6 tips to deal with draining friendships

In this podcast (episode #522) and blog, I talk about ways to manage draining friendships.

People influence us. Indeed, we literally wire other people into our brain networks. This is why it is important that we evaluate how the people in our life are impacting us and manage our relationships. 

Here are some tips to help guide you to see if the people you are hanging out with are having a negative impact on your life: 

1. Assess the Reciprocity of the Relationship:

Evaluate whether the friendship is balanced in terms of effort and support. Are you the one always initiating contact, planning activities, or offering help? If your friend consistently takes without giving back, it might be a sign of an unbalanced relationship.

2. Consider How You Feel After Interaction: 

Reflect on your emotions, behaviors, body signals, and perspective after spending time with this friend. Do you feel drained, frustrated, or emotionally depleted? Is the time you are spending with them influencing how you look at life in a negative way? How? Be specific and honest. Healthy friendships should leave you feeling uplifted, valued, and positive. If the consistently don’t, then there is an issue. 

3. Assess Communication and Availability: 

Consider how responsive and available this friend is when you need them. Friends who are genuinely invested in your well-being will make an effort to listen and support you and be honest with you during difficult times.

4. Trust Your Intuition:

Trust your gut feelings/intuition about the friendship. If you find yourself consistently feeling uneasy, uncomfortable, or unfulfilled in the relationship, it's important to acknowledge those feelings.

5. Notice Patterns of Negativity or Drama:

Take note of whether this friend often brings negativity, drama, or unnecessary conflicts into your life. If interactions frequently revolve around complaints, gossip, or tension, it might be a sign that the friendship is draining and not healthy.

6. Evaluate Their Attitude Toward Your Success and Happiness

Pay attention to how your friend responds to your achievements and happiness. Friends who are genuinely supportivewill celebrate your successes and encourage your growth. If your friend seems indifferent, jealous, or dismissive, it could be a sign of toxicity.

If you identify a friendship that seems to fit the above 6 tips, there are several things you can do:

1. Communicate Your Feelings:

Have an open and honest conversation with your friend about how you've been feeling in the relationship. They might genuinely be unaware of how their behavior is affecting you.

2. Set Boundaries:

Establish clear boundaries that prioritize your well-being. This could involve limiting the time you spend with the friend or engaging in activities that nourish your own happiness.

3. Gradually Distance Yourself:

If the relationship continues to drain you and efforts to improve it don't yield positive results, you may need to gradually distance yourself. Focus on nurturing relationships that bring positivity into your life. 

4. Seek Support

If you're struggling to navigate these feelings, consider seeking guidance from a trusted friend, family member, or even a therapist. They can provide valuable perspectives and help you make the best decision for your well-being.

Remember that it's important to surround yourself with friends who contribute positively to your life and support your growth and happiness! 

For more on managing relationships, listen to my podcast (episode #522). If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).     

This podcast is sponsored by:  

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Podcast Highlights

0:25 How friendships change your brain

3:02, 5:36 Ways to tell if a friend is draining you or recharging you 

14:27 How to manage draining friendships 

This podcast and blog are for educational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional.

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