What About Your Friends? The 5 Friends We Could All Do Without

By: Thaisa Jones

“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.”

At some point we all learned this little jingle, whether we were dressed in a Brownie uniform or sitting around a campfire. But have you ever wondered which one is which? What if you simply prefer one over the other? And who is responsible for polishing as the years go by? Just like precious metals, friendships require maintenance. Some will require polishing, others may need to be melted down and reformed, some can be tucked away and saved for sentimental value, while a few will simply lose their value and although it might be hard, they can be sold at the next yard sale.

There are hundreds of songs and quotes about the beauty of friendship. There is a never-ending supply of greeting cards offering inspirational words of wisdom that we can share with those we categorize as friends. Our society is so centered on the significance of friendship, that we often neglect to see the importance in recognizing when a friendship is more of a burden than mutually beneficial. How exactly do you tell an individual who has knowledge of some of the skeletons in your closet, that you have to re-categorize your relationship?

As kids, your friends were those who liked the same toys and colors. The ones who sat at your lunch table and understood your jokes. More often than not, our parent’s relationships dictated our playmates. As teenagers, we started to shed some of our childhood friends and gravitated to those who shared our hobbies and interests. In our 20’s, though we still had same-interest requirements for our friends, they didn’t extend too far beyond a need to dance the night away, drink shots off the bar, and take trips to beaches to flirt with cute boys. Sure there were people we disliked, but if we’re honest, a lot of those people we disliked because a friend did or because we were simply “hating” on their experience or material things (you did it, we all did). For a select few, true friendships can be traced back to high school and for the truly blessed, grade school. But for many of us, our speed dial is full of those we met in our 20’s.

Naturally, our experiences and circumstances change as we approach 30 and beyond. As we begin to truly understand who we are, we can see our relationships in a new light. There are relationships that need to be evaluated and left behind…no matter the memories or secrets shared.

The Stressor

Is there a name that pops up on your phone that causes you to have a negative physical reaction? Do you have someone in your life that is constantly in a crisis that could have been avoided? I’m not talking about the friend who is battling cancer, has lost a parent, or recently was laid-off. This is the person that seems to only call when the situations they created are falling apart. If speaking to this person causes YOU to stress out more often than not, it’s probably time to reassess the situation. As adults, we all have our own stress to deal with--no need to invite others self-inflicted stress into your life.

The Rewind Button

It’s fun to reminisce about days past and think about the funny clothes we wore, boys we liked or songs that made us sing loudly. But it’s not healthy to live in the past…everyday…all year long. As we continue to grow and mature, it can be detrimental to have someone constantly remind you who you WERE or where you came from. If it seems like one of your friends won’t let you grow beyond your past or constantly wants to do the things you found amusing in your younger years, perhaps you should explain to them where you are now and where you want to go. When they say, “You’ve changed!” all you should say is, “Thank you!”

The Black Cloud

We all have that friend that only sees the glass as half empty and simply cannot see the good in anything…ever. For many of us, there have been time periods we ourselves walked around in the rain without an umbrella, but eventually we emerged and appreciated the rain for contributing to the wildlife. It is important to recognize the difference between depression and the need for medical assistance, and someone who is simply always complaining about the service in a restaurant or the quality of a latte. These individuals can suck the life out of every situation, party, conversation, walk in the park, wedding, baby shower, lottery jackpot, and anywhere smiles might be present.

The Green Thorn

Have you ever found yourself contemplating telling a friend something amazing that has happened in your life? It can be hard to share good news with friends who have exposed their jealous side. A good friend will be happy for you, no matter what their circumstances are at the time. When that ring, or house or amazing job comes down the line, you shouldn’t feel like you need to hide that from someone who says they care about you. The response to your engagement shouldn’t be, “Of course you’re engaged, I’ll be happy when someone proposes to me, I don’t even have any prospects!” crickets

The Unfriendly Competitor

“Our rings are so similar, just you have one carat and I have two! Cute.” “Congrats on your new house. It’s so quaint, I don’t know why we bought that big crazy house!” These soft jabs are tolerable outside of your inner circle, but when the pain is inflicted from within, it can be quite damaging. A little friendly competition is always beneficial. It is good to have friends around you with drive, determination and are always there to help you get to the next level. But when it starts to feel like they are happy you are one step behind them or might trip you if you start to get too far ahead, that’s a friend better left on the outside of the circle.

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