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#Selfcare Sunday Series | Navigating Friendships and Deciphering Toxic Negativity

Happy Sunday! Amidst everything crazy that is happening right now, I hope you are all keeping well and being kind to each other. I also need to keep my mind off it too so I’ll be attempting to write more.

Firstly, I’d like to say Thank You to everyone who commented on my post about Getting Over My Anxiety for Driving. It was a topic that I desperately needed to write, even if no one was going to read it (clearly I don’t trust page views). But reading some of your comments to confirm the similar struggles that you had, particularly for driving, was really heartfelt and helped open up a whole new avenue that I didn’t know existed. I no longer felt as stupid and actually, I would like to promote this sort of topical confession/discussion more in the future. #PositiveMentalHealth #Positivity 🙂

I’ve been keeping up with driving so much so that I’ve enjoyed it in the past few weeks. I’m hoping to tackle dual carriageways soon but only once the weather calms down.

Anyways. Enough random talk.

Today, I want to talk about friendship. Side note, I’ll be using some real examples but in no way do I hate anyone. Hating someone takes up a lot of energy and time which I do not have…I’ve got better things to do! Other side note, I’ll be using the term ‘friendship’ a lot, but this can be interchanged with relationship even if just platonic.

Some friendships have an expiry date…and that’s fine

I’m sure we have all dipped into a handful of friendships that just fizzled out. Some common reasons may be moving schools, moving away to university, moving away for a job or just life in general when it happens. Fortunately, social media has made it easy to locate past friends and get in touch with those we’ve lost connections with.

I’ll be the first to say that I’m bad at keeping in touch with friends. There’ll be friends that I’m good at keeping in touch with because they’re my best friends and the people that I can confide in. But I’ve also dabbled into my fair share of friendships where if not for school, dare I say it…I would only momentarily keep in touch with them. It was also the same in return but I’m not here to keep score or to get even.

I later learnt that if it takes too much effort to keep in touch with said friend, they are maybe not the friend for you. It sounds cruel but for me, this was a huge learning curve which I only found out later in life. The reason that I was not as present in some of those friendships was because they were not the friends that I could confide in with my problems. As much as I have a social media outlet now and a blog, I am actually a very private person. (Selective privacy?) I’m also not a great fan of small talk.

There were lots of things that I kept to myself and I never felt like I could share it with certain people which meant that the friendship ultimately plateaued. Perhaps this frustrated them (although this was never talked about). This meant that the friends would share their problems and teenage dilemmas with each other except with me. Sure, I felt a little excluded but I also knew this was in part my fault. Teenage friendships are a hard thing to locate and make sense of so well done if you’ve gone through it.

We’re all in different places now and I’m no longer part of that friendship circle due to life happening (and lack of contact), however I always wish people well. And this is the thing we have to grasp hold of when we become an adult…sometimes good things come to an end, and other times, good things outlast anything we could ever expect.

Friendship Circles change…and that’s fine

I’m going to use school as a perfect example of friendship circles and how they can either really work out or be a little trivial because of the environment and the need to be part of some sort of friendship group. It’s the first day of school and naturally you make friends with one, with another…and somehow form a group. Once you’re in that friendship group, it feels weird to opt out and be the black sheep.

In high school, I never felt like I was part of a friendship group. I always felt a little lost and was floating in and out of the groups. I did have a best friend though who I spent the majority of my time with…and actually, we’re still good friends to this day! Don’t get me wrong – I had other friends too but none that I felt I connected with on a deeper level and who I could confide in outside of the school environment.

After high school, things got better. I made new friends whom, although I’ve lost connection with now [see first section], at that time as a confused teen, I found comfort in. For one, they were people who wanted to be in the school environment and therefore not idiots wasting others’ time. (That was a really important factor at the time and still somewhat is.)

Some people are lucky and have the same friendship circle for years since high school or college but don’t let that put you off if it isn’t the case for you! My own friendship circle has shuffled a few times. I actually didn’t find most of my friends for life until my late teens and early 20s. One of my best friends once told me that you may have a few hundred friends on Facebook, but the real ones are those who you can count on your fingers! 🙂

Deciphering Toxic Negativity…was that a passive-aggressive comment?

I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had a toxic friendship or relationship but I’ve definitely been in friendships where looking back, it wasn’t of mutual benefit. On the surface, certain situations heed outcomes that are black and white, wrong and right but when it really comes down to it, everyone’s morals are different. That’s when you may have to be a bit more strict with yourself – is the ‘friendship’ benefiting anyone?

I think sometimes, we forget about our own personal mental health just to satisfy another person. We’re all different and sometimes we should just embrace the individuality and decide it’s better to go separate ways than to force a friendship that could become unfulfilling and messy.

With one particular friend, I felt that we could never get to that deeper level of friendship because we were so different and especially since I was so quiet back then, her voice overshadowed mine. She was a lot more self-centred whereas I was complete opposite. She would comment on things that I wouldn’t necessarily agree with, but most of all, it didn’t align with my values as a person which were hugely important to me. Once I had fast-forwarded a few years and had grown up a little, I realised (and learnt), I didn’t lean on her friendship. I just didn’t need it and that without it, it was a relief. Point being? Don’t ever feel that you have to stay in a friendship. It doesn’t have to be a breakup either but just know that ongoing friendships for the sake of it is not healthy for anyone.

Friendships that are worth keeping is (slightly) different for everyone

If there is one thing that I’ve really learnt, it’s that just because someone is not your good friend, or a good friend to you, it doesn’t necessarily make them a bad person. There is always someone for everybody but not everybody is for someone – let that sink in.

There are a few things I really believe in. One, being timing for certain events to happen in your life whether by divine nature or spontaneous life choice. Two, that there are people meant for you and not meant for you.

One particular factor that’s prominent in all my good friends is that we’re very anti-drama and incredibly chill. I’ve never been one to be involved in drama or be part of a clique. I just don’t do it; and chances are, I wouldn’t be friends with those who regularly get themselves in that type of situation. To me, that is really toxic and time-consuming. Of course, I know in the ideal world, no one actively chooses to be in that environment but unfortunately, there are some people who can’t hold off saying bad things which can trigger bad emotions and reactions. Fire with fire.

I’ve never been one to be part of large girl groups simply because I find it overwhelming. I know how nasty girls can be so I tend to be most content with smaller groups. This isn’t ‘the rule’ but I think it’s important to note that what makes you comfortable will keep a friendship running smoother.

What are your own experiences with friendships, good or bad, that you have learnt from?

Big apologies for the lack of posts in the last month. I had problems with my laptop where the keyboard was not working at all so I had to get it into Apple Support. All fixed now! I’m behind on blogging but I’m hoping to use all of today to catch up and plan.

Tune into NEW posts every Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays with me.

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