Are Your Friends Good for you? 5 Simple Steps to Review Your Friendships and Find Out!

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Friendship-Dogs-Sharing-SecretWe all know that friends are the family we CHOOSE in life. But are your friendships inspiring, supporting and encouraging you? Or are your friendships strained, stressful or unfulfilled?

Relationships that serve us are inspiring or energising and we need to nurture them or we’re missing an opportunity to grow and have fun! But we can also outgrow a friendship – when we evolve and they don’t.

Just like any healthy relationship – a friendship will have rough patches and we shouldn’t discard a friend simply because times get tough. But if your gut is telling you to move on, that this person isn’t right for you, it may be time to pay attention and let go.

So, how do you know if a friendship is serving you or not? Well, the big question is, after spending time with your friends, how do you feel about yourself? Do you feel energised, inspired, happy, supported or  encouraged OR do you feel drained, discouraged or somehow worth less?

Try these 5 Steps to Review, Declutter and Detox Your Friendships:

  1. Make a list of the 10-20 friends and people you spend most of your time with.
  2. Then, for each one ask yourself: “How do I feel after spending time with this person?” 
  3. Then to make this exercise really helpful, add a score from +5 to -5 to represent how you generally feel after spending time with them. Obviously – scores mean you feel somehow less or negative about yourself and your life, and the + scores represent feeling better about yourself and your life.
  4. Now, reviewing your list, think about how much time you spend with each friend. Are you spending more time with the ‘pluses’ or the ‘minuses’? Do you have friends that energise and inspire you – the +4s and +5s on your list? What about drainers – the -4s or -5s?
  5. Look at your plus friendships: If you’re not already, find ways to spend more time with them. Don’t have any +4s and +5s? You may want to think about developing some friends that will be that support and boost in life!
    Looking at your minus friendships: Just because the friendship is a low score doesn’t necessarily mean you should dump your friend – there may be a wound or grievance that needs to be brought into the open and discussed. Or it may be that YOU have some ‘processing’ to do because YOU feel less around them – but it’s YOU doing the judging and not them. AND it may be that you do need to simply spend less time with them or to change the ACTIVITIES that you do with them. For example, if you can’t bear to let go of a friend just yet, you could go to the cinema with them instead where you’ll interact less…

Friendship is important – and having the right friends is crucial to your development. Almost EVERY success book will tell you that WHO you spend your time with impacts your life – if you want to be successful, hang around with like-minded people.

So, in summary – and back to Valentines and Friendship Day. It’s a great opportunity to review and reflect on which friendships are serving us and which are not. For those that are no longer serving us, we may have some difficult choices to make.

And for those friends that are fabulous? For those friends who are there for you, who support, encourage and inspire you – find a way to recognize them! What is it about them that you love? And then whether it’s a heartfelt thank-you with a hug and appreciative words over a cup of coffee or glass of wine, a letter, email or a spontaneous gift – make sure THEY know how much YOU love and appreciate them!

“A friend is a gift you give yourself.” Robert Louis Stevenson

Other Useful Self-Coaching Tools & Resources around Friendship:

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6 Responses to Are Your Friends Good for you? 5 Simple Steps to Review Your Friendships and Find Out!

  1. Jean says:

    I was never one to have a lot of friends, I have a couple real good ones. In the past I have drifted away from others and realized after the friendship came to an end that I realized that after we spent time together I would feel like exhausted, sad, frustrated, etc and because of those feelings the time I would set aside to spend with that person diminished until we just stopped hanging out. No big discussion about it the freindship just fizzled out.

    30 Days of Gratitude Challenge Coach

    • Emma-Louise says:

      Thanks Jean. Interesting that you allowed the friendship to fizzle out – and that there were no painful discussions. Probably the kindest ending for both of you. And even though we may be the one to outgrow a friendship – it can still be painful and we need to allow time to grieve. A slow fizzling out allows time for us to adjust and mentally say our goodbyes. Thanks for that perspective. Warmly, EL

  2. A few years ago, I had to cut ties & distance myself from a very toxic friendship. It was hard and she could not understand at the time. A lot of growth happened during that season and after approx 1 year, we resumed the friendship. Totally began on a strong footing, let go of the old and began anew. It grew strong because the foundation was now on solid ground. Just saying… sometimes we have to cut ties. Great post! Loved it…

    • Emma-Louise says:

      Hi Norma. A different perspective to Jean’s – and another useful perspective. That time apart can allow for both parties to grow and it’s not always the end! As you said, sometimes a new beginning gives us a new stronger footing. Great addition – thanks Norma. Warmly, EL

  3. what an amazing summary of ‘friends’ and I love the De-Cluttering list – I will be following this advice,
    Thanks Emma-Louise 🙂

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