Do Your Friends Add Up?

Photo by NBC

A friend of mine was recently telling me about a tough time she had been having for the last several months. She told me about her stressors with some health issues, some financial concerns she and her partner were having, and the annoyance she was feeling about her poorly-behaved dog.  After she explained all these ailments, she noted that as bad as those were, her “friends” were even worse.

“You wouldn’t believe how they drain me!” she said.  “I realized that far too many of my friends take and take from me, and I never get anything back!”  She explained that on her journey back towards mental health, she forced herself to take stock of her relationships, assigning each person a point value. Negative values were assigned to those who made her feel bad, unhappy, or poorly about herself.  Positive values were assigned to those who helped her feel more like the person she wanted to be (kind, strong, loving, intelligent).

Now, it may sound a little harsh, scoring your friends on what they add or subtract from your life, but I love her idea.  Too often we hang onto relationships we wish would be better, hope would be closer, or feel desperate to change.  And I’m not just talking about romantic relationships – more often these are friendships with old high school friends, a neighbor, or a parent of a child’s friend.

No relationship is perfect, but one that drains for a long period of time can be downright damaging.  Maybe it’s time to take stock of the people in your life and see how they add up?