Friends talking to each other
6 Typical Conversations Between Two Friends in English
By Elisabeth Cook Last updated:
Hotels. Business meetings. Taxis.
You may know how to use English in these places.
You may know the right English phrases to book a room for the night, to make a business deal, to use transportation.
But other conversations can be more… personal.
Conversations between friends are something your textbook or English class may not have prepared you for.
The truth is, casual conversations in a language you’re still learning can be even more difficult than formal conversations.
After all, in formal situations you know you need to be polite. You can find out what phrases to use, and memorize them.
In casual conversations, it isn’t as important to use particular phrases.
For example, you don’t have to say, “Hello, how are you?” every time you meet a friend.
But there are still certain phrases for informal conversation that are useful to know.
Conversations also tend to follow certain patterns, even when the people having them know each other well.
Below are some examples of how to make small talk, make plans and have personal conversations, shown through example dialogues between two friends in English.
Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)
Greetings and Small Talk
Some people think of small talk (unimportant, expected conversation) as being shallow (not honest or “real”). But it’s something that we do to make each other comfortable. For example, asking about someone’s job or how they’re doing is a way of showing that you care, and these questions can lead to more personal and interesting conversation.
It’s true that close friends may not use small talk as much as people who don’t know each other well. But there are still times when using small talk with friends makes sense. For example, if you meet an old friend who you haven’t seen in a long time, or if you’re meeting with a friend who you just don’t see every day.
Let’s look at a couple of conversations below to see what those situations might sound like.
Conversation #1: Conversations Between Friends
Here, we’re actually going to look at a video clip that contains two conversations. This clip can also be found on FluentU with interactive captions and a transcript with playable audio.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
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Let’s read along to the conversations in the above video:
Sam: Oh? Bob!
Bob: Hey Sam! Good to see you!
Sam: How’s it going?
Bob: Yeah, good. Working a lot. And you?
Sam: I went back to school.
Bob: Good for you!
Mike and Jim
Jim: What have you been up to?
Mike: Working a lot.
Jim: That sounds hard.
Mike: How’s the family?
Jim: Everyone is good. Thanks!
Now, let’s look at some useful phrases from the dialogues above.
“Good to see you!”
This is a nice way to greet someone when you haven’t seen them in a while.
“How’s it going?”
This is a common greeting in English, like “How are you?” Don’t be surprised if you say this to someone and they don’t respond, or say “Yeah, how’s it going?” back.
Bob replies to this question with “Yeah, good.” This might seem a little weird because Sam didn’t ask a yes or no question. But in this case, “yeah” doesn’t have any special meaning. It’s just a way to acknowledge Sam’s question and move on.
“Good for you!”
This is a nice way to congratulate a friend on their successes or accomplishments.
Conversation #2: Meeting Up with a Friend at a Restaurant
Small talk can happen with close friends who you see regularly and with friends you don’t see as often. Here’s an example of a conversation that could happen between two friends who know each other pretty well.
Nathan: Hey, Alicia?
Alicia: Oh hey, I didn’t see you there. Did you already get a table?
Nathan: Yeah, right over here.
Alicia: I’m glad we had time to meet up.
Nathan: Me too. So, what’s going on?
Alicia: Oh, not much. You?
Nathan: Not much. Hey, how did your interview go? Wasn’t that today?
Alicia: Oh, yeah. I think it went well. I don’t know if I got the job yet, but they said they would call in a few days.
Nathan: Well, I’m sure you did great. Good luck.
Alicia: Thanks. I’m just happy that it’s over. I was really nervous about it.
Nathan: I can understand that. I get nervous before interviews, too.
Alicia: Well, thanks for being supportive. I appreciate it.
Nathan: Sure, no problem.
“I’m glad we had time to meet up.”
If you’re meeting a friend you don’t see every day, this is a nice way of saying that you appreciate them making an effort to see you. Other ways of saying this could be, “Thanks for making time to see me” or “We should do this more often. ”
“What’s going on?”
Like with “How’s it going?” the other person might not always reply to this question. If they do, they’ll probably either actually tell you what’s going on, or just say, “Not much.”
In the conversation above, Nathan and Alicia both say “not much” is going on with them, but then they end up talking about Alicia’s interview. This is pretty common. A person might sometimes even reply “not much,” and then immediately start talking about all the things that actually are going on.
“I can understand that.”
This is a good phrase to acknowledge a friend’s feelings or opinions.
“Sure, no problem.”
This is a casual way of saying “You’re welcome” when someone thanks you.
Making Plans with Friends
To see your friends in the first place, you have to make plans with them. Here are a couple of conversations that show how that could go.
Conversation #1: Inviting a Friend for a Movie
John: Hello, Bob!
Bob: Hi, John!
John: Are you free this weekend?
Bob: I think so, why?
John: Want to see a movie?
“Are you free this weekend?”
This is a friendly, common way to open a conversation when you’re going to ask someone to do something with you.
Conversation #2: Making Plans for a Get-together
In the conversation above, Bob and John decide to see a movie together. But they don’t decide on what to see, or an exact time. Hopefully they’ll talk about this later—otherwise they won’t know what they’re doing!
Below, we’ll look at a more detailed conversation about making plans.
Trudy: Hey, so I’m having a party at my place next weekend. Do you want to come?
Lee: Sure! That sounds like fun. Who else is coming?
Trudy: Let’s see. I think it’s going to be Jerome, Talia, Anna, Juan, Celeste, Michelle and possibly Jamie. It’s not really going to be a party, more like a small get-together. I’m cooking dinner, and we can just hang out.
Lee: What time should I be there?
Trudy: Oh, anytime between 6 and 7 would be fine.
Lee: Can I bring anything?
Trudy: Oh, don’t worry about it. I have everything covered.
Lee: Can I at least bring a bottle of wine?
Trudy: Well, I’m not going to say no to wine. I’m sure that would be appreciated.
Lee: I’ll do that, then. Thanks for inviting me.
“That sounds like fun.”
If someone invites you to an event, or just invites you to do something with them, this is a nice way to say “yes.”
“Can I bring anything?”
In the U.S. and some other English-speaking areas, this is a polite question to ask if someone invites you to a dinner, party or holiday event where there’s going to be food. It’s usually appropriate (and sometimes even expected!) to ask this question even if the person who invited you is a close friend or family member.
Having Personal Conversations with Friends
Once you’ve made plans and greeted your friends, all that’s left to do is just… well, be a friend. Friends go to each other for help, for advice and when they want to share their opinions and experiences.
Conversations that are more personal are usually less structured and follow fewer rules. But there are still phrases that English speakers tend to use a lot in personal conversations, and there are still certain speech patterns we follow to show support for our friends. Let’s look at some examples.
Conversation #1: A Friend’s Advice
Makayla: Hi, Gemma. You look terrible!
Gemma: Hey, Makayla. Mmm, I haven’t slept.
Makayla: Are you OK? What’s the matter?
Gemma: Well, you know that photo I sent to Clare on Friday night?
Gemma: Well, she sent it to Justin.
Makayla: Oh no! How could she do that? It obviously was only for her.
Gemma: I know! I thought she’d find it funny.
Makayla: Well, it was quite funny. But you didn’t expect her to send it to anyone.
Gemma: No, of course not! Especially not Justin! Oh, it’s so embarrassing!
Makayla: Ah well, don’t worry. I know how you feel, though.
Gemma: And what if he puts it on Facebook or something? What if my mum sees it?
Makayla: No no, don’t worry. He won’t. It’s not that interesting for him or anyone else, to be honest.
Gemma: But what if he does?
Makayla: He won’t. But maybe ask Clare to speak to Justin… Get him to delete the photo?
Gemma: Yeah, maybe. But that might just make him even more interested.
Makayla: Yeah, true.
Gemma: What do you think I should do?
Makayla: Mmm… I’d just try to forget about it if I were you.
Gemma: But I’m so annoyed with Clare!
Makayla: Maybe speak to Clare, tell her how you feel. She shouldn’t be sharing people’s private photos.
Gemma: Okay, yeah. Thanks for the advice, Makayla. I’ll talk to her.
Makayla: Good idea. And don’t worry. Just be careful and don’t send any more embarrassing photos!
Gemma: Yeah, I know, I know. I won’t.
Note: The dialogue above is in British English. The only difference in how this conversation might go in American English is that Gemma would probably say “mom” instead of “mum.” Also, Americans tend to use “quite” less than British people.
“Are you okay?” / “What’s the matter?”
The above two phrases are good for checking on your friends if it seems like something might be wrong.
“What do you think I should do?”
It isn’t always obvious when you’re looking for advice, in any language. If you want to know what a friend thinks you should do in a situation, just ask like this!
“I know how you feel.”
This is a good general phrase for showing sympathy, and it might not always be used literally. For example, we have no idea if Makayla really does know how Gemma feels. But what Makayla seems to be saying is that Gemma’s feelings still matter, even if the situation itself isn’t that bad.
However, you may want to be careful of using this phrase if someone is telling you about a situation that you obviously can’t understand personally. In a case like that, it could seem rude and self-centered. Instead, you can say, “That sounds terrible.”
Conversation #2: Talking About Opinions on a Book
Friends can help you when you’re having problems. They’re also there to listen when you just want to talk about your feelings and opinions.
Nina: So I don’t know what you thought about the book, but I had a lot of mixed feelings about it.
Sean: Oh, really? Like what?
Nina: Well, I thought the main character’s situation was interesting, but his attitude toward women bothered me.
Sean: I can see that. It definitely seemed like he had some problems with women.
Nina: I would have liked to understand how that started. I mean, the book didn’t go into too much detail about why he felt that way.
Sean: I agree with that. I think the author could have handled that part better. I did enjoy the descriptions, though.
Nina: Oh yes, the writing was beautiful! That just made me more disappointed in the character.
Sean: Well, this is just my opinion, but maybe the character would have been easier to understand if the writing had been simpler. It seemed like the author spent a lot of time on the descriptions, when he could have spent more time on the character’s thoughts.
Nina: I’m not sure if I agree with that. I just think that the writing could have been more thoughtful while still being beautiful, if that makes sense.
Sean: That does make sense. I think maybe the problem for me is just that not much actually happened.
Nina: You’re right about that. There wasn’t much of a story.
Sean: I still enjoyed parts of the book, though.
Nina: Oh, I did, too. And I appreciate hearing your point of view.
“I don’t know what you thought about…”
This is a nice way to let someone know that you would be open to hearing their thoughts.
“I can see that.”
This is a good way to acknowledge someone’s thoughts, whether or not you agree with them.
“I agree with that.” / “I’m not sure if I agree with that.”
“I’m not sure if I agree with that” is nicer than “I don’t agree with you.”
“…if that makes sense. ”
This is a common way that people end sentences when giving their opinions or explaining something. Often, this has the meaning of “Does that make sense?” or “Do you understand what I mean?”
Apart from all these phrases, there are thousands more that native speakers use on a daily basis. You don’t have to learn all of them at once, but you can start with the ones included in this awesome video from FluentU’s English YouTube channel:
FluentU English will only teach you things native speakers use, so you can be sure your conversations will be natural. Subscribe to the channel today and enjoy all the goodies it has to offer. Your friends will be amazed at your conversation skills!
Good friendships are rewarding and worthwhile, no matter what language you speak with your friends.
Hopefully, the above conversations between two friends have given you a better idea of how to be a good friend in English.
Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)
Elisabeth Cook is a writer, blogger and translator. You can read her blog at litallover.com.
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What Is A One-Sided Friendship And How To Avoid It
As the old cliché goes, a friendship is a two-way street. In the perfect friendship, the two of you are working hard to give each other the most equal amount of attention possible. However, there are times when it feels like only one person is making an effort to keep the friendship thriving. This is known as a one-sided friendship. Most of us have had some form of one-sided friendship in the past, but may not realize all the signs or how to handle it. In this post, we’ll look at why one-sided friendships happen, the signs, and what you can do about it.
What Is A One-Sided Friendship?
Why Do I Feel Like My Friend Doesn't Care?
Ask A Professional. Talk To A Licensed Friendship Therapist.
A one-sided friendship is simply a friendship where one side is making most, if not all, of the effort to be friends. From planning to communicating to giving, there’s just one party who is making most of the effort. The good friend takes more of an interest in the other person’s life in honest conversation and offers more emotional support. Not all healthy friendships between true friends are going to have an equal amount of communication, but if the communication is extremely slanted towards one person, then it may be a one-sided friendship instead of a balanced friendship with mutual support. Online therapy is a great place to recognize signs of these friendships, and navigate healthier ones. Here are some signs of a one-sided friendship:
You Always Text First
When it comes to initiating communication and emotional support, you are the one who always must do it. The friend may talk to you when you contact them, but have you ever noticed that they never initiate the conversation or plan for spending time together? This one sidedness can make you feel sad, hurt your self esteem and self worth, and affect your self confidence. Your own needs and well being matter too.
Of course, this alone isn’t a sign of a one-sided friendship. Not everyone prefers to text on a regular basis. Sometimes, the other friend may have anxiety over being the one who initiates the conversation, or you’ve always been the one to make the first text, and they’ve come to expect it. This is just one sign out of many, and it’s entirely circumstantial.
When They Do Contact You, It’s Because They Need Something
You’re usually the one who makes contact, but on occasion, you get a text or a call from them. Instead of asking you to hang out, or to strike up a conversation, it’s because they need something. They may need a ride, some money, or another favor. You may feel guilty or feel drained into a bad mood from the constant requests. Don’t get us wrong; friends should help out each other. But it’s a two-sided street. If they always want help but are never trying to help you when you need it, then you may be in a one-sided friendship.
It’s Always About Them
When you do talk, the friend always makes the conversation about them. They are always talking about themselves and never ask how you are doing. Instead of a conversation back and forth, they turn everything around and make it about themselves. They may never give you a chance to speak. If you do reach out, they might make your feel guilty. When relationships or a friendship feels one sided, the unbalanced friendship may be more effort than they are worth. If you are feeling unsure, is there a big difference between how you treat them and how they treat you when one of you is dealing with a bad day? The point of a friendship is that when one of you is having a hard time or may feel bad, the other adjusts their course to offer support. When one person always makes it about how they feel tired with no support or emotional interest for the other, this may be a one sided relationship.
Now, not all conversations are going to be equal. One friend may be a little more antisocial than the other. However, if both parties tend to be equal when it comes to social ability, yet only one side can do all the talking, it may be one-sided. Also, if one side makes the other feel guilty if they do not offer undying support, this behavior may be one sided.
They Prefer The Company of Others
The two of you more than likely have friends of your own, and the truth is, there may be friends that they prefer hanging with. However, if they are always busy with other friends, then this behavior means you may be on the bottom of the list.
You Have To Come To Them
Another classic sign of a one-sided friendship is if you have to go to their house or meet in their area, and they never offer to come to your area. There are times when one party may have the only means of travel. For example, your friend may not have a reliable means of transportation or have little money.
However, if your friend can travel the distance but doesn’t bother, this behavior could be a sign of a one-sided friendship. Try talking to them and see if they want to visit you. If they show interest, then the friendship may not be one-sided. However, if they keep making excuses, and you know they have the means of travel, then you may be in a one-sided friendship.
Why One-Sided Friendships Happen
There are many reasons why one-sided friendships happen. Sometimes, the friend is doing it for a toxic reason, but there may be other times where there’s more to it than that.
It can be challenging to understand how the course of a friendship is one-sided. You may be unclear about the dynamic of the relationship. You may even feel like a bad friend within the connection. When you discover that it is one-sided, you may suspect your friend is using you. That’s a horrible feeling. For example, your friend only talks to you when they need something; that makes you feel like you’re not important. It is essential to make new friends once you realize that you’re in a one-sided friendship. You don’t have to stay in this dynamic with a person who doesn’t appreciate you. A one-sided relationship can feel unfulfilling, and you don’t have to deal with that toxic friendship because you deserve better than that. You don’t need to have people around you that don’t respect who you are, and you certainly don’t need to stay friends with this individual who doesn’t care for you enough to reciprocate your kindness.
There are many signs of the course of a one-sided friendship. It is challenging to admit to yourself that you’re in this sort of dynamic with someone, but things that you can look out for are when there’s a nagging feeling that your kindness isn’t being returned. That’s one of the most significant signs of a one-sided friendship; when you’re constantly doing so much more for someone than they’re doing for you. You notice that you’re the one who's initiating plans. That’s another potential sign of a one-sided friendship. A friend is someone who wants to spend time with you.
If you’re always asking your friend to hang out and the person doesn’t initiate any get-togethers, it could be that they’re socially anxious. But it could also be that you want to hang out with them more than they want to spend time with you. That’s a sure sign of a one-sided friendship. These are essential things to remember because you deserve to be in a network of people who appreciate you and where your worth is reciprocated. Don’t settle for a one-sided friendship, but to know if you’re in a one-sided friendship, you need to know what the signs are.
Additionally, talking to this person may help you figure out what’s going on. You never know what might be happening under the surface, so don’t be afraid to ask questions if you feel like your friend is unavailable or not. Ultimately, regardless of what they say, know that you deserve to be in friendships that make you feel good. Scope out people who treat you how you want to be treated, and the right friendships will come along.
Here are some reasons why the friendship may be one-sided.
You Want Friends
You may be a person who just wants friends and has decided to associate yourself with people who just don’t care about you. Wanting to make friends is something normal, but you should always pay attention to how they treat you. You don’t want to set yourself up to get hurt. You deserve friends who treat you right.
It’s a wonderful thing to want to be social and connect with other people who understand you. Friendship is a beautiful part of life. But, it’s important to remember that you can choose the people you allow in your circle. You don’t have to be friends with anyone. The people who select to be around can be those who value and respect you as an individual. You deserve to be happy, and part of that happiness surrounds you with those who not only understand you but genuinely care about your wellbeing. It’s not enough to call yourself a “friend.” You need to act like one as well. Friends consider their needs; they don’t just ask for their needs to be met. They want a reciprocal relationship, rather than one person who is using the other one. If you discover that your friend isn’t reciprocating your kindness, you don’t need to stick around. Other people can be great friends, and you don’t need to settle for people who don’t treat you well. There are people out there who will recognize you for the amazing person that you are!
The Friend May Be Using You
If you have something a friend wants, be it money, transportation, or another good, then the friend may just be keeping you around because they want it. They may not care for you that much, but care for what you have.
One piece of evidence that can prove this is if they stop talking to you when they get what you have. Let’s say your friend is always using you for a ride. Then, one day, your friend gets their car, and all communication ceases. Yep, that friend was just using you.
If you have experienced a friend that stops talking to you after their financial situation gets better or after they make big changes in their life, it is okay for you to feel hurt. It is never easy to spend time with someone who ends up hurting your feelings or ignoring you completely. In fact, not having normal friendships may cause you to feel unsatisfied in your life.
They May View You More As An Acquaintance
It’s hard to tell who sees you as a friend and who sees you as an acquaintance. Nowadays, many don’t realize there’s a difference, especially our social media based society. You may think of someone as a friend, but they think of you as a person who is nice, and fun to hang out with, but they aren’t connected with you enough to have the friendship be two-sided.
They’re Introverted Or Socially Awkward
Sometimes, the friend may like you just fine, but they may not be that social. They don’t want to be the one who initiates conversation because they feel like they’re bothering you. Moreover, they may not want to drive to your place because they don’t like new places. When making friendships with introverted people, it’s good to discuss social boundaries so the two of you can understand each other more and know your limits.
You Have Less in Common than Before
Sometimes, a person may feel like you don’t have as much in common anymore. They may ignore you because they think they do not have anything to talk to you about. They may also make only the minimal effort to hang out. Perhaps they used to have more in common with you, but you or they have moved on, and neither of you can cut the string just yet.
Sometimes, the two of you are great friends, but there are life circumstances that make friends more one-sided. The friend may have a life change that makes them less inclined to talk, be it a new job, college, a relationship, or any other change. A long friendship will have differing levels of sidedness. Just make sure you know this beforehand. With time, the balance may come back.
If you feel like your friendship is slipping away, you first have to determine if this relationship is important to you. If you no longer have the same interests, it might be okay to let go, especially if the friendship is one-sided. If it isn’t, it may be possible to still be friends, even if you don’t see each other often or talk infrequently. If possible, have a conversation with your friend and gauge how they feel about you. If you two are still very close but simply can’t get together as often as you want to, you can choose to stay in touch through email, texts, or even the occasional phone call and still have a meaningful friendship.
How To Handle A One-Sided Friendship
It’s totally normal to feel upset that a friendship is one-sided. Here are some next steps to consider taking:
Talk To Them About It
Why Do I Feel Like My Friend Doesn't Care?
Ask A Professional. Talk To A Licensed Friendship Therapist.
Communication, communication, communication! Sometimes, your friend may not even mean to be so one-sided, and by talking to them about it, they may change. When talking to them about it, avoid sounding accusatory or hostile, but instead inquire. If your friend cares, they will realize what they’re doing and make an effort to balance things. If they get hostile, then you may have a bad friendship on your hands. If this is the case, you may want to air out any issues that you have with each other. Perhaps there was a past hurt or a misunderstanding of some sort that caused ill feelings. Be careful not to accuse your friend or blame them for anything. You may be able to talk through any problems, so you can continue your friendship.
Ask To Make It More Two-Sided
As mentioned before, if you’re the one traveling, offer them to come up to see you. If you’re always talking to them, remind them to text you sometime. If the friend doesn’t mean to be so one-sided, and they have the means to travel, then they will listen. If they get aggressive, then it wasn’t meant to be.
If All Else Fails, End Things
No one wants to lose a friend, but it happens sometimes. You may have been co founders on a great partnership, and for some reason, it went off course. If you have tried everything and are unable to make up or repair your friendship, you may consider distancing yourself from your friend. If they don’t notice that they haven’t seen you around, it will be a clue that your relationship was one-sided. On the other hand, if they reach out to you, this may suggest that they were unknowingly treating you in an unfair way.
Friendships can be hard to manage, and sometimes, you may need to talk to a counselor to solve all issues you have with your friends. However, by knowing who is a true friend and who is just an acquaintance, you’ll be better off mentally.
Seeking Out Help
Many people can benefit from seeking out counseling when it comes to dealing with one-sided friendships. It can be hard to let go of someone that you really care about, but sometimes, it is just the right thing to do. On the other hand, a counselor can help you figure out how to get your friendship back on track and how to stay away from one-sided relationships in the future. They can also show you how to cope with your feelings and how people treat you, so that it doesn’t cause you heartache or anxiety.
Regain offers online therapy so you can get help exactly where you are. Below are some reviews of ReGain counselors, from people that have been in similar situations.
Unbiased professionals at ReGain can help you notice if you are in any type of one-sided friendship and help you learn tools to fix the problem. Whether that means repairing your friendship or learning to let go and move on, you can be sure that you are staying healthy and happy. No matter what you’re experiencing, with the right tools, you can move forward to truly fulfilling relationships. Take the first step.
“I have a tendency to feel too much obligation or responsibility for others, and offer too much of myself. He picked up on this and makes me aware so I can set healthy boundaries. I have been to counselors in the past and I think there is something to learn from everyone, but I find my engagement here is held a little more accountable, which is what I need, because otherwise I tend to fall back on the excuse of being very busy. All in all, we have a long way to go, but my experience so far has been wonderful. I look forward to us both realizing a transformation of myself that we have undertaken together.”
“Fabiola is not only attentive but compassionate. She communicates but provides an ample amount of room to vocalize. Without pointing fingers, she has helped me to see my situations with a clearer mind and taught me how to better identify them to produce effective communication and action.”
Commonly Asked Questions Found Below:
What is a one way friendship called?
Is a one-sided friendship toxic?
When should you let go of a one-sided friendship?
What is an unequal friendship?
What are red flags in a friendship?
Why am I the friend that gets left out?
10 strange friends that each of us has
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It's good to be a child, schoolboy, student. At a young age, you do not need to think about friendship and work on relationships. Friends just are, because it happened.
From birth, we live the life that our parents have chosen for us. This is how our acquaintances live, and the differences are not so significant as to interfere with friendship. So friends are bound to show up. During our student years, we find ourselves in an environment ideal for forming friendships. It is easy to observe all the necessary conditions for strong friendship in it. Sociologists believe that there are three of them:
- Proximity (geographically).
- Regular unscheduled meetings.
- Something that allows you to relax in the presence of another person and begin to trust him.
So the number of friends in universities and colleges is growing. Maybe they're real, maybe this relationship won't last long. But you don't do anything special to get them started or supported. They add up by themselves, you are just an observer.
One day student life ends. The people you associate with take their places in your environment, each in their own social circle. It looks something like this:
Imagine that your life is a mountain. You are at the top. In the green sector - friends of the first circle. Those who have become your brother or sister. These are the closest people: they are the first to know about all the events in your life, you love them with all the shortcomings, they give a speech at your wedding, you know them inside and out. These relationships are eternal. Even if you do not communicate for months, each meeting proves that nothing has changed.
Unfortunately, life is such that your worst enemies enter the first circle. People who can ruin your day with one sharp remark, because only they know where to hit. These are the people towards whom you feel burning irritation, envy, with whom you compete. In the first round, the stakes are high.
Below, in the yellow zone, are the friends of the second circle. They are just good friends. Relations with them are much calmer than with brothers and sisters from the first circle. They may invite you to the wedding, but not as a witness. If you live in the same city, you meet once or twice a month with great pleasure, but if someone leaves, you can not talk to each other for a year or two. And if something important happened in their lives, mutual friends will tell you about it.
Even further down the slope is an orange zone where fake friends are located. You can sit together in a cafe for a cup of tea and decide that we should meet again, but five years will pass and it turns out that during this time you no longer drank any tea together. Such relationships exist in a large company or in social networks. Even if someone from this circle suddenly inherits a million, you will not care much. From the orange zone appear sexual partners for one night.
The third circle smoothly flows into a huge category of acquaintances. It contains people with whom you will stop to exchange a few words if you run into on the street. You send business letters to them, but you will not meet at the movies. If you hear that something happened to one of them, you can sigh sadly, although in fact you don’t care at all.
Finally, acquaintances dissolve into a sea of strangers.
Depending on your personality and how you have spent the last 25 years, your mountains may look different.
For example, this is how the life of a person who does not let anyone close to him looks like.
Or a person who tries to be everyone's best friend.
Even the last sociopath has his mountain.
Whatever your mountain looks like, once you're past your youth, sooner or later (usually between 25 and 30) there comes a day when you realize that making friends has become difficult.
Without a doubt, friends will still appear (work, the company of a spouse, children will help), but it is unlikely that you will add them to the first circle of relatives or even to the second circle. People who meet as adults can't spend their days with each other or chat all night long. And this is necessary for the birth of such strong relationships. Over time, you realize that real friends appeared in your life by accident, spontaneously, and you did nothing special for this.
You met them, firstly, not on purpose, and secondly, at a time when you still knew little about yourself. Therefore, the people closest to you are randomly distributed according to the graph below.
As time goes by, there are fewer and fewer people in squares 2-4. We grow up, begin to respect ourselves more and set a higher bar in communicating with other people.
But the fact remains that many formative relationships stick to us. And even if friendship is far from ideal, among our close friends there are people whose communication does not bring more joy and meaning to life. We’ll talk about ideal friendship later, but for now, let’s take a look at 10 types of strange friends that we have in our environment.
1. A friend who doesn't ask questions
You will have a good day. Or bad. You will be happy at work or quit. You will fall in love. Or catch your loved one cheating and kill both of them in a state of uncontrollable rage. It doesn't matter, because no event can be discussed with a friend who doesn't ask questions. Never, never, under any circumstances, will he become interested in your life. Why is he behaving like this? There are three explanations.
- He is completely self-centered and wants to discuss only himself.
- He is afraid to get close to people and does not want to talk about personal things (neither about his own nor about yours), he agrees to support only an abstract conversation.
- He knows that you are extremely self-centered. If you ask a question, you will talk only about yourself all evening.
To make such a friendship meaningful, take just two steps.
First: if you are bored with this person, remove him from your first social circle. This is your green zone, it is sacred, people fixated on themselves have nothing to do there. Move such a friend to the second or third level and enjoy rare meetings.
Second: keep talking. Perhaps you will even use such a friend "blindly". Meet once every couple of months, but do not touch personal topics in the conversation. Believe me, you can communicate with a person for many years, and still not even know if he has brothers and sisters.
2. A friend in a common company with whom you will not be alone
In any company there are a couple of people who do not communicate with each other one on one. Not in the sense that they don't talk because they don't like each other. They get along great. They just have nothing in common other than common friends. As soon as they are left alone in the room, they freeze like stone statues.
There is nothing worse for them than to be in the same car if the company gets somewhere by car. Smaller troubles happen all the time. For example, if such people were the first to arrive at the meeting place or when the third friend went to the toilet. It is not at all necessary that these people will never be able to make friends. Sometimes no one dares to take the first step and change the current state of affairs.
3. A friend who always laughs
This is a friend who is afraid of serious communication, so any meeting with him turns into a skit, and you should always be in high spirits when talking.
Sometimes the joke is that you have to laugh all the time. And constantly joke, pour sarcastic remarks, otherwise a friend is overcome by fear.
Another version of the always ironic friend is the person who loses his temper when you break through his shell and say something honest. Such people hate sincere interlocutors, because they make them crawl out from behind the armor of sarcasm and irony and show their true colors.
Third version: your communication is described by the phrase "you're cool, I'm even cooler, why is the rest of the world not so cool." Of course, a friend does not consider you ideal. When he talks to someone else, he is already dissecting you. The trick is that you always have to be on his team. The only comfortable mode of coexistence is to stand on a fictional pedestal together and pour mud on the world around.
You can play along with such a friend and everything will be fine, even if deep down you despise each other and yourself. Or you can take the liberty of disagreeing with him. For example, to protect a person from criticism. This will destroy your fragile team and cause a backlash. Your strange friend will most likely agree with you, saying something like: "Well, yes, you're probably right." Congratulations, this means that you have earned the respect of this person for the first time. It also means that behind your back, he will criticize you five times more than before.
Whatever one may say, the mask of the always cheerful person is the wall behind which your friend hides so as not to let anyone get too close to him. If you have the strength to break through the ice and calm down such a sociopath, he can become a real friend. If a person is completely closed, then nothing can be done, such friendship is doomed. Although if you like to constantly scoff, then why not.
4. Commitment friend
Think of a friend you rarely see. Before making an appointment, you call and text for a long time to find a time convenient for both. But when you wake up in the morning and realize that a friendly dinner is on your schedule today, you are not happy at all.
Maybe you don't want to be friends with this person, he even pisses you off. Most likely, you do not understand: this friend does not want to see you either.
Friendship with mutual obligations suggests that both of these relationships are a burden. But everyone thinks that the other person really wants to see him. Therefore, there is no way you can allocate a place in the schedule for the meeting.
When people want to communicate, they find opportunities and ways.
This friendship lasts because you don't think at all that you don't like the relationship. Or you consider meeting this person part of your life story. But even if you understand that you do not want to communicate, you do not know that your feelings are mutual. Tough friendships can last forever.
This friendship could turn into a happy marriage, only your friend or girlfriend does not look at you as a partner. The smallest thing is missing. You may also find yourself in a situation where someone loves you. No matter how you slice it, it's not the healthiest relationship you'll ever have.
If you're in the friend zone, isn't it time to get out of it? Even if you have to stop talking. Because as long as you drag this relationship, you destroy your self-esteem and look like a small crying seal. Take a step, where is your self-respect? Perhaps it is a bold decision that will make the object of love look at you with different eyes.
If you are a friend zone, then know that there is a person in the world who suffers, and you like it. Because every time you see someone else's pain, your vile ego is overwhelmed with pleasure. You are so pleased that you are even ready to specifically stir up someone else's interest and not say yes or no in order to feed on the blood of a friend wounded in the heart, like a vampire.
Go and do something else.
6. Historical friend
You were one of the first to have a historical friend, because you met when you were children. You have been friends for years, although you were an odd couple. Many old friends fall into this category. But a historical friend is someone you would never be friends with if you met now.
You don't like who this person has become, and it's mutual. You are no longer suitable for each other. Alas. You've been close friends since you were four years old, and there's nothing you can do about it.
7. A friend with whom you go in different directions
As a child and student, most people of your age are on the same level with you. But when it comes to self-promotion, people go through life in different ways, so that recent friends are suddenly completely different people.
Everyone around 30 goes through this stage. Someone thinks about how they will live at 50. And someone remains 20 years old. To some extent, the age of thirty is akin to puberty, only in a different sense.
There are also hidden situations in which the paths with friends diverge. Suppose Zhenya refuses material well-being partly because of the vocation of an artist, partly so as not to envy rich people. And Sasha despises all bohemia, because he considers creative people idlers or envies their freedom of expression. Sasha and Zhenya have problems. Maybe they still like each other, but they can no longer be as close as before. The life path of each of them challenges the path of the other, which leads to awkwardness in communication. It also happens when your moral values do not match.
8. A friend with whom no enemies are needed
"Enmity" hurts you greatly. It's not about those cases when a friend experiences a prick of pleasure if you failed or broke up with a partner. And not even about those who are jealous of your success. These are toxic emotions, but even real friends can sometimes have them.
It's about real "hostility" - a relationship with a friend who sincerely wants to harm you. Just because he wants to.
Most likely, you have been communicating with a friend enemy for a long time, the problems did not start yesterday either.
Hate hides complex psychological causes. It is generated from the inner pain of your enemy friend, from his shortcomings and regrets. And you, with your very existence, hit the patient.
A slightly less dark, but no less dangerous situation arises when another enemy sees your weaknesses and sensitive points and constantly presses on them out of sadistic pleasure or to raise his own self-esteem.
Such a friend knows exactly how to hurt you, because you are similar in some way or something binds you.
Moreover, he will constantly spoil your life, at any opportunity, but so cleverly that you will not even always notice it.
Be that as it may, if such a person appears among your friends, immediately throw him out of your social circle. The cooler your relationship becomes, the better. As the distance between you increases, the poisonous force of the other enemy dissolves.
9. A friend is a star of social networks
This person is not a star for anyone but you. Do you understand what I'm talking about. There are a few people whose social media pages are all too familiar to you. And these people have no idea that you are so interested in them. I must say that there are probably people who know when you changed your hairstyle, although you have not seen each other for seven years.
This is a friend from the third circle or just an acquaintance who is on the list of strange friends because you managed to make your relationship painful without even interacting with the person. It had to be done.
10. One-sided friendship
Friendship can be “twisted” in a bunch of ways. Someone is in your pyramid of friends at a higher position than you are in his pyramid. Some people want to communicate more than others.
One of the friends in 90% of cases listens and only in 10% speaks, and when it comes to difficulties, then communication is more like a meeting with a psychotherapist. In general, the balance between what you give and what you take from the relationship is out of balance.
Ideally, when friendship is equally invested. But if the ratio is about 65/35, that's okay too. In the end, the difference may be due to personal characteristics. Sometimes even a bigger gap in who invests how much in a relationship isn't so bad. But only if it suits both parties.
There are several questions, the answers to which show who is who in a friendship. When one person talks longer than another, is the “talker” interrupted by his friend? Does one friend's opinion carry more weight? Is it permissible for one of your friends to sometimes act nasty towards another?
Another test for lice is to find out who determines the mood in the company. Let's say friends meet, but they have a different mood. Sooner or later the mood comes to a common denominator. Which state usually wins? For example, Sasha is not in a good mood, Zhenya, on the contrary, is on the rise, and Valya adjusts to Sasha and gets bored until Sasha starts having fun. But if Sasha is happy, and Zhenya is moping, then Valya even forgets about his unimportant mood and tries to smile in order to get on the same wavelength with Sasha. In this example, Sasha has the strongest position among friends.
Not everything is so bad
You might think that everything is bad. But let's mentally return to the graph with squares. We discussed those friends with whom relationships do not bring pleasure and benefit. Therefore, they listed not the best options. But there is also a friendship that is worth the effort.
Nothing is perfect, but there are also true friends. Those, from communication with which life becomes better for both parties. And if a friend falls into the first square of the graph and at the same time into the first circle of communication, this is one of the cornerstones on which your life is built.
Reliable friends make us happy, investing time and energy in such friendship is a life strategy for many years to come.
But closer to 30 we think that we have:
- no special time for friends;
- the available time should be divided equally between people from the first and second circle of communication.
And we will fall into an eternal trap. When we do not see friends for a long time, we begin to talk about something supposedly important first of all. About career, marriage, family problems. Theoretically, after you discuss important issues, you can move on to jokes, chatter, and actually friendship. In fact, if we don't take the time to make friends and then start asking about all the news in recent months, then there is not a moment left to actually enjoy the friendship and discuss something other than recent events.
So there are two items on the agenda:
- Think about your friends who are not in the first square. Move them off your friendly mountain. Not in the sense that you should stop talking to them altogether. Treat them well, don't forget about them. But if something doesn’t suit you, you don’t have to constantly be with these people. In general, clean up the environment.
- Make more time for real friends. If you are already about 30, then you are unlikely to find other true friends. They deserve to receive five, ten times more attention than other acquaintances. And it’s not enough just to have lunch during the break. True friendship is worthy of a close atmosphere. Now take and plan an evening with your best friend.
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- Friendship sex: why relationships without commitment in life are much more complicated than in movies blood pressure, reduces the risk of developing dementia in old age and even the risk of sudden death. But even with the best of friends, communication can suddenly become nauseatingly tense. Journalist Karlin Flora described the different types of toxic relationships and explained where problems with friends come from and why it's not always bad. T&P publishes a translation of her article for Aeon. Karlin Flora is a journalist and former editor of Psychology Today. She has published in Discover, Scientific American Mind, and others. She is the author of the book Friendfluence, which was published in 2013.
Remember the last time you sat opposite your best friend and felt that she knows you very well and, most importantly, truly understands you. Perhaps you have felt that she awakens the best qualities in you, in her presence you succeed in the most sensible remarks and the most witty jokes. She inspired you. She always listened carefully, found hidden patterns in your behavior, and then carefully suggested how you can change everything for the better. You loved to gossip about common acquaintances, from time to time you indulged in memories of joint adventures. You willingly delved into your favorite topics, exchanged half-hints that were barely understandable to others, and easily deciphered meaningful euphemisms in each other's speech. Perhaps you even know the pleasant feeling of admiration for your girlfriend, which was accompanied by a sense of pride from the realization of your similarity with her. The person you had a very high opinion of, appreciated you mutually - of course, this brought a feeling of deep satisfaction and happiness, literally energized you.
Such friendship fills us with spiritual strength, shapes our personality, and sometimes can even change our destiny. These relationships have repeatedly been under the microscope of social scientists - thus it turned out that they help us maintain mental and physical health: good friends improve immunity, stimulate creativity, maintain normal blood pressure, reduce the risk of developing dementia in old age and even the risk of sudden of death. So if you feel that you cannot live without friends, not only sentimentality speaks in you, but also common sense.
But even the deepest and kindest friendship, like almost any human relationship, can be overshadowed by conflicts, resentments and tensions. Charm can irretrievably disappear from it, it can even completely disappear for some sad reason or for no reason at all. But there are also not-so-useful types of friendship: sometimes in a relationship that began on a positive note, conflict grows every day, and in critical cases, friendship can be initially painful, toxic. Good friends make us happy, but even they demand a lot in return. If you look closely, friendship is a much more confusing and ambiguous type of relationship than is commonly thought.
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For the first time, harsh reality cast a shadow over the cloudless concept of friendship, when sociologists became convinced that friendly sympathy is mutual only in half of the cases. This information is shocking to many: the same studies claim that we tend to deliberately believe that our friends almost always share our feelings. Can you guess who from your list of friends would not add you to a similar list?
One of the reasons for the imbalance is that friendships are often socially desirable: research among teenagers shows that people who want to be friends with popular people are often selective (and thereby upset the balance of reciprocity). One recent piece of evidence is an article by Stephen Strugatz in The New York Times published in 2012. According to his observations, our Facebook friends, on average, always have more friends than we do ourselves. They also say that friendship is a salvation from a world obsessed with updating statuses. Here is your salvation!
Scientists also distinguish an ambivalent kind of friendship — it is characterized by mutual dependence and conflicts. If you have such a friend in your life, he simultaneously evokes both positive and negative feelings in you. For example, when you see his name on the smartphone screen, you will think twice before answering the call. This type of relationship is very common. Each of us has a network of socially important contacts, and, according to statistics, there are about 50% of ambivalent characters in it. In fairness, it’s worth saying that these are most often family members, and not friends (after all, you can’t get rid of relatives so easily). Nevertheless, this is another stone in the garden of the "spotless" concept of friendship.
But even those friends whom you boldly call faithful, reliable and interesting people can darken your life if at least one less attractive one is added to these qualities. We know very well from sociological research that a depressed friend is more likely to make you share his depression, an obese friend is more likely to gain weight, and with friends who smoke or drink a lot, you will drink and smoke more.
In some cases, "good" friends develop goals, habits, or values that do not match ours. Of course, these people didn't do us any harm. But over time, they cease to be part of the group that defines our social identity and / or helps us solve pressing problems. Staying with them, we swim against the current.
In addition to all the unfortunate effects of contradictory ambivalent friendships, there is also a real harm to our health. In 2003, scientists Julianne Holt-Lunstad of Brigham Young University and Bert Uchino of the University of Utah conducted a collaborative study in which participants were asked to wear a portable blood pressure monitor and record their interactions with people throughout the day. The readings of the devices claimed that blood pressure during communication with ambivalent friends was higher than during truly friendly and even openly hostile communication. This is probably due to the fact that such relationships are largely unpredictable, and therefore force us to be on the alert all the time: "Is Jane going to ruin everyone's Christmas Eve again?" In addition, ambivalent relationships are associated with such unpleasant phenomena as impaired reactivity of the cardiovascular system, premature cellular aging, low levels of stress resistance, and a general deterioration in well-being.
However, in one case, researchers of ambivalent friendship came up with unexpected results: it turned out that it has a positive effect on the work process. As scientists have found, ambivalent colleagues tend to put themselves in the place of another more often than usual, in part because there is always a place for uncertainty in such relationships and a person tries to understand what they really are. In addition, ambivalent friendships add insecurity, which in turn forces people to work harder to establish themselves in their position.
Pseudo-friends, or friend-enemies, is another kind of conflicting relationship between people. But in this case, contrasting feelings are neatly layered on top of each other: friendliness over rivalry or hostility, in contrast to the ambivalent connection with her explosive cocktail of love, hatred, irritation, pity, affection, disgust, tenderness and a couple more unpredictable ingredients. Many of us know firsthand the powerful motivating power that comes with having such a friend-foe in the office, not to mention romantic or parent-child relationships in which this power can become destructive.
Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, and the same is true of unhappy friendships: there are countless reasons why a friend might be "unfavorable" to you. A couple of American researchers delved into this topic - Susan Heitler, a clinical psychologist from Denver, and Sharon Livingston, a psychologist and marketing consultant from New York. Here are the typical signs of "unfavorable" friendships that they were able to find: a bad friend makes you feel competitive with other friends; she talks about herself much more often than you; she allows herself to criticize you from above, but immediately becomes defensive if you criticize her in response; during communication, you get the feeling that you are walking on thin ice, because at any moment you can provoke an outburst of her anger or disapproval; the relationship is dominated by the so-called emotional swing: today she can be sympathetic and friendly, but the next day she pulls away and behaves as if you barely know each other.
In 2014, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh found an interesting correlation while studying the social lives of healthy women over 50. It turned out that if the volume of negative episodes increased in their relationships with others, their risk of developing hypertension also increased. Negative social interactions - for example, overwhelming demands and criticism from others, disappointments, "exchange of pleasantries" - led to the fact that the appearance of hypertension in the subjects became 38% more likely. But in men, no connection was found between negative communication and high blood pressure. This is probably due to the fact that women in general are more concerned about relationships between people and are socially predisposed to pay more attention to them.
Negative communication also contributes to the development of inflammatory processes in the body - both in women and in men. Such data was obtained in the course of her research by Jessica Chiang, a researcher at the University of California (Los Angeles). According to her findings, accumulated social stressors, like real toxins, can cause physical harm to a person.
Those friendships that are destined to be the most painful of our lives often start on a positive note and only then turn into a nightmare. For example, a recent study among teenagers showed that people who had a friendship in the past were 4.3 times more likely to express mutual aggression on the Internet than just acquaintances. In other words, sociological statistics agree with Diane de Poitiers (favorite of the French King Henry II), who, back in the 16th century, stated: “To have a worthy enemy, choose a friend: he knows where to strike.”
Another slippery slope that friendship can take unexpectedly, was described by the writer Robert Greene in his book 48 Laws of Power. Friendly help in finding a job, he warns, can lead to the fact that your relationship will gradually turn from good to harmful. This is due, in particular, to the peculiarities of the emotional reaction provoked by such serious favors.
Oddly enough, it is an act of your kindness that can throw a relationship out of balance. People want to feel that their success is deserved. A friendly favor can cause depressing thoughts: “What if I was chosen only because of my connections? Perhaps I am not worthy of this place at all? A condescending attitude, which is easy to suspect in a sympathetic friend, can seriously hurt self-esteem. The trauma will not immediately make itself felt, but gradually the relationship will become more rude frankness, there will be outbreaks of discontent and envy - and before you have time to understand something, the friendship will end.
“So, can directness and disinterested help destroy true friendship?” - you ask. On the one hand, this statement challenges the ideals of absolute openness and boundless generosity - the necessary attributes of sincere friendly affection. But on the other hand, it seems that here lies the key to why friendship can be both favorable, and ambivalent, and harmful, and even move from one state to another.
In his article "The Evolution of Mutual Altruism", published in 1971, evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers summed it up: "Each individual tends to show a tendency to both altruistic behavior and cheating." Cheating here is understood as the conscious intention to give at least a little less within the relationship or take at least a little more than our friend would take or give in a similar situation.
Trivers explains that evolution has made us clever, cunning crooks. The complex mechanism of our psyche helps us detect those who cheat too openly and notice when we ourselves become too generous. Trivers writes:
“A rude crook will not reciprocate, and an altruist will receive absolutely nothing in return for his generosity ... Obviously, in this case, natural selection will be extremely negative towards the crook. Crafty cheating, on the other hand, involves a certain degree of reciprocity. This art is to give less than you receive - or, more precisely, to give less than the partner would give in the opposite situation.
Perhaps it is this balance between selfishness and altruism, which averages close to 50/50, that explains the many other 50% rates that crop up in friendship research. Let's remember: only 50% of friends have mutual sympathy, our social networks are 50% composed of ambivalent relationships. Even the average person is able to recognize a lie only 50% of the time. Evolution has made us shrewd enough not to let ourselves be fooled, but at the same time saved us from the inevitable torments that life in a world of absolute harsh truth would bring with it. So we were left with a loophole for compliments and white lies. Similarly, we are able to detect cheating on the part of friends, but still not too virtuoso, otherwise we would risk completely losing faith in people and any desire to maintain friendly relations. Nature has kept the perfect balance - 50/50.
Psychologist Jan Jaeger conducted a survey for his book When Friendship Hurts (2002) and found that 68% of respondents had experienced friend betrayal. Who are these heartless traitors? Why are there so many? However, with the figure of 68% - maybe not “them”, but “us”?
This frightening thought made me wonder: do we really make an effort to forgive small offenses? Express dissatisfaction before it builds up and forces you to end the relationship forever? Find time for a long-awaited meeting? Recognize the right of another person to disagree with us in everything? Are we really trying to give generously rather than keep score? Do we pressure our friends with our unjustified expectations? Is it true that we do our best to keep our friendship? Well, maybe most of our friends feel the same way about themselves. And if they're unfriendly or we're pulled apart by the natural course of life, maybe we should accept that and not label relationships as toxic that we just don't want to have anymore.
When a relationship ends at the initiative of a friend or they disappear from our lives without any explanation, it can be excruciatingly painful. And although it is no secret that the circle of social contacts narrows as we grow older, we still somehow believe that friendship is forever. The rupture of friendships forces us to rethink our own vision of life and our own personality, especially if a friend has been around for many years. As the fresh wound throbs with pain, we hasten to brand him or her as a traitor.
But sometimes we have to leave a friend to become ourselves. In her book Connecting in College (2016), sociology professor Janice McCabe states that breaking friendships early in life is an important part of personal development. We inevitably form our individuality and self-consciousness based on our environment: either we strive for certain people, or we repel ourselves from them.
While we all need to take a look at our friendly behavior and accept responsibility for the conflicts that sometimes arise in relationships, there are still aspects of friendship that are beyond our control. For example, a large number of mutual friends and acquaintances can become a cornerstone in an ambiguous situation. Let's say your friend has crossed the line, but you don't want to disturb your whole company with your conflict and therefore you don't announce publicly that you no longer want to do business with her. You just move away from her, but gently, so as not to cause an open confrontation and not force mutual acquaintances to choose each time which of you to invite to visit. In such cases, we remain chained to "bad" friends forever.
The laws that dictate to us with whom to remain close and whom to let go of ourselves sometimes remain a mystery even to ourselves. Think about it: do you have any acquaintances who are very nice to you, but whom you have not seen for several years? And vice versa: are there those in your closest circle with whom you actually never found a common language? Perhaps the first ones put you on the list of "bad" friends at this very moment.
Faced with toxic friendships, painful breakups and disappointments, we experience tremendous stress that can harm us not only psychologically, but even physically.