The Dark Side of Friendship: Options vs. Priorities

​The start of a new friendship is a beautiful thing. It starts with small talk and then, it moves into the deep conversations about life and the universe. Little by little it blossoms, taking roots deep within your heart. The stronger it gets, the more it shines.

What we often don’t realize, is the more it shines, the more fragile it gets. How easy it is for it to shatter one and another, if things get sour. That is the risk of friendship. The rewards far outweigh the risks, but this very real, dark side of friendship is what no one likes to talk about. They say that a person can only hurt you if you give them the power to do so. You hand over that power, wrapped with a nice bow, to your close friends.

One facet of the darkness is when you become an option for someone who is your priority. At the start, you don’t notice it. You haven’t even become aware at how rapidly they’re becoming an integral part of your life. You’re satisfied with whatever little of them you can get, every minute is valuable. And then the ‘honeymoon’ phase ends and the trouble begins.

You start to notice little things: you’re always initiating the conversations, you’re the one making all the plans, you’re the one who’s available for them at the drop of a hat. But where are they when you need them? Where were they when you cried yourself to sleep alone? Where were they when you needed a hug? Where were they when you simply had a craving for a night out? Not available, that’s where.

It’s a hard place to be. You hope and you wish they felt differently, or that they’ll come around and realize your worth, but the sad truth is that if they haven’t yet, after all you’ve said and done, they aren’t likely to. So once you accept that, the next logical step? You decide to demote them from the high rankings in your heart. However, it’s not that simple. You find it hard to brush them aside and treat them like they treat you. It’s not easy to discount someone so important from your life. You’re afraid of the gaping hole their absence will leave in it’s wake.

Every time, the far and few times, their name lights up your phone screen, you start to smile and then the little stab to the open wound reminds you not to. You rush to reply, then go on to feel pathetic about yourself. What is the right thing to do? Should you continue to be the amazing friend you are? Or should you ditch them for someone who actually values you? I’d definitely vote for the latter.

You need to have enough self-esteem to cleanse your life of everything that brings you down. And such friendships do just that. They kick at your confidence and leave you feeling bruised and aching. Realize your worth, realize you’re better than that, you deserve more. Let go of the toxic friendships. Don’t be afraid of the short stint of loneliness, if it happens – you’re freeing yourself for someone who will deserve you. Surround yourself with people who boost you to be the best version of you. Let friendship be the beautiful shining star it started out to be.

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