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8 Signs It’s Time To Break Up With A Friend (Even If You Feel Deeply Sorry)

8 Signs It’s Time To Break Up With A Friend (Even If You Feel Deeply Sorry)

Deciding whether or not to break up with a friend can feel like a roller-coaster ride of emotions. Yet when considered logically, it could clearly be the healthiest choice.

As we go through life, we naturally make new acquaintances and form friendships with a select few. While we put great importance on carefully choosing who we let in, we should remember to cut ties with those who start to drag us down.

It’s really nothing to feel ashamed of. Naturally, people change and you may find yourselves in totally different places. Don’t assume that friends must always be forever, at times it simply can’t be fixed or reconciled. Sometimes you’ve got to consider your own long-term happiness and keep your social circle lean.

It can be a painful experience a friendship changes for the worst, but there’s no need to prolong the hurt. If your relationship possesses any of these eight indicators, it may be time gracefully part ways!

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1. Your Relationship Has Become One-Sided

If your relationship has fallen off-balance and shows no sign of returning, it’s likely they don’t value you as you do them. Constantly having to pursue a friend without much return is terrible, it can even harm your self-worth.

If you’ve let your friend know and it still hasn’t made a difference, quit wasting your energy and let them go!

2. Manipulating and Controlling Behavior Runs Rampant

Stop to reflect on your relationship for a second, have you lost sight of being the real you? If you feel you’re no longer being authentic, relationship toxicity will be building up. Consider whether you or your friend manipulating each other, and why?

Healthy friendships are about sharing the depth of our character, not exploiting each other. If this is the case, it may be time to reassess the whole relationship.

3. They Are Dragging You Down With Them

Are you starting to feel guilty by association? If your friend has a questionable character or behavior, you may want to consider how it reflects back upon you. If they regularly exhibit bullying behavior, others may start to see you in the same light. Or worse yet, it may start to bring out the bully in you!

You’ve got to be careful with who you align or associate yourself with, you may pick up their qualities and mannerisms too.

4. There’s Spiteful Jealous and Furious Competition Between You

Your friendship is well on truly on the rocks if you find yourselves in bouts of jealousy and ruthless one-upping. The constant need to prove yourselves to each other is exhausting rather than comforting.

Remember, friendships should be empowering and encouraging not antagonizing!

5. The Best Thing Between You is History

Sometimes, we find ourselves holding onto lifelong friends for little more than the rich history. But what’s the point of holding on if the only positive part is a recollection of a childhood friendship. You’re now living in the present, where you, your friend and life may be radically different.

The last thing you want to do is hold onto stale relationships purely out of historic honor!

6. They No Longer Contribute Anything Positive to Your Life

Sometimes we’ve simply got to stand up for ourselves. If someone does nothing but bring us down, we must respect ourselves enough to let them go. Friends should be a natural extension of your life, as you should be to theirs.

Whether it’s cheering each other up, spurring each other on or even just having a laugh together. Everyone contributes something different, but make sure it’s positive!

7. The Negative Situations Over-Shadow the Positive Ones

If the bad has begun to outweigh the good, it’s likely your friendship is beginning to sour. A friendship should be mutually beneficial and make both of you happy, not provoke emotional situations or altercations.

While an occasional fallout is quite common, having consistent problems is a strong indicator of incompatibility.

8. They Are Chipping Away At Your Self-Esteem

True friends provide a crucial support system for each other, especially within the associated stresses of modern living. Whenever either one has problems, troubles or doubts, their buddies will rally to provide moral support. This single most important aspect of friendships is raising each other’s self-esteem.

Breaking up with a friend is never easy, but if they are working against your self-confidence and causing you to doubt yourself, it’s definitely time to jump ship!

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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