A girl in her mid-twenties visited me once complaining that she’s having difficulties being around with her best friend for years. She found it difficult to maintain the closeness that she shared with her friend until recently. She felt that the friend had stopped sharing her life details with her as she once used to and that was disturbing her to quite an extent. She had come to me for guidance on how to improve her relationship with her friend. Just when she felt everything was getting back to normal, something would trigger and her friend would react very sharply and get emotionally perturbed and the relationship would once again take a beating. She’s insecure that the friend doesn’t really care for her anymore.
Human psyche doesn’t allow us to keep all our relationships at the same level of intensity they start with. Of course it is always a privilege to have a long association with a friend. But in the process, some things change and some things remain the same. So when it feels that the things are not what they used to be in any friendship, it sets off a warning bell. It’s perfectly alright to have this kind of a feeling occasionally. Everyone goes through some problems in life and it is in those moments that the friendship tends to take a back seat. But if it becomes recurrent in nature, it can be a sign of friendship incompatibility.
Longevity alone can never make a friendship work. It takes a lot of understanding, patience and tolerance to nurture a meaningful friendship. A friendship can be a great self-esteem booster when you know that you won’t be judged and taken for granted. But if a friend is making you unhappy and negatively affecting your life, escaping from it through avoidance will only make it more insurmountable.
Research shows that when times are tough, friends can play a major role in improving our wellbeing. Survival rate in terminally ill patients is four times more for those who are surrounded by true friends. Same is true for patients with cardiac history. They recover faster and better if they have good friends in their support system. Is your friend there for you when you need him/her and vice versa? Is he/she or you very demanding? If the answer to these questions is yes and no respectively, you are on the right track. The core of any relationship is to stick by each other through thick and thin – from beers to tears.
Resolving conflicts between friends in school is very simple but fixing it in adulthood can be daunting. Hence talking it over would any day be a better proposition than avoiding the situation. Explaining reasons for feeling upset can be conveyed. Instead of being confrontational, calmly listening to what the other has to say can make a lot of difference. Like in any relationship, giving space is the mantra for a lasting friendship and hence after making your point, one should wait for the friend to make the next move. Give your friend the space and time to resolve his/ her inner conflicts. If your worth and feelings are not acknowledged and validated, it’s time to move on. Not everyone you lose is a loss.