In a time in life and love where it’s easy to swipe left or right, to ghost someone—Casper the not-so-friendly ghost—and choose your own adventure, it’s easy to look at friendships as disposable.
But could it also be true that we hold on for too long? To a destiny not meant for us through friendships based on convenience rather than growth?
“We need, in love, to practice only this: letting each other go. For holding on comes easily; we do not need to learn it.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
A best-friend is a non-romantic soulmate that deserves every bit of care and attention that you put into your significant and not-so-significant others. I broke up with my best friend of more than 10 years. We had met in graduate school together, dated best friends, and after we broke up with them and countless others over time we remained in constant connection.
Over a decade of friendship and I ended it all in one phone call.
I never saw it coming. I thought we had a relationship built on total honesty, transparency and a ride or die attitude that would see us through to the twilight years and beyond. But, this wasn’t the reality.
The day after her wedding, she and her new hubby sat me down and told me about his criminal history, and how he may be facing significant prison time. While this was a red flag, the even bigger red flag is that she pretended that a mutual friend was jealous of my BFF’s new found love and happiness—when really, she simply voiced her doubts about a two month courtship and marrying someone so quickly with a major legal battle ahead, out of complete love and concern.
I had compassion for them. I really liked her fiancé and now-husband. But, I could no longer be friends with someone who so blatantly manipulated me. It became clear to me, in her worldview, a good friend is someone who serves as a guide as you climb up bullsh*t mountain. If you’re feeling bad about a situation, here’s the “Take No Responsibility Pass”, and as you hike further up, “It’s All Their Fault Trail” you’ll find there’s no mountaintop, and no destination on bullsh*t mountain. You just simply go in circles.
When we try to hide things from others and especially ourselves, it’s a real wake-up call that we’re out of integrity.
Here are 5 signs your friendship is not based in integrity:
- Is the other person trying to manipulate you into their version of truth? Do they really embrace their responsibility for the life they have created, or are they constantly blaming others?
- Do you spend much of your time talking about and judging others from a place of superiority rather than curiosity?
- Is your friend constantly wallowing in dramatic situations, unable to find a way out of the cycle and continuously drawing you into their self-created misery? This is a cue that it’s time to find and create friendships that have a balance of realness, gratitude, and grace.
- Is this person part of your future, part of your destiny? Or, are they consciously or subconsciously trying to hold you back? Key question: Does this person support you in being the best version of yourself?
“Our true friends are those who are with us when the good things happen. They cheer us on and are pleased by our triumphs. False friends only appear at difficult times, with their sad, supportive faces, when, in fact, our suffering is serving to console them for their miserable lives.” ~ Paulo Coelho
5 signs that you have a solid relationship:
- You challenge each other to be better people. One of the things I could only see in retrospect was that we were keeping each other from growing by supporting and endorsing each other’s bullsh*t. Are you enabling poor judgment? Or, are you supporting and challenging them?
- You are committed to the other person’s success. This doesn’t mean talking behind their back at any point in time.
- You know how to be the #1 fan in the stands, cheerleader and coach.
- You are inspired by the other person.
- And then there is this: Beyond the transactional aspects of relationships (what is this person giving me)—have we created a sacred container that has space for our very human failings, fears, and doubts, and the blessings of good news, with a set-point of abundant love?
Solid friends are deeply committed to the relationship as a sacred part of life—that requires nurturing, difficult conversations and a purity of intention.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” ~ Jim Rohn
Too often in friendships we presume that we can just pick up the phone and start right where we left off. But what I realized after I found out she was hiding something significant from me, was that this is only true if there is a foundation of honesty, transparency and if someone was willing to share their shame with you. I was just as responsible as she was in our hikes up bullsh*t mountain and with 20/20 hindsight I can see clearly now that I enabled and supported a worldview that didn’t serve our highest selves.
And just because it ended, doesn’t mean it didn’t work out. This is true for any relationship. Instead of painting the whole relationship as a sham with one broad stroke, be appreciative of the moments, the connection, and the person you are today because of your time with them. Sometimes, it’s simply time to move on.
From time to time, I take a hike up bullsh*t mountain, but my most trusted friends and guides gently holler at me to “get down!” and remind me of the person I want to be.
If you find yourself taking a hike up bullsh*t mountain, and not closing in on the truth, you’re holding each other back. Equally. A best-friend is a sacred partnership: someone you should be able to disclose all to, and gain strength from, and transcend the comfortable allure of bullsh*t mountain. It’s okay to let go to and say yes to the invitation of the life your highest self has carved out for you. No need to RSVP. Just show up.
“Close some doors today, not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they lead you nowhere.” ~ Paulo Coelho
Author: Kristi Kremers
Editor: Erin Lawson
Images: Pixaby/Ben_Kerckx // Flickr/Illusive Photography
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