College Girl- Getting out of a Hard Friendship

Funny how we meet people. Several months ago I was with a group of friends out of state, at a restaurant. We were loud and silly and somehow as life issues were discussed, someone mentioned about waiting for sex until marriage. Our waitress chimed in and said something to the effect of "That's what I always tell people. Supply and demand!" I stopped and looked at her. I love intelligent statements. She was a young, fun, college age looking girl, and apparently was solid in her stand.  We all talked, exchanged business cards and I asked if she'd write for my blog one day. That day has come! 

Meet Melissa.

She is a 2010 college graduate with a degree in economics (hence, the supply and demand comment!) She is on her way to starting up her own massage therapy business.  She is a girl with goals, a plan, and also a couple of blogs on the side!

Check out her yummy recipes here at and her thoughts on life at "Something Beautiful".

When she commented on my previous post "Wanna Know Girls Thoughts on Friendship?", about girls needing to understand how to end a bad friendship, I asked her to write about her personal experience.  Here it is, in her own words.

"A harmful friendship in my opinion is one in which you constantly feel like your boundaries are being violated or that is always pushing you to be something else. An extreme instance of this would be friends who are always pushing you to do drugs or things that violate standards that you have set for yourself. 

Any person who is not respectful of my boundaries is a person I would be cautious about being on close terms with. Whenever I don’t feel comfortable just being who I am that is a sign to me that I need to be careful about how close I allow those people to be to me.

Mind you I am pretty straight forward about who I am from the start. I don’t get hung up on whether or not people will like what I have to say or who I am. My security and sense of identity does not come from what others think of me, so if someone doesn’t like me, I don’t let it get to me, and I just keep being who I am.

My relationship with my former roommate was rather complicated. I mostly felt like I was constantly walking on eggshells when I lived with her. I would do nice things for her like doing the dishes or baking a cake for her to take to a party, and she would get mad at me for doing it. 

She was controlling and manipulative of my feelings. I hadn’t learned yet that I am not responsible for the way other people feel. 

I didn’t have to deal a lot with exiting the relationship because I was actually out of the country when the time came for me to move out of our apartment. My parents moved me out and had to deal with a lot of stuff that I would have had to if I had been here. 

My parents have never been the type to tell me who I should and shouldn’t be friends with, so after they moved me out, I was incredibly shocked when they asked me to cut my ties with her. I respect my parents and as I knew that they would not ask me that without good reason, I did cut off most of my communication with her. 

I later learned why they wanted me to do that and I am grateful that they wanted to protect me from her. Although looking back, I can see now that a lot of the problems we had were because I did not have proper boundaries established. 

I did hear from her a couple of times after I moved out, but I have never really reestablished a friendship with her. When she did contact me, I made it clear that I had established very firm boundaries on our relationship. Examples of these boundaries are: where I would meet her and when I would meet her.  I had to send her the message that I was no longer allowing her to manipulate me through the way she made me feel, but I also wanted to be a minister of reconciliation as we are called to be in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20. I wanted her to know that she was welcome back in my life but that it would be on the terms I felt comfortable with.

I would say that one of the other things that helped me in exiting that friendship was that during the time I lived with her, I was also developing other friendships (a couple of which have become my dearest friends). We are called to live in community and when we don’t have a loving, supportive community around us it makes situations like the one I was in much more difficult. Good friends have a unique way of looking into our lives and speaking truth in love. To have those good friends around you makes stepping away from unhealthy friendships easier.
Looking back, if I had had the maturity I have now, I would have been better with my boundaries from the start. Actually, I would never have been roommates with her to start with. We might still be friends if we hadn’t moved in together. I definitely don’t regret it, though because I learned a lot about having boundaries and living with someone who is drastically different from me. 

I have had to get very good at being “friends” with people without allowing them to be too close to me, mostly because of my job. Also, there are just too many people for me to be close friends with all of them. I am a huge quality time person, so for me to be friends with someone, I have to spend a lot of time with them getting to know each other.
I have had to learn how to be open with my heart and my life without allowing people into all areas of my heart. I firmly believe that God calls us to live life from the heart, to have real and authentic relationship with the people around us, but He also wants us to be safe and He doesn’t want us to be in dangerous or unhealthy relationships.

In a perfect world we wouldn’t have to worry about keeping people at a distance, but we would all be good at relationship. Unfortunately we live in a fallen world where people will hurt us both intentionally and unintentionally. The people I’m around get my heart when I’m with them.

I’m just careful about how much of my heart I allow them to have. 

Matthew 7:6 say not to cast your pearls before swine. It took me a while to figure out that that verse means not to give something valuable to someone who won’t appreciate the value of what you have given to them. There are parts of my heart that very few people have access to, and they only have access because they have proved themselves to be faithful friends. I have had to decide and learn what my pearls are, what the most valuable parts of my heart are, and I have had to make the decision to hold them sacred.

Trust and relationship is built layer upon layer, like laying bricks for a house. The house is your relationship and each layer of bricks is experience that you have with someone. If at any point there is an experience that is harmful or hurts you, that is a bad layer of bricks and you have to take it out and start that layer over again. 

A good, deep relationship is one that has had many layers of good bricks and whenever you hit a hiccup in the relationship, you are able to look back to the foundation and walls that you have built with that person and continue to grow in that relationship. 

As far as helpful hints to keeping people at a distance, I think it will vary from person to person. Since I know that I’m a big quality time person, if I need to keep distance in a relationship, I don’t spend as much time with that person. I also don’t share the deep parts of my heart with them. 

I think it’s really important to learn who you are and what means the most to you in friendship and use that as a basis for how you decide to keep people at a distance. Decide your boundaries and don't allow people to violate them. 

I am a pretty laid back person and I will tolerate a lot from people, but as soon as someone oversteps a boundary, I let them know that I don't appreciate it, and that if they are going to be around me they won't go there again. 

Mostly I find that people are fairly receptive to that. It is easier to be in relationship with people who know how to have boundaries ,because there is less guess work to the relationship. These relationships are happier because they are healthy. It takes work, but the fruit is completely worth the labor."

Thank you Melissa for sharing your story. 5 things we can say for needing to exit a friendship:

1. If you feel yourself not being respected or accepted for who you are, pay attention.
2. Understand the different types of friendships there can be- some close, some at distance.
3. Set boundaries in place and keep them firmly. Spend less time. You set the guidelines.
4. Don't be manipulated by people.
5. Listen to the people around you who care about you- family and true friends.

(This is not from Melissa, but a high school girl said that if she needed to stop hanging out with a friend so much but didn't want to tell her directly, she mentally categorized that friend as a "two weeker". That means, she said no to many offers to hang out, but about once every two weeks, she would do something easy with her socially. That helped fade it out gradually. We all thought that was helpful too!)

1 comment:

  1. Hello. I found this blog through a google alert on Raising Girls. I have two girls, ages 7 and 9 and I know the task of raising them will talk intentionality and time since the culture is not going to of help. Thanks for the ideas, I love the two week solution.


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