Photograph by Anna Shvets from Pexels
Louisa Stratton explains how both toxic and trustworthy friendships helped her grow
To me, a good friendship is when you both feel relaxed and can have a laugh as well as sharing the more difficult stuff.
It’s important to take an interest in each other’s points of view, encourage each other, and take the initiative to make sure your mates are okay when something painful or stressful is going on in their lives.
It’s key to be aware when other people aren’t treating you well and to develop a sense of what is and isn’t acceptable. But it’s also important to take responsibility for your mistakes and try to fix them.
An unhealthy friendship is a burden. It takes more from you than you get, makes you feel bad about yourself. People that make you unhappy, unwanted and unvalued are not true friends.
I had a friend for a very long time, and our entire friendship was draining and complicated. She was someone that I could relate to but, as time passed, her lack of empathy became more obvious.
It was only as I realised my own worth that I noticed she was slotting me into her world of self-martyrdom. She perpetuated the idea that life was hard and she was a victim, and wouldn’t listen to anyone saying otherwise.
Sure we had some good times, but the only memories I have of her now are her stressing me out.
Social media is an amazing tool, it lets us stay connected to each other no matter the distance and explore our interests further
Long story short, I have realised that getting to know a person is complicated. I thought I had someone who depended on me, but I let it sit there and be toxic and it ended up hurting both of us.
Initially, I didn’t like social media. I couldn’t relate to the hype. So I ended up being an almost total social outcast, and obviously that was pretty lonely. I know now that I should have taken more of the initiative, but the pressure to conform to what everyone else was doing was enough to make it feel pointless. So many people were putting too much stock in the importance of online attention.
But social media is an amazing tool, it lets us stay connected to each other no matter the distance and explore our interests further. But it’s also easy to forget that it’s nothing but a tool. Being on a computer can never give you what being with good friends in real life can.
There’s nothing like a fun day out with friends that you can all talk about later. Maybe not every day-out will be like an epic event, but it doesn’t have to be!
Good friends enrich your life. They are interested in what you have to say, back you up when something is stressing you out, and let you rely on them from time to time, as well as depending on you.
I know from many years of being awkward that just taking initiative can be hard, but once you’ve done it the rest will fall into place
After a long period of personal hardship, my friends and I decided to take a trip for a few days. It was the first time I had been outside the city without my family, and I wasn’t confident about being away from home.
But I took the chance and was reminded just how trustworthy my friends really were. They had thought of everything and were more than willing to change the plans for my needs even when I insisted they didn’t have to.
We all grew closer, we had a great time and I learned how it truly felt to put my trust in others. I was able to let myself go at my own pace because of their support.
I know from many years of being awkward that just taking initiative can be hard, but once you’ve done it the rest will fall into place. Get to know people, get a read on their personality, find who you want to spend time with. It’s simpler than it seems!
Sure you’ll make mistakes, but in the end you’ll find something that was worth all your work.