Psych Central


A few readers asked if I would write out the content of my videos in accompanying text. Here you go:

Friendships are a lot like marriages in that some are healthy and some are toxic, or unhealthy. But you sound pretty ridiculous explaining to people why you are sad: “Man, I just broke up with a friend, and it’s really painful.” But that is, in essence, what you are doing, and it needs to be treated the same way as a romantic relationship or marriage ending: with a lot of support and nurturing. As friendships develop and evolve, some don’t have all the right ingredients to last. So it’s right and natural that some break. But that period after the split is so awkward, for both people: the breaker-upper, or the breaker-uppee. I’ve sat in both seats.

I love the way Anne Morrow Lindbergh talks about friendships in her classic, “Gift from the Sea.” She writes:

I shall ask into my shell only those friends with whom I can be completely honest. I find I am shedding hypocrisy in human relationships. What a rest that will be! The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere.

I love that. Because I’m trying to be more sincere in my relationships. And as I do that I’m finding that some aren’t as healthy as I thought. The only requirement lately that I’ve been asking myself is this: Do I feel empowered by this relationship? Or do I feel deflated? After having coffee or lunch with this person, do I feel better about myself? Does this person build me up? Or do I feel worse about myself? Does this person in some way take away from me?

When I ask that question it reveals to me whether the relationship is toxic or healthy.

Yesterday I was having a discussion with one of my friends about a friendship with which I’m frustrated, and she made a point that helped me understand why some of my relationships can’t be healthy. She said, “It’s hard to be in a true, loving, mutual friendship with a person who is so wounded that they can’t reciprocate the love and the support.”

Understood in that perspective, I feel less jaded, less hurt, by the person. I just know that she or he is so wounded that they can’t act in any other way. It’s not possible for them to be in a mutual loving relationship. Their wounds get in the way.

I’m going to close by reading Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s excerpt again, because I find it so empowering:

I shall ask into my shell only those friends with whom I can be completely honest. I find I am shedding hypocrisy in human relationships. What a rest that will be! The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere.

 


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    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Mar 2009
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Borchard, T. (2009). Video: When a Friendship Ends. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/03/22/video-when-a-friendship-ends/

 

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