This year I did a few things I never thought I would do: I watched one of my favorite bands play a reunion show after being broken up for several years, I traveled to Iceland and stood behind a waterfall, I planted an herb garden and didn’t kill everything in 2 weeks, and most sadly, I gave up on someone I really cared about. I’m not a person who easily gives up or loves half-heartedly. When I love, I love with everything I have and I unfortunately realized that when you invest that love in someone who doesn’t appreciate it, it becomes self-destructive. There’s only so many times you can be there for someone, having their back, when you know that they won’t be around to have yours. Friendship is a two-way street and if you’re continuing to support someone who doesn’t support you, here are some signs it may be time to stop.
- It’s creating tons of unnecessary stress in your life. If you’re constantly getting calls at 2 AM about another “traumatizing” experience your friend is going through but when you call to vent about an issue, no one answers….it’s usually a pretty good sign that your friend is really good at creating problems but not very good at solving them. It can be exhausting to be friends with someone who sabotages good things in their life because they have to constantly be surrounded by drama. Some people thrive off of that mess but in the long run, no one will stick around for very long once they realize the problems never end. A good friendship isn’t always easy but isn’t always drenched in drama either.
- It’s holding you back from caring about people who actually care about you in return. When a friend is self-destructive and constantly looking for you to save them from the consequences of their own actions, it takes away time that you could be investing into a friendship that’s actually reciprocated evenly. Don’t waste that time trying to dig someone out of a hole who’s committed to staying in it.
- It’s physically draining. After spending time with someone who is constantly making the same mistakes and depending on you to fix them, you will feel like a truck ran over you, backed up, and then ran over you again. That’s because all of your energy is completely sapped from playing therapist for the millionth time to someone you know won’t take your advice. If you’re into Greek mythology, it’s like you’re Sisyphus, constantly pushing that rock up the mountain, knowing that as soon as you get it to the top, it’s going to roll right back down and wait for you to push it back up again. “Tiring” would be putting it lightly.
- It’s not making you a better person. This was probably the hardest of these points for me to accept. I wanted to be a friend who was always there for the people she cared about, no matter what; no matter how many times I got stood up, no matter how many times I had to clean up messes I didn’t make. But there’s a fine line between being a good friend and doormat. Don’t martyr yourself for someone who’s showing you they don’t care about you, just to feel like you’re doing the “right thing.” At some point the “right thing” has to be investing in yourself and your own emotions.
- You deserve better. You have to believe people when they show by their actions just you how little you mean to them, as hard as that may be. Everyone messes up from time to time but in a healthy friendship, you both pull your weight and you both recognize your mistakes and learn from them. You deserve someone who wants to listen to your problems and help you, who wants to be there to support you when things get rough. You shouldn’t have to do it alone. It might not be easy but distancing yourself from self-destructive friends is imperative to your own self-worth.