What with all of the new visitors this week alone ( thousands of you Bridey lovelies – where have you been hiding all this time?!) I have been giving some serious thought to the importance of our community and the friendly and positive environment that the RMW team endeavour to maintain.
Rock My Wedding exudes pretty, and we love that fact. What is more important however is that we provide a platform for diverse discussion, a soundboard for like-minded ladies who perhaps are not in the privileged position of being surrounded by a close network of friends that they can turn to. And we don’t just mean tips on what blooms are in season either. We mean everything. And anything. We are not here to discriminate on topic.
As we move forward into 2011 you may find that we publish more frequently on what you may refer to as a “chat post” – similar to a thread on a forum if you like. Rebecca, Adam or I will essentially begin what to any one of us at that particular point is a pertinent subject matter and invite all of our readers to converse, share their thoughts and ask for advice.
I’ll start with a confession.
I think that I may have, I think that I might have um….. ( says in very quiet teeny tiny voice)……dumped a friend. I can’t say I feel at all pleased about it. And for a long time I felt torn and wretched and guilty, so very very guilty. Because I value my friends more than anything, and as a friend to others I regard myself as kind, generous, honest and above all fiercely fiercely loyal.
The thing is, not all people we build a friendship with in our junior school youth ( as I did with this particular person) will grow into adults that we still share the same interests, beliefs and future plans with. But this isn’t about just that. It’s about getting back what you put in, it’s about that person being there for you when you need them most, just as you would be for them. It’s about that person supporting you, through good times and bad. And not turning their back on you when there is perhaps nothing tangible for them to gain.
It may just be naivety ( or on my behalf looking back complete stupidity) but I bet there is a whole bunch of you whom through an important event in your life ( and as this is a wedding blog I’m thinking particularly the obvious – planning your Big Day)…. have been let down by someone whom you thought would be a really important element of that event. I know I was.
Luckily for me there was so much going on at the time and I had enough genuine friends that by pushing it to the very perimeters of my mind it almost passed me by. And it wasn’t until afterwards, when other people mentioned what had occurred that it all started to sink in.
Like the Titanic.
I had been let down. Hugely hugely let down, by one of the very people that should have basked in my happiness and loved-up elation.
So what do you do? Let it lie? Because I don’t do being mean. Or shouty. Or vengeful.
And so I’ve just disappeared……. Quietly. Because life is too short to spend on those who don’t want to make any effort to return your calls or emails unless it suits them, don’t respect you enough to turn up on time or do what they say they will, think it’s ok to take and take and take…..
A few weeks back I was discussing the whole debacle with Anna K ( you will recognise her as a frequent RMW commenter!) …. as I think the guilt was getting to me and I was a bit concerned about the nature of this post. These are the wise words she had to share:
A few years ago, on my 26th birthday, I looked around the room and realised that for the first time in my life, all the people that I wanted to be there, were there. There were no “should’s”. Only “want’s”.
26! Why did I leave it so long? I hadn’t realised something very, very basic. You can’t choose your family, but you CAN choose your friends.
When I leave a conversation with a friend, I want to be rejuvinated, energised, reaffirmed. I have energy. They have energy. They give it, I give it, and when I leave them, I feel good. I want to surround myself with people who I respect, who I can learn from, who I admire and love, who make me laugh and make me think. I give a hell of a lot to my friends and, I am, quite frankly, too old to be bothering with people who a) drain my energy or b) make me question myself. As you phrased it, the “toxic friend”.
A friendship should be a thing of balance. You should get from a friend as much as you give. And of course, there will be hard times when a friend leans on you more than you need them. That’s natural. But you look at that person in the round, and know they’d do exactly the same thing for you, and you never, EVER feel taken for granted.
If I’m on the rocks with a friend, I always ask myself this – “If this was a boyfriend, would I put up with it?” You know what, half the time you wouldn’t. But somehow, it’s really hard to “break up” with friends. I’ve done it, and it is brutally gut-wrenching and difficult. It’s like chopping off a limb. Friends grow around you, parts of your life are intertwined, you have a shared history and often that history is more complex and emotionally anchored than a history with a boyfriend has ever been. So why would you put yourself through it? Why would you willingly give your time and effort and energy and love to someone who just sucks it all right up and doesn’t give any back?
Because often, you don’t realise that you deserve better. You have a choice. You do not have to put up with someone just because you’ve known them a long time, or because you have a history, or because you should show loyalty. Not if they make you feel sad, or tired, or lacking. That person has a responsibility towards you, just as you do them. When I “broke up” with my toxic friends, I made a choice – and my choice was to surround myself only with strong, kind, wise friends. Because they help me to be a better person. And because I become a better person through knowing them.
Is that toxic friend helping you to be a better person? I doubt it. I bet you feel drained when you leave them, I bet you feel obligated to call them, and I bet you put up with things you simply do not deserve. You know that line in “As Good As It Gets” – “you make me want to be a better man”. That’s the approach I take to friends. They want me to be the best of myself, and I them. And anyone who drags that down just isn’t welcome.
( I love her……)
So lovelies, now it’s up to you, what are your thoughts on toxic friendships? Any stories or advice to share on your own experiences?
We’re here to talk 😉
Big Loyal Love