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How to Know If a Friendship Is Worth Saving

by Rachel Pancare

Not all friendships last forever. Those that do can change and grow over time. Ebb and flow in a friendship is natural. However, when a friendship has faded significantly or when a major conflict occurs, you may need to analyze the value of the relationship to determine if it is worth saving. Has this friend been a positive influence in your life? Is there more good than bad in your interaction? Is the friendship mutual, honest, consistent and stress-free? If you're unsure, look for clues that it's time to move on. According to the article "Should You Save Your Friendship?" in "Self Magazine," unlike family, we get to choose our friends.

One Side Does All the Work

Balance is a key part of a strong friendship. Friends listen to each other, provide support and make a mutual effort to get together or stay in touch. If you are making more of an effort than your friend, it may be time to evaluate the overall relationship. Is there a reason your friend has become lazy about connecting with you? Is she going through a hard time? If you feel that you're the only one participating over a long period of time, the friendship may not be worth saving. But if it's just a phase or your friend is enduring a crisis, she may need you now more than ever.

Too Many Lies

Honesty is one of the most important elements of a good friendship. Friends are people you respect, enjoy being with and, most of all, trust. If you discover that your friend repeatedly lies to you or that you feel unable to tell her the truth yourself, the friendship might not be strong enough to continue. Foster honesty in a friendship by being a nonjudgmental listener. Encourage open communication by withholding criticism unless truly necessary.

Plenty of Stress and Anxiety

Minimizing stress is essential for leading a healthy, enjoyable life. A friendship that brings more stress and anxiety than good feelings does not enrich your daily experience. Consider the overall life of the friendship. Do you tend to argue with your friend frequently? Are you constantly trying to resolve misunderstandings, apologize or seek apologies? Do you often feel annoyed, angry or disappointed by her words or actions? The friendship may not be worth saving if it carries only negative emotions. If your friend is a source of support who makes you happy, try not to let the relationship dwindle.

Connection Not There Anymore

People change over time. Interests, likes, dislikes, opinions and behaviors evolve. Just because you once connected with a person deeply does not mean that the connection can withstand the test of time. People often think that the length of a friendship determines the strength of a friendship, but this is not always the case. Your extensive history with a person doesn't necessarily mean you are still the best match years later. As counselor Melanie Gorman puts it in "The Huffington Post" article "Five Signs It's Time to Kick Your Friendship to the Curb," "Sometimes our values diverge and we lose our connection." She recommends thinking about the reason for the friendship and whether you feel a sense of obligation.

About the Author

Rachel Pancare taught elementary school for seven years before moving into the K-12 publishing industry. Pancare holds a Master of Science in childhood education from Bank Street College and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Skidmore College.

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