Aleteia

7 Threats to friendship

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Watch out for these little things that can get between you and a budding friendship.

As we grow up, the bonds of friendship are solidified and strengthened. But most of us find that it isn’t always easy to make friends or to keep them over time.

Why does a friendship deteriorate? Has it ever happened to you that you stopped talking to a friend and the relationship slowly dissolved? This can happen with any kind of relationship, from the first steps of friendship to spousal love.

Where are some common threats to our relationships? If we recognize the problem right away, it will be easier to detect it and stop it from happening.

Here is a list of 7 reasons why a relationship might fall apart or dissolve.

1
Laziness

Relationships require us to get out of our own little bubble, and sometimes out of our comfort zone. We have to get up and moving to get together or make contact. If we let ourselves be ruled by laziness, we look for excuses to postpone plans to get together with others, or not make any at all. In the end, that’s detrimental to our friendship or relationship.

The comfort of our couch at home and of not having to be presentable in public wins out. This physical laziness leads to intellectual laziness. We end up spending all our time playing computer games or watching movies and TV series.

The first step to overcoming this inertia is to set a time limit for our screen time, and to make a point to prioritize our plans with friends or family.

2
Criticism

If we’re more prone to criticizing others than to complimenting them, it alienates us from them. Even if our negative comments reflect a real problem, but we say them in a way that doesn’t respect and help the other person, it will only push them away. If, on the contrary, our words are based on rumors or gossip, they make us disloyal. No one wants disloyal friends.

If there is something about someone that we think needs correcting, we should tell them with charity and discretion. Pointing out something like this can be very helpful when it’s done with the right attitude and with the intention of helping the other person. Look for the right moment: This requires patience not to say things at the very moment they pop into our heads.

3
Time

Do you spend time on your relationships? Beyond sending text messages, you need to spent time with other people in person. Show them that you’re interested in things they care about, talk with them and get to know each other for real. There are many aspects of communication that are lost when you’re not physically present.

In relationships you need to be generous in many things:

  • doing favors that take time
  • being aware of what’s going on in other people’s lives
  • listening
  • making the effort to leave home to see each other in person.

Are you willing to “waste time” with people?

4
Prejudices

Prejudices and preconceived ideas are barriers that make it difficult to start a friendship. It’s impossible to be cordial and respectful if we’ve already decided we don’t like a person based on superficial criteria and assumptions.

Prejudices can be rooted in social, ethnic, or religious issues that prevent us from making friends with colleagues, neighbors or family.

Is there someone you’ve met whom you’ve judged without getting to know them, because of prejudice? Try learning more about what concerns you. Don’t judge them based on stereotypes; look instead to what they actually do and say. Don’t let trends and tendencies in social networks tell you what to think. Check things out for yourself.

5
Silence

When we’re upset about something but we don’t talk about it, that silence distances us from the other person. Silence can be a form of passive-aggressiveness or contempt. Keeping silence can also cause us to begin to make an internal list of grievances: negative things that we refuse to forget.

To combat this, we must face the problem and talk about it at an appropriate time so we can resolve the conflict.

6
Superficiality

If someone is just an acquaintance, neither of us expect much from the relationship. If we want to have a real friendship, it is not enough for us to run into each other at parties, to have a drink together in a group setting, or to greet each other on social occasions.

Do you really know your friends? Beyond laughing and having fun together, do you know what their dreams and concerns are? Are they really part of your life, and are you part of theirs?

Do you share who you really are with other people? If something serious were to happen, could you count on them and they on you?

Get out of the shallow end and look for deeper conversations that will lead to greater trust.

7
Egoism

Look at any of your friendships, and ask yourself if you have this relationship only because it benefits you. Are you thinking of yourself more than the other person? Are you looking for an economic, social or emotional benefit from this relationship?

If you’re only looking for your own pleasure or benefit and to do what you like, if you don’t let the other person talk, or don’t care about their opinions or preferences, then you’re being an egoist.

How can you overcome selfishness? Think about the other person: what they like, what their aspirations are, what you can do for them.

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