If you didn’t already get the memo, we’re leaving toxic relationships back in 2022.
While some of us had to get rid of toxic romantic relationships, others need to reevaluate their use of the ‘F’ word—friend, that is. Needless to say, not all heartbreak comes from failed romantic relationships, failing friendships can really cut deep. Family can break your heart and so can friends. Usually, when people recount the heartbreak they have experienced in life, they don’t think of the heartbreak caused by breaking up with friends. I’m a firm believer that friendship is just as intimate a relationship as a romantic relationship can be. Just like with a romantic relationship, with friendships, you choose to accept, love and be loyal to someone in spite of their flaws and imperfections. This requires trust—and I always say, anything that involves trust can lead to disappointment and heartache because it’s not always a two-way street.
I want to touch on something before we get into the signs of a failing friendship. I don’t want you to confuse the signs of a failing friendship with being involved in a meaningless friendship because I, for one, believe them to be two different things. A failing friendship means that somewhere down the line, your once-healthy friendship began to lose its value, but all is not lost; things can potentially be fixed and nurtured. A meaningless friendship is a façade that brings about no sense of growth or benefit for the two involved. There is usually a common ground between the two of you that suggests friendship, but still, the bond is not there. Don’t allow that to fool you into thinking you’re in a fruitful relationship. Meaning if it weren’t for the common ground that you two shared, there would be no real foundation of a friendship. So hopefully, you haven’t found yourself involved in any meaningless friendships, but do yourself the favor of checking just to be safe.
Now, let’s get into these obvious signs of a failing friendship.
1. Common interests and feelings are no longer mutual.
You and your friends won’t always have the exact same interests, but chances are the reason you became friends in the first place is that the two of you have similar interests and feelings toward certain things. These things can change over time, but with a healthy friendship, there is usually always something that you two are mutually interested in. This is how you spend quality time together. Going to your favorite restaurants, seeing a movie, some retail therapy, or whatever it is that you two like to do together is usually because of shared mutual feelings toward that interest. If you find that the two of you are no longer interested in the same things, this could be a sign that you two are losing a bit of the bond that once drew you two together, which makes it harder to spend the necessary quality time together to balance out the friendship.
2. Growth is unproductive and stagnant.
We’ve all had to outgrow a friend at some point in our life—and that’s not always a bad thing. There might be a time within your friendship that growth is not necessarily dead, but is more so unproductive and at a standstill. This may occur when you’re both comfortable with where you are in life and have failed to challenge each other. This could also be a result of not communicating enough. If you’re not communicating about where you are in life or what you’re working on, how will either of you know how or when to encourage each other? Be careful not to become so comfortable in a friendship that you forget to challenge the growth of each other individually and collectively. Nobody wants to see a good friend doing badly.
3. Support seems forced or artificial.
Maybe you two still seem to have similar interests and you’re even talking about your latest endeavors, but does the support of your friend seem genuine or forced? Friends are supposed to support each other through the best of times and the worst of times. The support you feel is supposed to be comforting. It shouldn’t make you feel like you’re hindering your friend in any way. It took me a while to understand that I am supposed to lean on my friends. If you realize that you’re not able to lean on your friend for genuine support, whether the situation is good or bad… that’s definitely a red flag and a true sign of a failing friendship—or worse, of a friendship that was never truly there to begin with.
4. You’re competing for a place in your friend’s life.
This might be the dominating reason why you decided to read this article in the first place. You have found yourself wondering where your relationship with your friend stands in relation to someone else’s relationship with that same friend. It’s important to recognize that your friend is allowed to be close friends with more than just you. A lot of times, we believe that our close friend belongs only to us and that the presence of another close friend means someone is being phased out or is less important. Most times we are just so protective of our friendship that we assume this is the case, but that isn’t always true. Their friendship with someone else is simply that. In a true friendship, the bond you share is not devalued because your friend has also created a bond with someone else. While I hope this isn’t the case for you and your friend, if you have found yourself having to literally compete for a place in their life because of a new friend or stronger relationship, that could be the sign that the friendship is failing and you two are drifting apart.
5. Lack of empathy and passion.
Overall, our friends are supposed to be the family members we get the luxury of choosing. They are supposed to make us feel loved and appreciated. We let them into our hearts. If you notice a lack of empathy and passion, what is the foundation of your existing friendship? I often tell people, “I don’t make friends… I make family.” If you begin to feel like the love is leaving your friendship, speak up. Your friends’ response will let you know whether or not the relationship can or should be rekindled.
Again, do yourself the favor of evaluating your friendships. Are you getting the things you need from your friendships? Are you giving your friends what they need within the friendship? Don’t waste your time with meaningless friendships and repair any friendships that might be losing their value. Friends are supposed to be forever.
It’s not too late to rekindle what could be lost for good.
Love always, Isis.