I like her because she smiles at me and means it. ~Anonymous
When I was younger I had a lot of friends. My self-esteem was tied to how many people wanted to be in my company and I made the mistake of measuring my worth by the number of friendships I had. I must be a really great person if so many people like me! Unfortunately, I've learned over the years that not everyone I considered a friend had my best interests at heart. People will befriend you for all different reasons, but it's important to differentiate between those who serve you well and those who don't. Now I understand the quality of friendships matters far more than the quantity. I've redefined my friendships several times over the years and continue to do so as I progress from one phase of my life into another. In other words, I've dropped some anchors.
I still have a lot of friends, only now I nurture the friendships that are important to me and don't spend a whole lot of time on those that aren't. As Dr. Phil often says, "we teach people how to treat us." In my youth, I taught people that it was OK to be phony, narcissistic or spiteful because I based my self-worth on whether or not they liked me. Now, I choose to be treated with dignity and respect and surround myself with like-minded people. I never knew that I would feel better about myself with fewer friends than I ever did with more. I'm pretty sure turning 40 had something to do with that.
I feel so bad for that younger version of me who put up with so much nonsense from people who were never that important to begin with. I endured jealousy, half-hearted concern and selfishness in the name of so-called friendship. My younger self didn't know that her life was all about choices. My older self knows that I don't need anyone's permission to do what's best for me. I make better choices now.
Do you have relationships that drain you? Have you tried dropping the anchors? Just look for the friends who smile at you and mean it.