When We Choose Friends Who Hurt Us

We’ve all been there. You hang up the phone and wonder why in the world you even talk to “that” friend. The hurtful one. The friend who offers cutting observations of your behaviors and life experiences. Ouch.

I’m here to give you a few pointers on how to make sure your friendships are loving and supportive.
 

First here are some questions to ask yourself in a quiet place:

  • What am I willing to accept in order to have friends?
  • What is my emotional, psychological and spiritual limit?
  • What does my heart tell me about this person?
     

Why do we do it?

We don’t have to go into a session of hand-wringing, but it’s worth it to delve into the reasons we may choose unsupportive or hurtful friends. I’d like to offer up a few universal reasons based on the human condition.

  1. We all want love
  2. We all want validation
  3. We are all afraid of being alone

These reasons can help us be compassionate towards ourselves. We all want these things—there is nothing wrong with us. We’ve made some choices that we don’t prefer. That’s ok. With loving attention, let’s move into what we can do about our situation.
 

What do we do from here?

1. Forgive ourselves. As I mentioned, our actions and choices are not a reason to beat ourselves up. We are always doing the best we can in every moment. Know that to be true.

2. Make a decision. Sit down and decide with conviction that enough is enough. You are only inviting loving friendships into your life. You will only be a loving friend to the best of your ability.

3. Set an intention. Declare it as a ceremony. Whether you write a certificate and sign it or go into the woods and shout it to the sky, make it official. This is a very powerful exercise and has brought many lovely and joyful surprises my way.

4. Communicate—bring closure. You can write this friend a letter. Pour out your heart and bawl them out too! You don’t ever have to let them see it. Unless you want to. This is meant to bring YOU closure. You want to resolve it within yourself. Then you can decide whether you want to tell them how you feel or whether it will remain between you and the fence post.

You can also decide if you want to attempt a resolution with the friend. You can try to bring your feelings forward and if you feel that they are sincere and didn’t understand the impact they had on you, maybe they can remain your friend. You decide. That’s the takeaway. It’s your life. You can choose to surround yourself with whomever you like. So make it count. You’ll be glad you did.

Want more content? Listen to my podcast on the same topic.