ciao babe.
• They can’t be happy for you and put you down.
I used to have one friend who was lovely and compassionate to me whenever I was going through a tough time, but whenever I was happy he would make bitchy or passive aggressive digs at me about my happy disposition. It’s like that saying ‘misery loves company’ Good friends should be happy for you and if you need it they can give you constructive criticism, but there's a difference between nicely helping you and making you feel bad about yourself. You’ll know when the person criticizes you, judges you, or puts you down, but sometimes you don't know why. The why is the most important part! Often you might think it’s your fault and the truth is they’re dealing with their own emotional baggage, which has NOTHING to do with you, but was probably triggered by you at that moment. In those situations; Deflect, deflect, deflect that bad energy and be a mirror so you can just send it right back to where it came from.
I hope some of these points have or will help you with any doubts about any people in your life and the ways they show up. Hopefully, after taking some of those tips on board, it’ll help you get some weeds out of the garden and steer things in the right direction, especially if you feel like you need a friend to reset, but you don’t know why. Just make sure you don’t go seeking these things in people - we’re human after all, and we’re all guilty of messing up in our friendships from time to time.
It’s important to acknowledge too, that we don’t need one friend who does everything with us all the time. Often we think we should have one best friend or close friend, and we should expect them to love all the same things as we do. Why should they? They’re a different person, and in fact, it’s actually healthier to have a variety of friends we can share different experiences with. Chances are your friend who you go to yoga with on Saturday morning, isn’t your friend you have wines with on Wednesday night, or the one who you go on vacations with, and that’s okay. Space in friendships is everything and then you’ll actually appreciate each other more when you are together!
Ultimately, there really is no ‘’one size fits all’’ in friendships since every person is unique and shows up differently. All you can do is love yourself, show up for those around you, set boundaries, and be kind to others, and in turn, make sure they’re kind to you. If you have any doubts when reading this article or certain people pop into mind, then ask yourself the above questions and let your gut instinct lead the way.