Every now and then, I read articles saying about how important it is to let go of friends. I’m no stranger to this — in fact, I’m a strong advocate of it. This isn’t just about drifting apart from friends, which is a pretty commonplace occurrence… it’s also making a conscious decision with some people to halt a friendship. I’ve done this a few times — I realized that some people who I thought were friends, well, weren’t.
S’anyway, a lot of these “should you let your friendship go?” articles have lists on spotting these problem friends. They’re usually pretty reasonable, but there’s one line I always disagree with: you should break up with your friend if she’s too negative.
If that were true, I wouldn’t have any friends right now. I’ve gone through some rough times, and if my friends stopped talking to me because I wasn’t positive enough, then I’d be in trouble. I’m grateful that I do have good friends, who have listened to me in my darkest hours, no matter how angry and sad and miserable I got.
At the same time, I don’t expect my friends to be positive all the time. Life has its ups and downs, and I hope my friends can realize that I’ll be there for them, both in good times and bad. They don’t have to censor themselves when their hearts are breaking, when they feel like life is hopeless, or when they’re angry with the world. In fact, I think we’re better friends if we talk about the bad things… because there is trust, and we know that our friendship doesn’t hinge on being positive and being fun to be around all the time.
(On a side note, I find people who are unrealistically positive impossible to deal with. I find the pollyanna way of thinking dismissive and insensitive at times. Give me someone who is real and feels the entire set of human emotions, not someone who tries to project an always happy, exciting, and positive life.)
Sometimes I wonder — did I go through my dark times, relatively earlier than my peers — because it would teach me to be a better friend? I used to be one of those “always be happy” kind of people… and I think that if one of my friends needed help, real help, I might’ve been one of those people who bailed because they were “too negative.” Now, I know not to be dismissive of other people’s problems, and to listen, and to continue to stay, even though things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows.