Are the Bad Boy and the Bad Friend Really Different?

If a friend treats your with the same tenderness they'd treat gum on their shoe, they may not be your friend..png

Hello, World.

I was in the fourth grade the first time I was friends with someone who consistently hurt my feelings. This may not seem unusual, I mean fourth graders can be pretty rude little creatures. The thought of my precious niece having to deal with “mean girls” in elementary and middle school makes me physically sick. I dealt with mean girls from a pretty young age. I used to think something was wrong with me. I used to think it was always my fault that something was going wrong with friends. Then I realized that kids change their opinions on literally everything so frequently, it’s hard to know if changing their mind about friendship is personal or not. However, when you’re a fourth grade girl who hangs out with her best friend one night after school, getting stomach cramps from laughing so hard, only to walk into class the next day and have her glare at you and ignore every attempt to talk to her, it’s hard to see that behavior as anything but personal.

Fourth grade and my twenties aren’t that different when it comes to friendships in all honesty. People say romantic relationships are riskier than friendships… I disagree. I personally invest far more of myself into a friendship than I do a relationship. Maybe this will change, but when I make friends, I want to be friends with the person for a long time. Also, I think it’s easier to feel less afraid of a friend hurting you than a potential suitor. How many of us go into friendships with the same guards up as we do when we’re dating someone new? We aren’t as guarded because we haven’t necessarily been scorned the same way by our friends. Sure, friends have falling outs as the years go by, but friends drifting apart is natural. It’s something that people typically don’t bat an eye at in life. Oh, you grew apart from so and so? Ms. Whatshername stopped calling after moving to a new place? That’s just part of life! I once wrote an open letter to the friends I’d fallen out of touch with, and I think falling out of touch is healthy sometimes and it really is normal. As frustrating as it can be, sometimes life just takes people different places and you’re no longer speaking the same language.

However, sometimes we don’t drift apart from people, even when we should. Some friendships seem great on the surface but are actually terrible for us. Why is it that we can recognize a bad boy a mile away, and know immediately the boy is bad for us, but when a bad friend is staring us down, we pretend like the boy and the friend are not made of the same cloth? We’ve grown up hearing about the exception to the rule in men. The Mr. Darcy versus the Mr. Mayer. There is a nice guy out there, just waiting to be found. Yet we don’t have the same scrutiny when it comes to friends. We accept friends like free samples handed out in the mall. We meet new people, find a common interest and bam! We’re friends. There’s so much less fear, no endless moments of thinking, “am I doing this right?” I’ve had a lot of unhealthy friendships in my life. In fact, those mornings in fourth grade made me scared that I was going to walk up to my friends one day and have them not like me, partly because the pattern that started in fourth grade was repeated in eighth grade and sophomore year of high school, until one day I decided to just stop trying to be friends with people who couldn’t decide if I was worthy of their friendship. If they couldn’t decide, they didn’t deserve my friendship. However, when I got to college, I encountered a group of people who were constantly rude to me for no apparent reason. My fourth-grade insecurities came to a head, and I ended up ugly crying in my towel to a friend. That’s when I made the decision final: if someone was going to treat me with the same amount of concern they would treat gum stuck to the bottom of their shoe, they didn’t need to be my friend.

Toxic friendships are hard to spot. They come in all different forms, some friends are passive aggressive, some are aggressive, some are so hot and cold the constant fluctuations give you whiplash. The first time I saw a toxic friendship play out in a big way was in the movie Something Borrowed (book and movie). Ironically, my oldest friend and I joke that we are similar to Darcy and Rachel, but not because of the toxicity of their friendship. We’re just opposites who happen to be best friends [the similarities stop there, though. Trust me.]. Anyway, Darcy and Rachel seem to be best friends on the surface, but the deeper you dig, the more you realize the friendship is incredibly draining and Darcy is consistently acting in such a way as to belittle Rachel. Though they seem like such great friends, the friendship is killing Rachel. No friend should belittle you. I had a law school friend who I talked to a ton first semester but took a step back from the second semester. The perception of myself as a law student, without their influence, was a stark contrast. I no longer felt like I was doing something wrong for not getting something immediately. I don’t want to go too far into it, but let’s just say I realized, with some distance between us, that their small comments were actually contributing heavily to my self-doubt and feelings of incompetence.

I’d like to conclude with this: you may not recognize a bad friend with the immediacy you would recognize a bad boy, but you should develop enough confidence in yourself to know that if someone is making you feel less than or inadequate or like they’re doing you a favor by being your friend, you’re most likely better without them.

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Have you ever had a toxic friend? How did you know? What did you do to change the situation?

Truly,
Callie leigh

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Toxic Relationships: Evaluating and Cleansing Your Life of Negativity

Hello, World.

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.
toxic 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?

Truly,
Callie leigh

Distance makes the heart grow fonder

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One thing I discussed a few posts back was the unsettling feeling that something major changes when someone returns to their hometown after being away at college. The change can be internal or external (or, in some cases, both), existent or nonexistent, but regardless, there is a feeling that something is different. Personally, I can’t tell you exactly what it is, but I think maybe just the experience of going away to school, meeting people from all over, and becoming more myself has made being back home feel a little… off, like something is missing.

Something that is physically missing from my life at the moment is my boyfriend, Mitchell. He lives in Hawaii, and he’s spending the summer there, which is difficult. I will admit: I’m absolutely terrible with long distance anything. I don’t usually believe in long distance relationships, and I personally have never really seen the point of them if they are going to last more than a few months. However, I have a friend who is currently doing long-distance with her boyfriend, who she met in Germany, and they’re making long-distance seem like a breeze (which it probably isn’t a breeze everyday, but they give me hope that it can work). I also recently realized that my two best friends are currently in long distance relationships, and are both really happy. Apparently, distance isn’t so bad!

But anyway, when I first got home, I ran into the friend dating a German, and she asked me how Mitchell and I were doing and if I missed him, the usual questions. I told her I missed him, and she replied with something like, “I wouldn’t recommend the distance thing, but we do things for the people we love.” I figured this summed it up better than I currently can. The thing is, once in college, people have to remember you spend nine months on campus and three at home, working somewhere, interning, etc. So, while summers apart may be less than ideal, I have to remind myself daily that it’s only three months before I get to spend another nine with Mitchell. I also have to remind myself that confidence in the relationship makes the distance easier to handle. People who are doing long distance cannot have lukewarm feelings; otherwise it’ll basically implode before either person makes a trip to visit the other.

Long-distance, in my opinion, can only work if both people are really committed to one another, and have expressed that neither person is going anywhere. If you’re confident in the relationship, it’s much more likely that you won’t be calling the person 24/7 to make sure they’re not cheating, make sure they still love you, etc. While I may joke about Mitchell falling in love with an island girl while he’s home, I know that he’s loyal and trustworthy, and that at the end of the day, he’ll be getting off a plane in Sacramento August 10th to spend a week with me before we head back to Saint Mary’s.

Even relationships where both people are in the same city at all times require effort, care, and a little something extra. But the difference with these relationships and those that have distance (and I mean literal distance) between two people is that the people in the same city can walk down a street holding hands, go on a date whenever they want, and hug or kiss goodnight, while people who are long distance can only express these gestures in words. One of the first movies Mitchell and I ever watched was Going the Distance with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long. Haven’t seen it? You should! It’s about two people who meet in a common city and end up one opposite ends of the country, but attempt to maintain their relationship. So, while Mitchell and I have only 3 months apart, maybe that movie foreshadowed what we would go through during those months apart. And while it may be hard, if two people truly care for one another, they’ll make distance work somehow, some way.

Truly,

Callie Leigh