You ever notice how ‘friends’ drop like flies as we get older? Though I’ve had more than my share of fallouts since recess and barbie dolls, there’s something more…proactive and intentional about my friendship choices as I’m approaching my late 20s.
For a long time, I had some misconceptions about what it meant to be a good friend; many of the things I thought constituted a quality friendship were just behaviors that manifested from insecurities.
The proverbial “they” always said that we are an average of the 5 people we’re around the most, aka “you are the company you keep”. Also, not to get TOO astrological/holistic on y’all, but one defining characteristic of my sign (all my Pisces, stand up) is that we’re great at adapting to surrounding environments and personalities.
Having this in mind, it was time to clean house—I needed to rid myself of relationships that served my [severely misguided] old way of thinking. Here are the 5 types of friends I had to quit before I became them:
The Co-Dependent One
Oh joy, the clingers.
To be frank, these types of people always freaked me out. I hate needing others, being needed too much makes me anxious, and I love a good ol’ boundary (or several).
I thought I was strange because I was not obsessed with my friends like other girls: I didn’t tell them all of my secrets, I didn’t care if they responded to my texts, and I surely wasn’t losing sleep over a missed ‘playdate’. I thought I was missing out because I didn’t have a girlfriend who was attached at the hip.
At first, I fed into this idea, assuming that I was just weirdly detached and needed some time to adapt. Co-dependence almost became my new normal, until that initial nervousness kicked in again. Has anyone ever made you feel like they couldn’t function without you? Well, it is triggering. And draining. And dramatic. AF.
I had remove myself from these situations because the burden of not “making them feel abandoned” became TOO big. I also didn’t like the idea of being responsible for repairing someone, when [I felt] they should be healing and doing the work on their own.
In NO way am I saying don’t support your friends through hard times, but we are not obligated to be anyone’s sounding board, therapist, or punching bag at all times.
The Possessive One
Kinda like the co-dependent friendship, without the “co”. A raging rottweiler has NOTHING on the friend that keeps you on a leash; these friends are super territorial when it comes to you. They hate when you make new friends, and don’t even think about calling someone else your best friend (unless you’re locked and loaded for World War 3). It’s as if they think that someone new will replace them, and that insecurity can be contagious. If you alienate everyone else to be with this friend, then you’ll rely on each other for everything (recipe for an unhealthy disaster).
It’s ok to have different friends for different things; if someone close to you gains a new relationship, then see it as an opportunity to expand your network, not an attack on your personal value.
The Shady One
Sorry…it got super dark in here for a sec (pun intended). When you think of this friend, the movie Mean Girls should come to mind.
During my wretched undergrad days, the crew I rolled with was the SHADIEST, and proud of it. We’d talk so much shit about frivolous things and just be, downright, bitchy. After awhile, I felt like a woman possessed (word to Cady Heron); I stayed equipped with a comment to kill in the group chat, and loved it (until the shade turned on ME).
I didn’t like who I saw myself becoming. I admit that the occasional shade slinging makes life more hilarious, but DAMN SIS, miserable much?!
I’ve learned that the heaviest shade throwers are the unhappiest—of course somebody would be great at reading you for filth when they do it to themselves constantly. Besides, how can you have, or be, a friend when you’re always quick to disrespect or diss?
Before Black gay culture coined the term, let’s get into what ‘being shady’ REALLY means: suspicious, untrustworthy, deceptive, selfish and a host of other words that you would hate to call yourself.
I know we’re all trained to go with the clapbacks, but let’s think twice before we take pride in being “so shady”.
Oh you know, the homie with the gold medal in making you feel guilty? Yep, THAT one. Everything is always happening TO them, even the things that have nothing to do with them. They blame others for their problems in order to gain our sympathy, and don’t take responsibility for much of…anything.
I’ve never wanted people to feel sorry for me, so I probably wasn’t as susceptible to this one as others, but can you imagine getting advice from this person?! Eeek. I can’t expect someone to hold me accountable for my bullshit when they don’t even do that for themselves. Not to mention the exhaustion of constantly trying to uplift them and dodging the guilt trips they’ve packed just for you…NO MA’AM!
The Competitive One
I could benefit from a solid ‘iron sharpens iron’ type of friendship, but it’s exhausting when someone close is always trying to ‘one-up’ you. It can start off cute: trying to dress like you, always mentioning how “lucky” you are, etc, etc, but let’s jump out there and call it what it is: jealousy.
I hate throwing this word on people, but let’s go down the checklist:
-are they forever unimpressed, but oddly happy when you fail?
-do they randomly pick petty fights with you and/or try to avoid you?
-are they quick to give you bad news?
-do you hear from others that they dislike you (for no good reason)?
If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then just grab your coat and GO because these people can ruin your life.
I urge all of our readers to assess the role that you play in friendships, while also being mindful of the company you keep. Nothing as essential to the soul as friendship should feel forced, exhausting, or miserable.