Remember the song “Easy” by Lionel Richie?
The song is a slow break-up ballad of a man expressing his feelings after a relationship ends. Instead of feeling depressed about it, he feels a huge weight has been lifted off his shoulders hence the line “I’m easy like Sunday morning”.
That’s how my client felt by the end of her session, but that’s not where she started.
She opened the session with “I feel so bad about myself right now.” She was experiencing tightness in her gut, chest, shoulders, and jaw.
She had a recent conversation with a ‘friend’ who took the liberty of letting her know all the things she thought my client should be doing better, more of and less of. This included how she ran her business, her marriage and her household.
I couldn’t believe it. This person came to her house and scolded her for not doing things this woman thought should be done.
Say what now?
Friends should not make you feel bad about yourself. Not ever.
That was all I could think as my client’s story unfolded about this friendship.
Her big question was whether or not she should continue to ‘work at the friendship’ or just walk away. Turns out, this was not the first time she left a conversation with this ‘friend’ feeling this way.
I know, no one can make you feel bad unless you let them.
When you open your world to someone you want to have a friendship with, when you tell them things in privacy from a vulnerable state, you also want to be able to trust that your friend has your back, that your friend can listen, support, and encourage.
Maybe even challenge you if that’s what is needed but from a place of strength not superiority.
I have an amazing friend and when I’m in a low place, she’s there for me. When I’m in a negative mindset, she has a way of helping me see my way up. She challenges me but at the same time she reminds me all that I’m capable of and more.
And she never does it by putting me down. I feel lighter, brighter and ready for life again. We do this for each other.
So while no one can make you feel bad unless you let them, you can feel hurt, disappointed and confused that someone you trust and open up to would take your life, your feelings, you – who you are – and throw it like a pie in your face with judgement sprinkled on top.
You shouldn’t have to apply all your energy tools, confidence boosters and self-talk – just to stay friends with someone who continually points out what they see as your flaws, who makes you feel like you’re being watched and gives you their two worthless cents of orders, telling you how to live your life.
By the end of our time on the call my client gave some liberty back to herself with the decision to walk away from the relationship that she wished was a true friendship.
I was happy to feel the weight lifting from her heart, the tightness releasing in her body and I could feel her spirit lifting.
My client, like so many I have the privilege to coach, works her tail off, runs her own business that she bootstrapped from the ground up and handles more in a day than many people handle in a week. She has a kind heart, looks out for others and has a ton of love to share. She will go out of her way to put a smile on someone else’s face.
Not only was that woman out of line to talk to my client the way she did, she never pointed out all the goodness, never gave my client a high five or congratulations for her achievements, she never showed appreciation. She just criticized her.
Not the kind of friend anyone wants to have.
During the session we talked briefly about the conversation she had and how it made her feel, but we focused the majority of our time on what she really wanted as far as the type of friend she would love to have in her life.
I asked her a few questions to get her started on clarifying what that match friendship looked and felt like for her – what was her ’10’ level kind of friendship.
- How do you want to feel when you’re around this person? After you spend time together? When you think of this person?
- What type of activities do you enjoy together? Do you need to be doing anything at all or is just being together the fun of it?
- How does this person communicate with you? How do they encourage you? How do they challenge you to be better in a positive way?
- Where is this person in their own life? Are they happy, growing, open, fulfilled, positive?
After she dished out all the amazingness of her match friendship – we compared the friendship she was questioning to her 1-10 scale.
Now that she had a clear idea of what a 10 was, it was easier for her to see a more tangible answer.
She didn’t even hesitate to say it was well below a 5 for her. Wow! A year of effort into this friendship that was not really a match to begin with.
I asked her to go back to the very first time she met this person and observe her FIRST feeling. She admitted, it wasn’t positive. But she really wanted to make it a friendship so she opened her life and let this person in.
It’s so, so important to get clear about what you want and what that looks like and feels like – for you – first.
Don’t just talk yourself into making something out of what can never be. You end up with a long list of struggle, conversations and experiences that wear you down.
I empower my clients to make their decisions from self first but sometimes it is helpful to make the decision more tangible with the “what is a 10 for you?” process.
My client left the call feeling lighter, empowered with her decision to walk away and more excited to meet a friend who was a great match for her.
Have you ever felt anything like this in a friendship?
I hope not, but if you have, you’re not alone. I’ve been there too.
It’s much easier to recognize early on and to walk away, especially when you are clear about your ideal friendship qualities and you will find yourself blessed with friends who are a match.
If you’ve struggled with a friendship or are questioning one right now, be true to yourself first. And if you need support, book a call and let me know what’s up.