“Make new friends but keep the old – one is silver and the other gold.” In my short stint of Girl Scouts, that chant is still stuck in my head. Do we have to keep all of the old? Do we really have to make new friends? This seems like a lot of work. I sound pathetic but it’s how I feel. I am at the point where I feel that I cannot change the people around me, but I can change the people I choose to be around.
It seems impossible right now with all we have going on. This chapter of life can be hard. Can people even relate to me having twins and a toddler now? Building careers and raising families can make it difficult to maintain friendships that already exist. I have observed that women in their 30s are bit more set in their ways. They have existing relationships that they form in their 20s or even before that and may feel stuck in their existing personal social circles. Recently, I have felt that nurturing and maintaining close social relationships should be thought of as part of a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a good relationship and surrounding yourself with good people should be considered just as much as eating healthy and exercising.
I read something the other day that defined in a few sentences the friend I want to be – “You can take your “I’m okay” hat off now, it’s okay to fall apart. I am right here.” I loved what this meant to me. It is what I value and the realness I crave in a friendship. But can I expect this out of my friends in return? In your 30s, you figure out what you need in a friend – this should be the most important time in trying to find that for yourself.
Now for the weed out process – the hardest part for a lot of us. Toxic friends are like emotional vampires that suck all of the energy out of you. I visualize toxic friends or even family at times being like weeds in your garden that need to be plucked so that you can flourish. Despite what my garden really looks like at my house, you get my gist. The task of weed eating is not easy. It is a chance to get rid of negativity in our lives. By weeding out damaging influences, it’s important for us to recognize what we consider as “damaging.” When I truly thought about this, “damaging” to me was the disappointment I constantly felt. I felt let down time and time again by certain friends. I felt that I was putting forth all of the effort which was exhausting. It began to be a negative part of my life because I wasn’t doing anything about it, I was just bitter with those friends. If I had to compare it to other relationships, it was not benefiting me in any way. It was making me angry, bitter and NOT a better person. I leave some friends after an hour feeling like my bucket is overflowing with A LOT of awesome. I leave a whole weekend with other friends and feel like I need a meditation retreat, a therapist, an acupuncturist, a pastor, a massage, and a deep cleanse to decompress from the gossip and negativity it made me feel. It made me take a hard look at myself and who I surround myself with. I have way too much going on to have friends add stress to my life. I need them to fill my bucket in some way with positivity.
Friendships change over the years and that’s okay. This topic had me deeply thinking about what relationships were important to me, and what were the relationships I just felt stuck in. What are the relationships that you currently value? What relationships are feeding you positively, mentally, and spiritually? Are there relationships that you need to pour more into or ones you should probably release?
At first, I thought my expectations for my friends were too high – leaving me disappointed over and over again. I relied on my friends to fill me with happiness and positivity that I should have been seeking within myself. People change, lives change, surroundings change, and you change. Maybe it isn’t exactly changing but growing. The one thing that is growing, steadfast & never failing is your relationship with the Lord. I feel that if you have that personal relationship with Him, he will bless your life in abundance with healthy relationships that will thrive and give you life.
When you lean on Him, you surrender, you trust. When I wasn’t trusting 100%, I was asking myself these questions; “Who is genuine? What relationships are real? Who is going to keep my secrets? Who is going to have my back when someone is talking behind it? Who is going to celebrate my successes? Who is going to cry and feel my pain with me? Who is going to not try to compete with me?” It seemed that finding friends that check all of the boxes were few and far between. If you trust God’s plan for you, you can release these worries to Him. Of course, it is easier said than done, but I strive to release it all to Him and know that he will guide this piece of my life. I trust that He will place the right relationships in my path and lead me to maintain or release those relationships.
Are these struggles that you also face? Take a moment with me to digest what is best for your well-being. What relationships seem toxic to you right now? Make sure you lean on the Lord to guide you in what relationships you should pursue and pour into. What is important to you and what is best for your positive lifestyle? You are a product of what you surround yourself with. I encourage you to make it positive – make it meaningful. There are some amazing friends out there and I am insanely blessed with a lot of them, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t also face challenges as relationships grow and flow throughout the years.
Is there a Daniel Tiger jingle for this?