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Recently I made a bold decision: I decided to discontinue two friendships in my life. I couldn't be friends with them any longer because I hadn't felt respected by them for a while. Before I decided to let go of these relationships, I asked myself the following questions:
1. Would you allow a romantic partner to treat you the same way that your friend treats you?
My partner at the time had stood me up once for a date. I was livid. He asked me why I had been so mad when a couple of friends of mine had stood me up, too, and I had been OK with it. He was right. I made a decision to set clear boundaries because it wouldn't be fair to have a different set of rules for people in my life. Respect is respect, regardless of the position that person holds in your life.
2. Is your friend supportive of your work and actions?
When I had previously gone through a lot of drama, my former friend would offer me food or wine to comfort me. However, I started to notice that as I began to accomplish things, her support dissipated. My friend was feeling unfulfilled in her life and, because of this, she was unable to celebrate my accomplishments. Everyone deserves friends who will celebrate their wins, not only support their weaknesses when they are feeling down.
3. Does your friend use your past against you?
Three years ago, I was in an unhealthy relationship. As a result, I did some unhealthy things to myself. One of the friends with whom that I decided to part ways would continuously remind me that I was "a mess" three years ago. She would say it in a judgemental tone. I'm not sure what her intentions were, all I know is that it hurt my feelings. If you've moved beyond your past and your friend hasn't, they are not being helpful in your growth and not helping you forgive yourself.
4. Do you and your friend engage in speaking negatively about others?
My former friend and I used to gossip about other friends, celebrities, and our neighbors. Eventually I found out that she had gossiped about me, too toward the end of our friendship. It hurt, but it wasn't surprising. Ask yourself if you and your friend spend time speaking negatively about other people. If so, remember that there may come a time when they'll gossip about you, too.
5. Do you and your friend give to one another from your hearts or your minds?
When I had mentioned to one of my friends that I wouldn't be spoken to in the manner in which she had spoken to me, she explained that she had done so much for me, which was reason enough for her to speak to me in a way that I found to be disrespectful. Over the years, we had done things for one another, and she had been keeping score. How much someone gives doesn't accumulate into friendship coupons that can be used against someone's feelings. When you give to get, what you give doesn't come from love—it comes from calculation. True friendships are based on love. Love doesn't keep score.