Things WILL change when you hit 25; choose who you take into your adulthood.
Building adult friendships or watching our young friendships blossom into adulthood is awesome. Post quarter-life crisis, your late-20s to early-30s are a breeze compared to the social cyclone of your teens. You might even have decided on at least one permanent aspect of your future! There is a growing certainty of the self that needs to be reinforced here, though. The days where you give a fuck about what others think are becoming less and less!
We are social bunnies, of course, and having folk we know, love and trust along for the ride enhances experiences, improves our health, and makes daily anxiety easier to bare…until it doesn’t.
Here are 5 things to look out for in your friendships that might mean it’s time to pull back and assess who is running in your social circle and who should be kicked to the kerb (even if you’ve known them as long as you’ve known yourself).
1. To “shut up”
I don’t mean the sarcastic “Oh hush, you!”. I mean out right telling you to “Shut the fuck up, I am speaking.” When you know someone long enough (or well enough), you respect how each other communicates.
Yes, sometimes we want silence. But if you haven’t learned to tune out the personal monologue that helps the other find meaning in conversation, there is an issue there.
Actively listening and patience is key to forming and maintaining relationships. And being able to respectfully report when you’re not following or interested in a conversation is Effective Communication 101. If neither is happening and you find yourself becoming more irritated than enlightened with a friend…cut the conversation.
If you can’t do it respectfully, consider cutting it permanently.
2. To keep others secrets for them.
It is one thing to engage in healthy gossip, it is another to bitch.
When a person you trust demands you hold trauma for others, it causes anxiety in social situations that should be relaxed and calm. You feel pressured to facilitate your friend while pressured to maintain your own sence of self and positive social experiences with new people.
Here’s the thing: Gathering other peoples drama to divy out in other situations is usually a sign of a toxic level low-self esteem. Basically, the person you are hanging with percieves themselves as so ridiculously boring that they require a bank of mystique to liven up the environment around them…even if that air of secrecy is harvested from others.
Look out for code phrases such as “Don’t tell blank I told you” or “I shouldn’t be telling you this but”. If it sounds like playground bull-shit, it’s because it is.
Feel free to tell your friend that you want to uphold respect for others and that you don’t want to hear things you shouldnt be privy to. Ask them to talk generally around the subject without mentioning names.
If they can’t? Be mindful that, when you talk to them, you are making a life-time contribution to the drama-bank and ask yourself if it is worth the investment.
3. To change who you are in company.
Whether you are naturally excitable or reserved around others, there is something very painful about someone you trust approaching you and telling you to be something you are not.
When you are -good- friends, you enjoy each other at your most authentic and natural state, no matter what that is.
You do not owe anyone a public mask to hide behind. Let them wear their’s if they need to but that does not mean you have to join them in their play acting.
4. To stay in an unsafe place.
Good friends will be able to facilitate a safe place for you.
This can mean giving you a place to calm down or helping you leave a place or situation that you do not feel safe. If they attempt to guilt you into staying somewhere or in a situation you don’t want to be in simply because -they- are comfortable: bail.
Autonomy means you can and will have a need for safe spaces that will look and feel different from your friends. Your friendship does not evaporate just because you decide to go home/move to a different area and they do not.
However, if you stay and feel unsafe, I guarantee you, your friendship will dissolve like sugar in hot water right before your eyes.
Keep it sweet; You do you.
5. To do what they say when they say.
Do they say “jump” and you’re automatic reaction is to say “where, and how high?”
It doesn’t matter what they are asking for or when. If you friend is asking too much of you, or for something you don’t want to do, don’t do it.
You can sit and look at it from their point of view, and perhaps you can give something. But giving in to demand for demand’s sake is begging for trouble.
Imagine you are running a race with a sack of potatos on your back. If your friend is needlessly asking you to carry that whole sack yourself rather than offering to share the load or outright REFUSING…put their share down and let them make a choice…or throw a tattie at them!
You have limits and boundaries and it is up to you to report them and uphold them. You are allowed to do that! Give ANYONE an inch and they will take a mile. Friendship can make that mile feel so smooth and exciting that it can turn into a second mile, then a marathon. You want someone there who will share the load!