Photo by Toa Heftiba from Unsplash
Over the years, the definition of friendships has changed. From the constant exposure to media, it has displayed to us different portrayals of friendship in various situations. This has made us believe that a friendship must be this, must be that, and if the criteria aren’t met, then you need to reevaluate your friends. This false ideology has tainted our friends and even discouraged us to forge newer bonds because we’re afraid we won’t be able to fulfill the roles of what a friend must be.
Even worse, social media has played a critical role in persuading us that we should be making friends at a particular time of our lives and if we don’t, we won’t ever going to have friends. As a result, we grow up integrating these ideas and standards of friendship that turn into a common misconception. These misconceptions trick us into abiding by these “rules” and this is what holds us back from creating an authentic, mutual trust between two people.
We all know that large friend group in school who acts like they have the best set of friends ever when everybody knows they talk behind each other’s backs and spread their secrets. This is also the usual friend group that gets into fights with other people and makes your high school or college experience awful. When you make friends, try not to surround yourself with a friend group that isn’t good for you or doesn’t make you want to be yourself. Be with a group of friends who help you strive to be better and pay respect to your choices. Be with friends who make you happy.
8 MYTHS ABOUT FRIENDSHIPS THAT NEED TO STOP:
YOU NEED TO TELL EVERYTHING TO YOUR FRIEND
Even when you tell your friend almost everything, you don’t have to tell her if you’re not comfortable, not ready. Privacy is important, and if your friend doesn’t respect that, then it can be safe to imply that they’re all for the gossip and not to help. Some things are better kept to yourself, and you don’t even have to defend your reasons. You’re not obligated to say everything directly. Friends who demand to be told first are selfish and immature.
When you don’t want to share your problem with your friends right away, that doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t trust them. It can mean that you want to handle this problem by yourself for a while, in hopes that you can manage it on your own. You don’t want to involve or bother your friend because you know she is doing something else important. Besides, you never know when your friend is going to betray you and spill all your secrets to other people.
If your friendship is unstable, the higher the likelihood that the trust is already gone and it makes it unwise to tell personal stories to them. If they’re truly your friend they would not force you to open up if you’re not comfortable with it. They should respect your reasons and feelings. Most of all, they need to set the boundary between thinking about what’s best for them and giving them the respect of choice.
THEY GET TO PICK WHOM YOU DATE
Friends who dictate who you should be in a relationship with are disrespectful and immature. It’s similarly the same logic when friends get too possessive and don’t let you engage with other friend groups. This behavior is selfish and harmful to both of you. They may tell you that they know you better than you know yourself (in a friendly intonation) but they don’t.
They act as if they have the best judgment to choose which men “deserve” you so they either discourage you and make you feel guilty when it’s somebody they don’t approve of or push you to someone they think is right for you. They insist that they must have a say on whom you get to date. They think their qualifications, standards, opinions about your man should matter in your relationship.
If you choose not to listen to them, they make fun of you and your partner in your pictures and make you or the other feel embarrassed with each other. They start spreading stupid rumors to their other friends until more eyes interfere with your relationship. It’s either they are the single ones in your group who are jealous or insecure because you have something they don’t have. Don’t be friends with these types of people; they may make you believe like they only care for you but if that’s true, then why are you losing both a friendship and a romantic relationship before they have even blossomed?
THE MORE, THE MERRIER
More friends don’t mean more happiness. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The more people you consider friends, the less genuine your connection with each of them because you’re not getting to know them on an even deeper level. In a way, it may be more fun when you have many friends as a company when going out or traveling but when it comes to building a real bond, it’s never going to work. It shouldn’t be a burden to find the right friends for the right situations because they will come naturally.
You don’t have to fulfill an accepted number of friends in your friend group to make it happy and complete because quantity is irrelevant. It’s already hard enough to maintain a friendship with one or two people, and even as the years go by, it feels like you’re yet to know more of them. Your friend group may get bigger in size but it doesn’t necessarily increase in value.
HAVING NO FRIENDS MEANS THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU
True friends are so rare to find these days that it’s understandable when people have found a way to fill in the gap inside their hearts aside from the company of friends. Some become skeptical and cynical when making friends due to terrible experiences in the past, and you can’t blame them for not reaching out to new friends. Having fewer friends than other people or having no one to consider your best friend doesn’t make you any less of an awesome friend.
It may imply that you have a strong personality that others can’t deal with or at times, you can be rude, but who isn’t? If you are capable of loving and sharing a friendship, there will always be someone who will want to be your friend. There isn’t something wrong with you nor are you incapable of being a friend. We all have lapses and insecurities, and as long as you’re open to forging new relationships, we can always improve on them.
YOU NEED TO GIVE EACH OTHER PRESENTS
Some people think you need to give each other presents all the time. They make it a requirement to give each other presents with or without an occasion, and it’s putting a lot of pressure on those who are not so fortunate to give anything of their caliber. If you truly care about your friends, you wouldn’t put them in a position where they have to sacrifice their well-being and their family’s health and safety just so they can participate in your little gift-giving.
The sad part about all this is when you don’t have a gift to give, they start talking about the gifts they’ve given to you and make you feel bad about it. Without a gift, you’re an awful friend. When your friends do this, this means they don’t see your friendship as a special, mutual connection but a convenient outlet to receive material goods and intangible benefits out of deceit.
This narrows and limits our purpose as a friend to only be concerned to material gifts and not to loyalty and compassion to want the best for our friends. Giving tangible gifts (especially ridiculously pricey ones) is not and never will be a necessity for a stable and long-lasting friendship. If you use this as a basis of your bond, no genuine love or support happening underneath all the fancy stuff, and therefore, is pointless.
YOU NEED TO FOLLOW THEIR ADVICE
Someone’s not your friend if they force you that they should have a say in the situation. Some friends take it as an offense if you do not ask for their advice, or worse, make you the bad guy for not trusting them enough. Some people are just too narcissistic to insist that your situation needs to involve them and their “wisdom” to get you out of your misery. They think you’re either disrespecting them or not valuing them enough as a friend to ask for advice and follow it like you’re obligated to.
Beware of these types of people— they are secretly manipulating you and are selfish even at the expense of their friends. This kind of friend is too opinionated to the point that they interject their thoughts into the conversation but contribute no significant help to the problem whatsoever. All they want is to be validated as a friend to you but don’t exert the effort and make the time for you generously to be one.
YOU NEED TO SHARE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE
Friends who demand that your things should be shared are invaders of privacy, and apparently, don’t observe personal hygiene. Friends don’t get your stuff without permission and insist your friendship is enough of a reason to go through your things unless you allow them. You need to ask for permission no matter how close of a friend you are. It’s still very important to protect your privacy and respect your right as the owner.
Many friendships are ruined because people touch their friends’ things without consent and don’t even realize the value it has to them. They either lose it, break it, or let someone hold it temporarily and eventually got lost, having no one to hold accountable. This will not only leave your friend’s sentimental heart crestfallen, but this will also affect the level of trust in your friendship. To avoid all this, know your boundaries and ask for permission when borrowing or taking something.
FRIENDS WILL NEVER DO ANYTHING TO HURT YOU
This is a misconception that most people find it very hard to believe. Before they became your friends, they had a life without you including regrettable actions they’ve done in the past that you may not be pleased about. Friends can hurt you, and sometimes, you will hurt each other but that’s normal in any friendship. You will say some brutally honest things that will help your friend open her eyes to the mistake she’s about to make, and if that’s what it takes, it’s all right.
Sometimes, it takes tough love to keep our loved ones away from harm. In fact, it raises a red flag when your friend doesn’t warn or express his concern about you when you’re about to commit a huge mistake. It can mean that he doesn’t care for you as much or he wants something unlikely to happen to you. It’s better to have someone who can slap you back to reality than someone who will lead you into traps. If you’re willing to accept each other’s lapses and find common ground, then you can save your friendship despite the hurtful words you said to one another.
A friendship, no matter what shape or form, is special in its core. For some, it’s a rare opportunity to find someone you can truly relate to and be comfortable with sharing your deepest thoughts and secrets. Don’t forget that true friendship is more than the posh places you went together or the expensive things you give to one another on every special occasion. It goes beyond faults, quarrels, and even distance. Don’t allow other people’s definitions of friendships to destroy the friendship you have or refrain you from building a bond with someone because you don’t fit their standards. In a friendship’s very interior, it’s love bounded in deep trust that keeps it alive and firm.
“One of the tasks of true friendship is to listen compassionately and creatively to hidden silences. Often secrets are not revealed in words, they lie concealed in the silence between the words or in the depth of what is unsayable between two people.”John O’Donohue