1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
Recently I’ve noticed a theme when a girlfriend asks for friendship advice. Honestly y’all there seems to be a “Mean Girl” epidemic in our adult female population. And a total misuse of the word “friend” too because as Mr. Webster called it right long ago . . .
Friend: A person who has a strong liking for and trust in another.
Or more simply put:
Friend: Not an enemy.
Yet again I’m told by a buddy how she’s been mistreated by a so-called friend, either talked ill about behind her back or directly to her face. The hand wringing and “what should I do?” are not foreign to me. Some gene my Mother passed down sends a beacon out to total strangers to share their life struggles or worries usually done in grocery store check out lines. And it’s my absolute pleasure to stand alongside my girlfriends helping them process situations or shining a light for their next steps.
However why is it we allow others to treat us in such a way we would absolutely not allow our daughters or our sisters or even our true friends be treated?
Usually a tale about a mean girl either dissing my friend, chewing her out or leaving her out is followed by the justification for why they are still acquaintances.
“I’ve known her my whole life!”
“She is going through a rough time and when life’s hard she takes it out on me.”
“We have so many good memories and times together.”
“Since we’re related I’m going to see her at every family function anyway.”
“She stuck around when things were bad in my life so I feel like I owe her.”
So in going back to the definition of “friend” above, take some time before the New Year to assess your high drama relationships and evaluate if it’s time to let them go. How so? Well I’m glad you asked.
- Does this person genuinely like me?
- Does this person accept me for who I am?
- Am I a better version of myself when I’m around this person?
- Do I trust this person has my best interest in mind?
- Does this person make me feel better about me?
- If my child were treated like I am by a friend what would I tell her/him to do?
- If my child acted like this person does would I be disappointed?
- If I found out I had a week to live would I want to spend it alongside that person?
I don’t even have to give a scorecard because if you are ready to be truly honest then you know what these answers mean.
And let’s not forget Momma Friends that little eyes are always watching. Watching us not only learning how to be a friend, but how we allow ourselves to be treated in these friendships. If we preach to our daughters they are worthy of only best behavior and kindness from others, yet they continually see their mother abused by a so-called friend then our words are empty. We chance they will internalize accepting sub-par treatment as their norm.
So this New Year I challenge you sweet friend to kick those who do not value the amazing gift you are straight out to the curb. Crank up some Mary J. Blige’s “No More Drama” and retire that season in your life.
Now if you’re like me and need something done to signify the end of an era throw memorabilia reminding you of that ex-friend into a fireplace or grill and have yourself a little burning ceremony. Side note from personal experience, don’t be burning anything plastic in a non-ventilated space. And keep a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher close by. Champagne cannot be counted on to get the job done.
Of course if that sounds too crazy (judgement free zone here folks), plant a tree in honor of the season you had with that person. Donate to a local animal shelter and support proper doggish behavior. Donate a book about loving friendships like “Ya Ya Sisterhood” or “Anne of Green Gables” to a library or Senior Citizen Center.
Write a letter to this former friend and if you don’t want to send it because it’s just more drama engaging, rip it up because the healing is in writing the words down. Or burn it in the ceremony mentioned above! Just get the words out about healing by saying a prayer this person will grow up one day and change behavior, but until then graciously move on.
Life is literally too short to willingly give precious time to someone who does not value you and cannot at this point be the friend you can be. Who cannot be the friend you need. More importantly, the kind of friend you deserve.