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Signs Your Friendship Should Stay in 2020

I have never liked New Year’s resolutions. I don’t even believe in them. The tradition breeds self-disappointment and I’ve always viewed them as ignoring the journey of self-discovery and refinement. But in the same way that I don’t believe in horoscopes, yet compulsively check my daily astrological reading, I make resolutions anyway.

Last year, I focused on myself. I started the year with a breakup––literally on New Year’s Eve. I relied on my five tight-knit friends, that I swore would be with me through anything. And some are still here, but some now feel like chunks of ice floating from the iceberg and my throat is too frozen to call to them. And even if it wasn't, what would I say?

I think you don’t want to be my friend anymore but it's easier pretending than it is knowing.

I have been avoiding this article for weeks now. It is the only thing I can think to write about but the actual act of sitting down and putting these thoughts into words scares me a little. But, my horoscope tells me that I should open up more, so I'm going to bring you with me and share my thoughts on overgrown friendships. While not all of these situations apply to me by any means, friendships come and go in different forms––and 2021 is the year of not settling.

1. They make you feel insecure about your life choices

Friends come in many shapes and sizes, and we all grow closer to some in certain ways. It makes sense that there are some things you may feel comfortable telling one friend but not another. Have you found that recently a friend is making you feel insecure about something? Or, do you find yourself holding back from telling them something you would have told them in the past, out of fear of their reaction? A real friend will always try to make you feel better. I am not saying to completely cut this friend off, but take a step back and see how much value this friendship is giving you and if you want to continue to make that person your confidant. 

2. You are the only one initiating plans or connection.

This one is a critical subject, especially if you’re feeling that you and a friend are starting to drift apart. Pay attention to who is always starting conversations, reaching out, and/or making plans. If that person is always yourself, then it may be time to put your efforts elsewhere. It's hard to talk to friends about this issue––they’re not like romantic relationships, where there usually needs to be an official breakup. If you feel like it's beneficial to have a talk with them about how you feel, then do it, but realize that they may not have an answer for you. With friendships, there's not always a harsh break or reason why they fade, and you should not have to try to force someone to love you back. They have to want to, and that goes for all aspects of life.

3. They are more negative than positive

There once was a motivational speaker that came to my school for a presentation. Most of us were just glad to get out of class, but something she said stuck with all of us. She described friendships in three categories: a Rooftop Friend, a Living Room Friend, and a Basement Friend. These types of friends either lift you up, never push you to do better, or drag you down, respectively. I concede that sometimes I am a living room friend, and that's okay because no one's perfect, but be aware of a friend that is constantly dragging you down. This may be a negative attitude or outlook on life, which some may find solace in, but if you find yourself dreading to see them or not feeling happy after you do, maybe reconsider this friendship. 

4. You have different values 

This one can be a hard one to let go of and I'm finding it very common in the transitory periods of life. I've had many friends lost like this because what once connected us had shifted. Someone evolved, or both of you did, and you no longer fit into each other's lives. It doesn't mean they are better than you or vice versa, but I am a firm believer that certain friendships happen when they do and only last as long as needed. Don’t regret or forget the time you had together: appreciate it. I have countless old best friends, whose friendships I am so grateful to have been blessed with. While I understand why we are no longer close today, there is no bad blood; I wish them so much happinessI can't even put it into proper words. 

To sum up: only put effort in those who return it.

It seems simple, obvious even. However, I have been the scapegoat for failed relationships in the past, and I will no longer harbour the blame of friendships lost at sea when I was the only one holding on. 2021 is the year of push and pull. Of giving and receiving. Of appreciating those around you that lift you up and releasing those who make your friendship feel like a burden. 

Friendships are like the tide; they come in and out, sweep you up, then leave you wet on the sand. But, I am starting to recognize my anchors; the ones who have always been with me, and the ones I am just starting to meet.

I ask you to look at your friendships, whether you have one friend or 20. Do they anchor you? Do they return the same effort? 

If you have lost friends, do not condemn them. Do not harbour ill will nor wish them unwell. Say thank you for the times you spent together. Moving on can be difficult, but my horoscope tells me that 2021 will be our year, and I'm starting to believe it. 

Find your anchor. Find a constant. Say goodbye to what no longer works. Do not give to those who do not return, and hopefully come 2022 this will be one less resolution that we’ll have to make.

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Katherine is a first year student at Western University pursuing a Bachelor's degree in the faculty of Arts and Humanities. Katherine enjoys an absurd amount of black coffee, re-reading books and ignoring her newly purchased reads, and spending all her money on buying skin care products online.
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