The beginning of a new friendship is a little like a crush – without all the romantic mumbo jumbo, that is. It’s a whirlwind of emotions and excitement when you deeply connect with another person on a soul level. They “get” you and your quirks, and still like you in spite of it. The last thing you want to consider when meeting a potential new bestie are red flags and looming problems. Why focus on the yucky stuff when the awesome is so, well, awesome?
You aren’t naive enough to think any relationship is problem-free, right? Even best friends eventually hit bumps in the road. But it does seem that some relationships are easier from the get-go, while others battle strife right off the bat. The big question we all face in a new friendship is whether it’s worth it to invest our time, energy and talent in this person and let them into our close sphere of best buds.
When should you work through problems versus throwing up the flag and admitting the friendship simply isn’t meant to be a close one? If your friendship is plagued with hurt feelings and misunderstandings, ask yourself the following three questions.
1. Is Your Friend High-Maintenance?
Is your new friend a high-drama diva? Is every day a new crisis to be dismantled or a long-winded venting session with no room for you to get a word in? While true life challenges are opportunities to grow and develop a relationship, constant whining about the small stuff gets overwhelming quickly. Ask yourself whether your friend is truly happy for you when you have success or if they only revel in their (and your) disappointments and chaos. Friendship needs to be a give and take of support, celebration, tears and encouragement. If it gets to the point when you dread answering a friend’s call or text, it might be time to evaluate the relationship and see if there are underlying issues that need to be addressed.
2. Is The Friendship Draining Or Giving You Life?
It’s crazy how a friendship that started with so much fun and laughter can go south so quickly. All of a sudden, your new friend gets jealous of other relationships and starts lashing out with a snarky comment here and there. You are shocked because you clearly missed this side of their personality when you first started hanging out. Did they really just get irritated because you made plans with a friend from college or your spouse instead of them? If you already feeling smothered, offended, frustrated and ready to explode in a friendship of only a few months, it might be a bigger problem than you think. Generally speaking, if you can’t get along well now, it’s not going to get better.
3. Is Your Friend Trustworthy?
True friends are rare, so be picky about who you let into your inner circle. These are the people you will drop everything for in the middle of the night and sign waivers for to take care of their kids in the event of an emergency, so don’t take on a risky friendship without considering the cost to your peace. At the same time, think about whether this person cares enough to do the same for you. Do you trust them to always have your back when you need them? Having a friendly relationship is one thing, but you should only allow someone to venture into BFF territory after you’ve established that they are worthy of your trust.
Through Thick and Thin Or For A Season
Some friendships are convenient because you are in the same workplace, neighborhood or routine, but once you leave the shared space, the closeness dwindles. Relationships take work, so if you (or they) aren’t willing to make the calls and set aside the time to keep up the friendship, it will fade. Discerning whether your friend is a long term-friend or a seasonal friend can help you to prioritize the relationship, especially if you two are already struggling.
Some problems come up because friends don’t know each other well enough and haven’t figured out each other’s personality, communication style and baseline belief systems. These bumps in the road usually work themselves out over time with understanding and patience. More significant issues arise from distinct incompatibility and extreme contrasting beliefs – some of which can be attractive in the initial phase of a friendship yet repelling later on. These kinds of difficulties mostly likely won’t go away and will only get worse.
All friendships take time to discover and discern if they are good fit, but once you know what you want and don’t want in a relationship, there’s no reason to drag your heart through the mud and get hurt over and over once you realize this isn’t a person worth investing in as a close friend. End it quick and move on to discover God’s best for you.
You may also be interested in 3 Must-Have Qualities To Look For In A Best Friend