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Do Your Friends Inspire or Drain You?

When making friends as an adult, we often forget the wisdom we were told as children: “choose your friends wisely.” However, an illness or crisis will quickly remind you and reveal your true relationships. Friends are influential in who we become and how we feel. They can help us become better people and feel more optimistic and confident. Or they can drain us, making us more critical, confused, overwhelmed, and pessimistic.

The holiday season makes us all a little frantic. Having the stability of supportive friend is essential for our mental health. This is a good time to pay attention to how your friends influence your life. Are you enabling the drainers and spending less time with the inspiring friends? Below are five types of friends that are best in small doses.

  1. Friends with a victim mentality. Some friends make life all about them. They have daily pity parties and believe their problems are not their responsibility. They carry an entitled attitude, thinking they deserve more because they are more important or better than others. They will drain you dry with their daily “problems” and aren’t sensitive to your time or personal struggles. They rarely ask how you are doing and will always turn the focus back to themselves.

  2. Friends that are always negative. It’s almost impossible to feel joy or optimism if you’re surrounded by negative people. These people are rarely supportive of your goals and try to talk you out of bettering yourself or your life. It’s impossible for them to find beauty in the messiness of life or seek a silver lining. Of course, no one is happy all the time but seeking joy is part of the human experience that adds meaning to life.

  3. Friends that are ungrateful. These friends rarely say thank you or, worse, don’t think they should. Part of being mentally healthy is appreciating small acts of kindness. If your friends refuse to say thank you or acknowledge you going out of your way for them, resentment will brew, and you may become bitter. Surround yourself with friends who are grateful and appreciative of your flexibility and generosity.

  4. Friends who try to fix you. Some friends fixate on finding faults and love to tell you what you should do. These know-it-all friends may think they’re helping you, but they are just lowering your self-confidence. Only finding fault in someone blinds you to the good within that person. These friends are often insecure and project their insecurity onto you.

  5. Friends who try to manipulate you. These friends are willing to use you to get what they want. When you go out, it’s their plan or no plan. No one can control you but you; have the courage to break up with this type of friend and find one who wants to share your life without controlling it.

You don’t need a lot of friends to be happy. One good friend who supports your goals and believes in you can help you become the best version of yourself. When we feel good about ourselves, we’re able to be more generous and loving towards others. Our friends are our supporters, mentors, and encouragers; they add meaning and purpose in our lives. The best way to make great friends is to be the best friend you can for others.


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