F-R-I-E-N-D-S: What is a healthy friendship?
By Chianne Green
As 2019 is coming to an end, you may begin to reflect on this past year, your accomplishments, heartbreaks, and everything in between. But have you reflected on the state of your friendships?
Your social circle is so imperative, and you may not even realize it. Your friendships can impact your mental health, ambitions, and goals. Ask yourself, am I ending this year with the same group of friends I started with? Are these friendships beneficial? Do our goals align? Are my friendships equally symbiotic?
It may be time to clean house. Keep in my mind not every friend you lose is a bad person or the result of an unhealthy friendship. When you grow and change as an individual, you may not be the same person you were at the start of a friendship. Sometimes we outgrow our friends and that’s okay; the friendship served its purpose for a specific moment in time.
What are friends for?
Think back on this past year. Which friends supported you? Which friends were only around for a good time or party? Which friends took the time to return your phone call? Time invested is a good indicator in discovering your genuine friendships and those worthy of longevity. Yes, it is nice to be able to go out for a night, but are those the same friends with whom you vent and share intimate moments? It’s okay to have two separate social circles, one to hang out with and the other to vent to and get support from. The skill is figuring out which friend goes into which circle.
Have you thought about what makes someone a good friend? What qualities do you look for in a friend? Since our social circle can reflect us in addition to affecting our mental health, ambition, and goals, it’s imperative to be selective with whom you allow in your inner circle. Not everyone you meet is worthy of your friendship or granted access to our social circles. Take note of the qualities and traits you bring to a friendship; these qualities are what you should be looking for in a friend. A good friend is supportive, motivates you in achieving your goals, does not belittle you, and most importantly someone who contributes to the friendships as much as you are, putting in mutual effort. It’s important your social circle is filled with good friends, friends that will support you in achieving your goals, and support your mental health.
Toxic Friends Beware:
Beware of toxic friendships. Toxicity has the power to affect our mental health and derail us from our goals. What is a toxic friend? A toxic friend is someone who drains more energy than they contribute to the friendship, someone who does not support you or your goals, someone who puts you in situations that are bad for you, the list can go on and on. Someone may not realize their toxic energy. It’s important to recognize red flags in a toxic friend so you can decide if they’re worthy of your friendship and social circle. I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase “misery loves company.” It’s true. Misery can come in the form of a toxic friend so be aware and be mindful of the company you decide to keep and protect your inner peace and circle.
When you look back on this year with your social circle, were they fruitful friendships or were they dead weight? Although there’s never a bad time to reevaluate your friendships, the end of the year is a special time because it can symbolize the end of a chapter and an opportunity to start fresh in every aspect of our lives.