03 Oct Friendology & Vampirism: Choosing friends who don’t suck
Happy friends = happy life
Friendships are unique relationships based in commonality and admiration. You’ve heard of the saying happy wife, happy life… Friends hold the same value when it comes to brightening your life and fulfilling your need for connection. Friends are the family you get to choose as important influences on how you live, love, and enjoy precious moments. In choosing happy, loving friends it is inevitable that you in turn will exemplify those same characteristics. You are a reflection of the company you keep, so it’s important to keep good company!
On the other hand, some friends just… suck. Like a vampire. Instead of making you feel good about yourself, a vampire friend will drain your energy – emotionally, physically, and socially. These are the friends who are only focused on themselves, barely listening to anyone else’s contribution to the conversation, and have very little self-awareness. If you know this type of person, you know they also most likely drink blood and have an aversion to garlic. Continuing to have a vampire friend in your life can have a negative impact on your own well-being and happiness, so it might be time to channel your inner Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Numbers don’t lie
Maybe there’s a “friend” who comes to mind when trying to decide who’s human and who has fangs in your social circle. Although some researchers actually developed what’s called “The Friendship Rating Scale”, your friendship reflection can also be as simple as rating a friend on a scale of 1 to 10 (the higher the ranking, the more vampire-y they are). Think about domains such as respect, commitment, trust, loyalty, and any other qualities that are important to you in a friend. Be honest with yourself… the numbers don’t lie.
Friendship break ups
So, what happens when you decide that you no longer want to live among vampires? Studies show that friendship breakups can be equally as difficult and challenging as a romantic breakup due to the loss of someone who you’ve relied on for emotional support, socialization, and shared significant memories with in your life. Although a tough challenge lies ahead, there is optimism in a happier, less blood sucking, future.
Friend vs. therapist: Who to choose and when
Protecting your own mental health is a particularly valid reason for letting go of friendships that don’t fulfill you. The anxiety and maybe even depression that can come from a bad, vampire friend can feel hard to overcome. Although it can be helpful to lean on other friends and family to support you through this negative experience, if you’re feeling exceptionally overwhelmed in maintaining your emotional well-being, therapy can help. A therapist can offer an objective perspective and offer guidance on the next steps of dealing with problematic relationships.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to identify and deal with challenging friendships and/or relationships, I welcome you to book an appointment with me at Still Waters Psychology
Author: Kennedy Paterson