Marci Fox, Ph.D.

Marci G. Fox Ph.D.

Think Confident, Be Confident

When to Stop, Yield, or Go in Friendship

When to stop, yield, or go in friendship.

Posted Aug 17, 2009

Confidence can come from all the different areas of your life, friendship included. That's why it's so important to routinely take an inventory of your friendships to make sure that each one is a healthy part of your life. So imagine yourself being at a traffic light. Now you need to ask yourself, "Does this friendship need to stop, do I need to yield and gather more information about our friendship, or am I good to go with it?"

Friendships can be a wonderful resource. They can provide us with emotional, psychological, physical, and even financial support. They can put a smile on our face, provide a place for our tears to fall, or offer an antidote to loneliness. On the other hand, friendships can sometimes be an unhealthy burden, a lure to trouble, or a culprit in your lack of confidence.

Let's start with the friendship that may be negatively contributing to your confidence and may in fact be adding to your self-doubt. So what should you look for:

Top 5 List For When it may make Sense to Question a Friendship

1. Drama- If there are constant ups and downs in the relationship. Hint: Things are going great or not well rather than smooth and steady.
2. Finger Pointing- If your friend keeps telling you how you could be a better friend and never takes responsibility for her or his end of the relationship. Remember: There are two people who are equally responsible for the relationship. Are all your friends telling you how to be a better friend or do you just fall short according to this friend's expectations?
3. Exhaustion- Your friend expects and assumes that you will always be the one to go out of your way to make yourself available to her and its not reciprocated. Tip: Friendships are about equal give and take over time and not hoping or wishing or waiting for someone to change.
4. Exclusivity- Your friend bad mouths your other friends and often puts you in a position to have to chose this relationship over another. Hint: Do people warn you about this relationship or does this person seem to go through a lot of friends?
5. Doubt- You find yourself questioning whether you want to call this person or make plans with them. Tip: Ask yourself what you would genuinely like to do not what you think you should do.

Do any of these sound familiar to you? If you've answered Yes to some of these, then it makes sense to take some time to examine your relationship.

Think about your relationships that involve no drama, finger pointing, exhaustion, exclusivity, or doubt. Clearly, those are the relationships worth your energy to nurture. When one of the top five issues arises, it's time to decide if that minus is outweighed by the pluses of the relationship or if that minus overwhelms any pluses. Without pluses to compensate for the short-comings it might be time to put your energy into nurturing healthier relationships.

Friendships worth going towards are worth the effort. Communication will help make them better. Express your feelings and needs and problem solve when necessary. Delay action if more information is needed. Time will provide you the data to choose the wise path. If a relationship is in the yield zone, put the energy into improving it. Let your friend know what they are doing that bothers you and what they can do to make it better. Give them a chance. If change does not come, have the courage to stop and put your efforts where the yield is healthier.

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