What About Your Friends?

By Megan Carter

A funny thing happens when people grow up. As we transition from youth to adulthood, life actually gets pretty tough! We begin to experience role reversal as our parents age, and we become the caretakers, and they become the ones in need of care. We have to navigate our way through parenthood and all of the trials that come along with it. Some of us experience marital woes and even divorce, and we have to figure out how to become accustomed to our new normal. It is because of these changes that our friends become more than just the playmates of our childhood, but instead the support system we depend on to help us make our way through adulthood. But here’s an interesting question for you–what happens when your friends are a source of stress instead of being a resource during stressful times?

T.D. Jakes once said that if you are lucky you will have maybe 3 confidants in your whole life. These are the people who love you unconditionally, who are there for you no matter what. Unfortunately, we have far more toxic “friends” than confidants. How do you spot a toxic friend? Here are a few characteristics:

• They do not celebrate your victories.

• They burden you with their issues, never once asking how you are doing.

• They are judgmental.

• They compete with you.

• They know very little about your life because they are always talking to you about theirs.

• They are not supportive when you need them.

I could go on, but you get the point.  I have text chains in my phone from about 20 different people. Of those 20, about 5 ask me how my day is going, send me encouragement, ask me about my kids, or how school is going. The other 15 never ask about my kids, but I can tell you everything about theirs. They never ask about my dating life, or even know why I got divorced in the first place, but I can name everyone they went on a date with and why things ended. I can tell you every one of their achievements, no matter how insignificant, but there’s a few people I talk to that don’t even know I’m back in school (and this is year 3!) Do you have toxic friends? If so, it’s time for a little spring cleaning!

If you’re like me, you can’t just cut people off easily. But I have learned in the past few years that you absolutely have to be mindful of how much time you devote to toxic friends. You don’t have to hold their hand through all of their dramas. You don’t have to quickly respond to every distressing text. You don’t have to figure out life for them, they should know how to do that for themselves at this point! To protect your energy, you do have to surround yourself with people who genuinely care for you and want what’s best for you. When I am in the presence of people that I love, and who love me back, I honestly feel recharged. When you surround yourself with negative people, you absorb that negative energy, and it weighs you down. This type of interaction is unhealthy for you! I challenge you all to identify your confidants, and pour most of your efforts and affections into them. It is your friend that does the least amount of complaining that needs you the most, because this is the friend that has learned to put themselves last, and put others and their needs first. I leave you with this quote— “People inspire you, or they drain you. Pick them wisely.”—Hans F. Hansen

3 thoughts on “What About Your Friends?

  1. I absolutely love this! It is imperative to be around people with “good” energy. Honestly the older I’ve gotten I’ve come to realize that it is truly the quality not quantity of friends that really matter. You did an excellent job detailing the characteristics of a “toxic” friend. Thank you!


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