pop psychology and valued friendships

“The phrase ‘toxic friend’ is pop psychology,” says Jenn Berman, PhD, a psychologist in private practice in Beverly Hills, California. “I would say it’s someone who, after spending time with them, makes you feel bad about yourself instead of good; someone who tends to be critical of you — sometimes in a subtle way and sometimes not so subtle; a friend who drains you emotionally, financially, or mentally, and they’re not very good for you.”

Recognize the toxicity. “The first step is to recognize that the person is toxic,” Figley tells WebMD, “or at least that the relationship is toxic. They might not be a toxic friend to others but they are to you.”

Take responsibility. By continuing a toxic friendship, you’re allowing your friend to hurt you, but you’re also hurting yourself. “You have to take some degree of responsibility for the situation,” says Figley, a spokesman for the American Psychological Association. “It’s a pleaser personality — you want people to like you, you want to get along, and it’s hard to say no. But you can pay the price in one way by having toxic friends.” So even though we want to help our friends and have them rely on us in troubling times, take responsibility for toxic friendships and how they make you feel.

End the friendship. “It’s difficult to end a friendship,” says Figley. “Breaking up with anyone, whether it’s a spouse, love relationship, or a friend, is not fun. It’s even more important in this kind of context. In contrast to a love relationship in which you recognize you aren’t compatible, this type of relationship  is hurting you.”

In every relationship, you need balance, as Roberts demonstrates. Each person needs to be happy and feel good about the other. Ultimately, you want to feel good about your friends, not dread their ridicule.

source: Women’s Health

It takes a friend to be a friend.

Eris – winged goddess of Discord

Jeffrey Zaslow, co-author of  The Last Lecture describes conflicts and periods of alienation and disappointment in friendships.

However,  Jeff told an interviewer recently,  in a good friendship, the conflicts can be resolved.

Friendship at its best requires mutual respect and trust.  Good friendship is based on trust and if that trust is broken, the friendship may be hard to salvage.

If your friend tells you something in confidence, keep that confidence and don’t talk about it to anyone else. It’s what you’d expect in return and so be tight lipped about the matter. Don’t discuss your friend behind their back and don’t spread rumors about the confidences they’ve imparted to you. Rule out gossip or backstabbing when it comes to friendship! Never say anything about your friend that you would not be prepared to repeat to their face.

source: How to Be A Good Friend

I am so thankful for my good friends.  Have I always been a good friend?  Shamefully, the answer is probably not (although I do keep confidences and certainly wouldn’t spread rumors, be critical of or backstab a friend to another  – however, I have sometimes been neglectful – which I regret).

Do I treasure my friends?  YES!  Have some friendships become distant?  Yes – the caveat: I still and will always love these friends; we have just drifted apart – but they are forever in my heart and in my prayers.  Regardless of what caused the ‘drifting,’ I will never disparage them to others.  Nor do I base friendships or friendliness on what someone may tell me about a problem relationship with one of their friends or acquaintances.  That is their problem relationship (for whatever reason there are problems, it involves them – not me).

Relationships are complex.  Friendships are valued.  Life is a Learning Process (who said we are apprentices here on earth?).

Friendship is an undervalued resource. The consistent message of these studies is that friends make your life better. – What are Friends For?

Sadly, I’ve lost contact with “Kitten” (second from left).  Pat (next) and I still correspond and occasionally see one another at a reunion.  Kay (last on right in plaid dress) died too young and I will always miss her.  These friends have enriched my life and I am so thankful for them.

Some friends I’ve ‘lost’ as they have entered the Dark World of dementia and Alzheimer’s – yet the love is present and will always remain.  Some friends have died.  Again: the love remains.

Proverbs 27:9

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
and the pleasantness of a friend
springs from their heartfelt advice.

The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.  – C. S. Lewis

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