Do you know the one thing that I can guarantee you about every relationship in your life right now?
It will eventually end.
It’s true, isn’t it?
Every relationship that you’re in right now will end, either voluntarily or through death. That is the one thing that ties together every relationship that you currently have, or ever will have, for the rest of your life.
Some people might find this little fun fact somewhat depressing, but I don’t at all. To me, this is overwhelmingly positive because it reminds me to do two simple, but life-altering things on a daily basis:
1) Deeply cherish all of the enriching and healthy relationships in my life, because I don’t know when they will end.
2) Stop wasting my limited time on earth in unhealthy relationships that drain me and bring me mindless drama.
I know that this is painfully obvious, but the key to a positive life is to maximize the amount of healthy relationships in our lives, while minimizing the amount of unhealthy ones.
This all sounds simple enough, but it’s possible that you might have some negative influences in your life who you feel that you’re stuck with, like co-workers, family members or spouses (remember, you’re not stuck with them, unless you choose to be stuck with them.)
But what about our friends?
Having co-workers, family members and spouses who bring misery, pain and drama into our lives is bad enough, but aren’t we doubling-down on crazy by allowing friends into our lives who do the same?
I think so.
Fountain or Drain?
Be a fountain, not a drain.” -Rex Hudler
When you think about the relationships in your life, ask yourself this:
Do they fill you up like a fountain, or do they leave you empty like a drain?
(Side note: Remember, relationships are two-way streets–it’s a worthwhile exercise to ask ourselves if we are fountains or a drains in all of our relationships too.)
In terms of the relationships in my life, I’ll admit that the struggle is real. The professional and personal relationships in my life are currently a mixed bag of fountains and drains.
When it comes to my friends though, I am proud to say that I only have fountains and no drains. I deeply urge you to do the same.
Do you have a friend (or worse, friends) who chronically complains, fails to keep commitments, limits your growth, discourages you, takes your kindness for granted, creates drama, treats you like crap, and makes you feel emotionally drained whenever you’re done talking to him/her? If so, then you already know what I’m going to ask you next.
Why are you doing this to yourself???
Life is hard enough without having to voluntarily stick with friends who are making it exponentially harder for you to be happy, peaceful and sane.
So, I don’t do it anymore.
If you are also committed to lovingly walk away from the “friendship drains” in your life, here’s what could be waiting for you on the other side.
Wow, You’ve Changed…
Even though I launched The Positivity Solution a little over two years ago, I’m not a newbie to this positivity stuff. I’ve been working hard on making meaningful positive changes in my life for the better part of this decade, and it hasn’t always been easy.
And as I’ve been working on myself, there has been a phrase that I’ve heard every now and then. It is usually said as a compliment, but sometimes it isn’t. Either way, I still hear it:
“Wow, you’ve changed.”
That’s true, I have changed.
I used to be a chronically complaining, gossipy, insecure, constantly terrified, self-hating, broken shell of a man who could have taught Doctoral classes on “How to fool everyone into thinking that you’ve got it all together when you’re really dying inside.”
So yeah, I’ve changed.
The changes that I have made in the past 10 years have saved me from slowly (and inevitably) destroying myself in every way possible, so in hindsight, I’m cool with these changes. Thankfully, many people agree.
But some people didn’t see it that way.
I’ve learned that whenever you decide to make a drastic positive change in your life (for example: losing weight, cleaning up your eating habits, quitting smoking, giving up chronic complaining, etc.) you will find that some friends may not be very supportive of the new-and-improved you.
Instead of encouraging you when you find the inner strength to skip your 10 a.m. smoke break, choose salad instead of the deep-fried chicken, or refuse to participate in the gossip session, they might get annoyed. Some may even try to sabotage your efforts. You may even hear the passive-aggressive line, “wow, you’ve changed…” in hopes of shaming you into staying the same.
Why would a friend do this to you?
In my case, when I finally figured out that engaging in daily negativity was only adding to the problems in my life that I was desperately trying to fix, I decided to do something about it.
I asked my friends to stop talking poorly about people when those people weren’t in the room to defend themselves. I asked my friends what they could do to make their problems better instead of complaining about them while doing nothing. I asked my friends if they were interested in doing something active instead of sitting around eating Burger King while playing video games for hours on end (which we did practically every day.)
It didn’t go over very well. I’m sure that you can guess what I heard in return.
“Wow, you’ve changed…”
And they were right.
Seeing the Future
Show me your friends and I will show you your future.” -Anonymous
Over the years as I kept pushing forward on my personal positivity journey, I lost touch with all of those guys. People change, relationships evolve, and it’s all part of this crazy journey that we call life.
I walked away from those friendships not only because it was draining to continue, but I was scared of what my future would look like if I stayed in these relationships every day. I am convinced that the quote, “show me your friends and I will show you your future” is 100% true.
I don’t care if there’s a guy out there rocking spandex and a cape who proudly calls himself “Super Positivity Man,” I will bet next month’s mortgage payment that his future will be bleak if he surrounds himself with people who drain him every single day.
Here is what I know for sure:
Choosing relationships that encourage and enrich us is the foundation of living a positive life.
In a world where we settle for “good enough” so often, I believe that friendship shouldn’t be one of those things. We all deserve friends who lift us up instead of beat us down, challenge us to be better instead of accepting our excuses, and fill us up instead of drain us.
As I mentioned before, all of our friendships will eventually end. I’m confident that we’ll do what’s necessary to cherish all of our healthy friendships before they do.
The only question that remains is: Do we have the courage to end the unhealthy friendships when it’s necessary to do so?
Have you ever had to end a friendship that you determined was unhealthy for you to continue? Are you currently in a friendship that you know that you should end, but you haven’t pulled the trigger to do something about it? Either way, jump into the comments below and make your voice heard!