The rekindling of friendships can be a beautiful thing. I went out for a couple drinks, or more specifically scotch & soda, with a friend last night who I have been slowly connecting with more once again. In life its unavoidable that you will drift away from people. We change, others change, we have falling outs, some relationships can become toxic. It is always nice though when two people can grow apart only to grow back together stronger down the road.
This did get us talking about a friendship that he isn’t too sure how to start separating himself from. They have been good friends in the past, but there ideals have now changed. This friend of his also has substance abuse problems. Because of this he tends to be a bad influence. The way my friend goes about separating himself, is usually lying to his friend and making up excuses on why he can’t see him. Because of having to lie, this brings my friend inner turmoil and I’m sure his friend knows that he’s not always being honest.
I too have been in a similar situation. I have a friend who has his struggles with addiction, and I no longer wanted to hang out with him. I went back and forth with what to do. I made up excuses, I lied, and when I did this, it brought with it a slew of unwanted thoughts and emotions. I hadn’t set any boundaries for myself or the friendship. I wasn’t honest with myself, or with my friend. This friend of mine also happened to be a guilt tripper. Believe it or not, guilt tripping is another person manipulating you to do what they want by taking advantage of your emotion. By creating guilt within you, you are more likely to do what the want because you feel obligated. I would usually succumb to this and hang out even if I didn’t want to.
Now don’t get me wrong, guilt tripping doesn’t make my friend or anyone else that does it a bad person. This is usually a subconscious action developed over time to get what they want, and they really aren’t always consciously aware that they’re even doing it. However, I’m sure there are many who are very aware of what they’re doing. Anyway, one day I decided enough was enough. I was sick of lying and being dishonest with myself and my friend. I called him out on his guilt tripping ,and believe or not, he hasn’t done it too me since. Because of this, I gained more courage to just be honest. If I didn’t want to hang out, I would tell him that, and he respected my decision. Then some days I did find that I wanted to see him. Because of the honesty I had with myself and with him, the friendship had more room to be just that, a friendship, not an obligation.
Over time I realized how much our friendship does mean to me. And he is now getting help for his problems and for that I am very proud. I guess what I’m trying to get at, is don’t just abandon someone who you don’t see eye to eye with, or who are taking part in things that don’t align with your values. Of course there are relationships that really are toxic that can also lead to violence. In these circumstances you should get away before more harm can be done. If you can’t do it alone, find help.
Set boundaries for yourself and for your relationships. By doing so you can build respect not only for yourself, but from those around you as well.