After graduating college, I found myself losing bonds with my closest friends. The ones I shared everything with, my struggles, well, yeah, just struggles. Life was a struggle bus for me. But when I started seeing gains in my life after college, many just stopped reaching out, chronically flaked, made comments about my new life, just basically dropped off the face of the earth. I have unopened Christmas gifts for my friends dating back to two Christmases ago, and they lived 30 minutes away. How could I have not seen them in two years? And trust me, it’s not for my lack of reaching out. I reach out to my friends at least once a week. And for my very closest, once a day. I am invested in my friendships.
I know I’m not perfect, and I do make mistakes, but these friendships just fizzled out even with my efforts. When I asked them what’s wrong, they said they’re “going through something” or some other variation, but then they constantly post on social media with their other friends? None of them could tell me why they were leaving, and many just faded with no explanation. It was a confusing time for me because I give my friendships 200% all the time, and when they left, there was no conflict or anything like that. Looking back, I now see the signs that they were simply not happy for me and were experiencing insecurity over my progress.
They want you to do well but not better than them. Our friends are usually supportive, they bring us up and we want them to celebrate our triumphs as much as we want to celebrate theirs. Here’s the thing, though: when your success overshadows theirs, it makes them uncomfortable. We are all relative beings and when people see that you are performing better than them in life (or seem to), they get defensive. They see your friendship as competition. They see you as the audience in the stage of their life and your job is to clap for them, but they’re not willing to do the same for you.
They will project their inadequacies onto you. I was just beginning my weightloss journey and have lost a couple pounds, and admittedly, I was feeling myself. I was walking towards my meeting and one of them said afterwards that they noticed I walk “arrogantly.” It was also the same person who said that I was “only doing things that made other people think I was cool” when talking about my involvement with golf and pilates. God forbid I actually enjoyed those things, you know? Needless to say, that friendship is no more. Many people try to bring themselves up by bringing others down. Instead of working on themselves and improving their self-esteem, they bring you down to their level. After all, birds of the same feather, right?
They will fixate on finding faults in your life. When everything seems perfect, we look for faults. I’m guilty of that, but I don’t necessarily do that with my friends’ lives. Life is a process, and it’s never going to be perfect. I noticed that some friends will focus on an aspect of your life that needs work or has potential for failure, sort of as a way to justify to themselves that your life isn’t perfect and somehow the world makes sense once more. “Friends” who constantly bring up negative aspects of your life are just trying to make sense of how unfair it is that your life is this way and theirs is a different way.
It’s very hurtful to lose friends this way, but if you genuinely tried to be a good friend and tried to meet them more than halfway, you’ve done your part. Their reaction to your growth is not your problem as long as you continue to be a kind human being. You can’t hold yourself back to please others. I firmly believe that the energies of people surrounding us affect our own, and I cannot afford to be tainted with their negativity. If they can’t grow with you, it’s time to leave them behind. Allow yourself to find the people you were meant to be with. People who fully support you without reservation. Trust me, they exist.
With love and light,