Evaluating Friendships

It’s important to look at ourselves and deliberately notice what kind of friend we are to the people in our lives.

There comes a time in everone’s life when we need to evaluate our relationships, making sure that they’re having a positive effect on us – adding to our lives, building our strengths and encouraging us, rather than dragging us down, sapping our strength or preying on our weaknesses.

Without realizing it, we may be spending too much precious time and energy maintaining a friendship (or friendships) that let us down time and time again, rather than cultivating ones that support and nourish us along our chosen path. Life has enough twists, turns, and challenges – enough difficulty – without retaining people in our inner circle who drain our positive energy. We can do so much more in our communities, our lives, in our worlds, when we are surrounded by people who understand and support what we’re trying to do. People who seek to encourage and expand our efforts to walk our chosen path.

We can begin the evaluation process by intentionally noticing how we feel in the context of each close relationships. We may see that an old friend is still carrying negative attitudes or ideas that we need to let go of in order to move forward. We may find that we have a long-term friendship or relationship with someone who has a habit of letting us down, raining on our parade, or not showing up for us when we need support.

There are many ways to go about changing the status quo in a relationship like this: having a heart to heart with our friend , and communicating to them the challenges we see and feel in the relationship. This process isn’t so much about abandoning old friends as it is about shifting the relationship so that they can support us on our journey rather than holding us back.

An important part of this process is looking at ourselves and noticing what kind of friend we are to not only the people in our lives, but to ourselves. The examination process may show that as we adjust our own approach to our friendships and relationships, challenging ourselves to be more supportive and positive, those around us will make adjustments as well and the whole world benefits.