Great friends add so much to our lives, it's difficult to capture it in words. They make the good times better, and the bad times easier to bear. Friendship makes our lives richer, fuller, more colourful, and more satisfying. Bumps and misunderstandings may arise from time to time, but you move past these minor issues and continue to enjoy each other's company.
But what happens when the issues aren't so minor? Maybe your friend does something unexpected that totally shatters the trust you shared. Perhaps a number of little things have been adding up over time, and the issues have become too serious to ignore. Things may ultimately reach a stage where you're even questioning whether the friendship is worth maintaining. Where do you draw the line?
Every situation is different, so there's one-size-fits-all rule for determining when it's time to end a friendship. But if any of the following issues are showing up, it's definitely time to take an honest look at how things are going.
Your friend is jealous of you.
Jealously can crop up in places where you least expect to find it. For instance, you might find it inconceivable that your friend who seems to "have it all" could ever be jealous of you. Meanwhile, the one thing you have that your friend doesn't have may be the thing that triggers your friend's jealousy. Left unchecked, jealously can escalate to the point where it starts to skew a person's judgement and alter their perception, so it isn't something to be taken lightly. If you sense that your friend is jealous of you, be honest with yourself about whether it's just a brief blip in an otherwise healthy friendship, or something deeper and more concerning.
Your friend puts you down and discourages you.
Having a friend who puts you down can be extremely difficult to deal with. After all, we expect a friendship to be a place of safety and protection, where we shouldn't have to guard ourselves. The reality is that people are complicated; each person has their own issues and baggage. Your friend putting you down and discouraging you might have little to do you with you directly, and more to do with what your friend is projecting onto you. However, regardless of the motivation, isn't healthy and it isn't something you should have to put up with.
Your friend lies to you.
Different levels of friendship may warrant different levels of trust, but a certain degree of trust always needs to be present. It's hard to trust someone who lies to you, fabricates stories, or deliberately tries to mislead you. Similar to the friend who puts you down, there can be numerous reasons why someone is dishonest, and those reasons may have little to do with you directly. But dishonesty tends to go hand in hand with other issues, all of which are likely to have a negative impact on the friendship sooner or later.
Your friend competes with you.
Some might argue that a little bit of competition between friends is a good thing, as it pushes each party to be their very best. This may be true in cases where the feeling is mutual, but there's cause for concern when that competitive attitude is strictly one-sided on the part of your friend and you're not on board with it. If your friend is more concerned with trying to "one-up" you rather than supporting you, that doesn't bode well for long term trust and security within the friendship.
Your friend uses you.
Every friendship you have won't necessarily be perfectly balanced. There will likely be occasions where you give a little more than you receive, and that's okay – it feels great when you're in a position to give in order to meet the needs of others. But sometimes a line gets crossed, and it becomes clear that you're being used. This can be a painful realization, but once you see it, you owe it to yourself to consider your own needs and well-being. If you decide that the friendship is worth preserving, you'll want to set appropriate boundaries to protect yourself from being taken advantage of.
Even when a friendship is clearly unhealthy, ending it can be incredibly difficult. Shared history, familiarity, and a sense of duty or misguided loyalty can keep us in friendships that we no longer find fulfilling. Regardless of the past you may have shared with someone, you need to be honest with yourself about where the friendship is at today and whether it's healthy to maintain it going forward.
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