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The importance of purging friends

Over this past year I’ve had to let go of a number of people who I previously called “friends”. There was nothing wrong with these people per se, I just realized that we weren’t heading in the same directions anymore. Luckily for me, it happened almost organically. I was in a relationship with someone who I ended up spending nearly all of my free time with. Now, bailing on all my friends isn’t something that I plan on doing again in the future, but for the purpose of getting rid of some people, it worked.

Honestly, I haven’t always surrounded myself with the best people in the world. I can recall more than one instance where a “friend” had mistreated me. Be it talking behind my back, stealing money from me on numerous occasions, or just not being there for me in my time of need. In the past I think I was so starved for attention or companionship from friends that I would take anything that came my way. Looking back, I realize that those people were not really friends at all and I should be a lot more selective about who I call my friends.

Ending communication with certain individuals was important for me because, quite frankly, I have enough issues without adding someone else’s to the mix. And I also don’t need anyone in my life who was out to use me, as some people have done.  Ending communication with some folk was a blessing since I was able to focus on other things and get back to me. The old saying holds true, “Birds of a feather, flock together”.  I just decided for the most part, I didn’t want to flock with those people anymore. Since then, my life has been relatively drama free, or at least free of other people’s drama.

I used to feel so bad if a friendship or relationship didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. My thoughts on the situation have changed.  I learned a lot from these relationships. I learned about my short comings as a friend, I learned about what type of people I want to surround myself with,  and because of these situations, I’ve been able to have a better appreciation of my true friends and strive to be a better friend as well. So in some ways, breaking up with a friend is a lot like breaking up with a significant other. The real tragedy would be if I had learned nothing from the friendship at all.


About Niesha Davis

Niesha Davis is an internationally based writer and editor. She has written for: Sixth Tone, Women's Health, Everyday Health, Bust, Bitch, Narratively, The Awl, and other publications. Follow her travels on youtube at brown and abroad.

9 responses »

  1. Things do have a way of happening by that I mean your post. I’am at a point in my life where I am having a hard time with friendships well lack there of. I’m even in the desperate stage on facebook just making friends with any tom, dick, or harry. It just feels like I’m missing a connection with people in my life. I do not even know what a friend is to be honest.

    • I hear you. The downside of my situation is that I kind of feel like a fish out of water. Now that the relationship is over, and certain people are out of my life, that leaves very few still here. I’ve taken this time to get some personal things in order and to reconnect with people that I missed. I’ve also started doing activities that I want to do, regardless of if I have someone to do them with. I would suggest doing what you want to do, going where you want to go and meeting people that way. Are there any classes that you might be interested in?

      • Well my friend purge came when I found out I had cancer. You really find out who your real friends are when you down. So I basically take the time to take care of my health and get ready for the semester to start back up

  2. “In the past I think I was so starved for attention or companionship from friends that I would take anything that came my way”

    I think the same thing happened to me, that’s basically the essence of my blog.

  3. I know what you mean about letting go friends. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about that in the past few years. Sometimes they just are not meant to last.

    • Yes, I’ve had friendships dissolve in the past. It was sad but I don’t feel like they were failures because of that. Some people are only meant to be in your life for a short period of time.

  4. I definitely relate to this. I’ve had to let a lot of people go, naturally and unnaturally, from my “friends roster”. One day, you just kind of realize that some people are not a good fit for your life. It’s cathartic, sad, and necessary.

    Best of luck!

  5. Don’t you also feel that sometimes the Almighty Father sends people to you? And that you are supposed to ‘stick it out’ nevertheless? Every year my husband and I would go to South Africa for a break and we would stay at his friend’s house. His friend is married with two kids. As time goes by, each time I met with the wife I notice tension between us. It would be things like trying to end a conversation between me and her mother in law (whom she felt threatened by); scolding me for not quickly putting my clothes in the washing machine on time!! One day we all went out to dinner and we were talking about her mother in law, her husband’s family and how she felt they did not like her. I tried to explain that I didn’t’ think the mother in law disliked her; just that perhaps she was concerned about her grand-kids (this was her son’s second marriage). It was too much for the wife, so before I realised she started shouting at me. I kept quiet and bit my bottom lip hard! The following day, she came to apologise but for me it was not good enough. I let rip by telling her that I didn’t like, never liked her and that we didn’t have a dicky bird in common! And the only reason why she and I spoke was because her husband and my husband were friends. My husband and I left SA the next day.

    Clearly what happened, bothered her as she was trying to make out that I was in the wrong etc to the point when her husband came to stay with us, he wanted to raise the matter but I remained resolute by making it clear that I said what I had to say, there was nothing further to add. Some months later, I discussed it with a friend of mine, a devout Christian. She listened; clearly felt it was unlike me to handle things this way. She said to me how did I not know that God placed this woman near me, that He knew she had issues and a troubled life, and by not having anything in common with me is even more reason why I had to accommodate her. She told me that I should realize that the woman looked up to me, and that by me ‘giving it to her straight’ would have a lasting negative effect upon her! Is what I really wanted she asked me?

    I have given this much thought but I guess my ego is a lot bigger than my reasoning. Like you, I’ve been through a lot of friendships and the majority of them; I always seem to lose out. It has left me suspicious and skeptical to the point that even if God speaks, I don’t always want to hear. But a thought provoking article

    • Well, I do feel that people come into our lives for specific reasons sure. However, no, I don’t believe we should just stick it out if it’s making us unhealthy or angry. We only have one life to live and we can choose what type of people to share it with for a variety of reasons.


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