Something that I think all women in their twenties go through is relationship drama, whether it’s actually significant other drama, or friend drama, or even family drama. ‘Relationship’ means several different things to different people in different contexts. We all feel the stress of losing a friend we thought would be around forever, or the hurt of ending a relationship prematurely. Relationships are hard, but I think your twenties is a great, perhaps a perfect, time to really evaluate any relationships you’re unsure about, and take action. So, I want to have a very open, very honest chat with you about relationships, and how to evaluate them and cleanse your life of any negative energy stemming from those relationships.
For me, I typically notice that negative energy is coming into my life as a result of a given relationship if I think one of the following three thoughts very consistently while spending time with someone:
1) I love hearing about his or her life, but I feel like they never listen to my life.
2) Wow, that was kind of rude.
3) Do they ever think about anyone but themselves?
Sure, we all get a little self-indulgent, and they say your twenties is when you should embrace selfishness and do things for you, but there is a reasonable limit. If you’re going to talk about yourself for 3 hours, make sure you offer three hours of listening time to your listener.
Another aspect of evaluating if a friendship or relationship is adding negativity to your life is by considering your response to requests to spend time together. If the following three thoughts enter your mind when that person calls or texts you, evaluate why:
1) Oh, god…Can I think of a valid excuse?
2) I really don’t want to spend time with them today.
3) Ensue the constant panicking of having to mentally prepare to be with them.
There is likely a reason for you reservations and hesitations in hanging out with the person, but it’s up to you to really pin down what that is. Personally, my reservations usually lie with one of the thoughts I have consistently when hanging out with them. Finding your rationale will help figure out if your problems are fixable, or if distance is the best thing for both of you.
Are you holding up your end of the relationship?
This may sound like kind of a weird question, but if I really feel like a friendship isn’t really adding anything positive or fulfilling to my life, I tend to pull back my input from the relationship. I may not respond to texts or calls as frequently, I may say I’m too busy more often, and I may be kind of absentminded when handing out with them. I’m not saying any of the responses I just listed are right or mature, it is just how I handle distancing myself from friendships. I’m currently working on being more straightforward, and saying no if I feel like I’m going to be a crappy friend while with him or her.
If you’re feeling belittled, disrespected, or unheard by a friend, that’s usually a good time to evaluate the friendship. Personally, I need more affirmations from my friends than I originally thought. If a friend is constantly putting me down passive-aggressively or just plain aggressively, I pull back immediately. I really don’t like being put down, and I do my absolute best to never put down my friends. If I do say something rude, I fully expect my friends to call me out so I can apologize.
I think an important part of evaluating a friendship is recognizing where you and the person both are. I was speaking with a girl from my college earlier this week, and she said something like, “I know where she is, and I respect that, it’s just a very different place than where I currently am, so I think not being friends may be best.” I thought that was a really mature, and accurate statement. If you and your significant other, friend, or family member are at two vastly different points in your life, making a relationship work flawlessly is basically impossible. I’m not saying that you two live in different places, or that you can’t communicate, I’m simply saying that if two people are at two different maturity levels, feel differently about fundamental values, or communicate very very differently, sometimes it is better to just let the relationship fade. Being cordial is still very much possible, but putting distance between yourselves is important for both people involved. Typically, if the relationship is meant to work, time and distance will allow the wounds to heal, and the two of you will reconnect. If you don’t reconnect, it is not the end of the world, it just means you are free of the negativity you felt was harming your ability to be happy and content.
Let me say this: It’s okay that not every relationship works. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time letting go. I obsess and I get upset and I get sad whenever someone I was close to leaves my life. However, I’ve found, in the last year or so, that allowing myself space and distance from people who bring negativity to my life is super healing and healthy. I no longer worry about where I stand with my friends, I no longer worry that someone is going to be gone if I don’t contact them immediately, and I no longer criticize myself as a result of rude, underhanded comments from people in my life. Yes, your twenties are the time to be selfish, but not in the sense that you should only think or care about yourself. It is the time to be selfish with your time. Choose who you share your time with wisely, and only allow positivity and healthy relationships into your life!
When was a time you had difficulty realizing a certain relationship in your life was kind of toxic?