Adolescence is a breeding ground for unnecessary drama, and I like to think of myself as a no-BS kind of guy. True friendship is one of the greatest treasures in life, but certain friendships aren’t always smooth sailing. Some people insist that there are no rules to friendship, and things that are meant to be will be, but too bad those people are wrong. There are some basic ground rules that I think you learn with age and by the time you’re about 20 years old, they should be intrinsic knowledge that doesn’t ever need to be explicitly stated. If you don’t know the proper way to act by that age, you probably never will. No, I don’t mean rules like “true friends wear matching socks on Tuesdays”, I mean more along the lines of common courtesy and etiquette. For example, “don’t hang out with my boyfriend without me”. Here are my personal “10 Primary Rules of Friendship” that are not only restricted to the younger generation, but that also can apply to people of any age (There are exceptions to every rule of course, but I’ll leave those up to you to decide as you come across them in your everyday life):
1. Don’t make me work
In the words of Wendy Williams, “I love friendship, but I don’t like a lot of maintenance… cuz I’m BUSY!” A friendship should be very easy and straightforward. Why would you willingly spend time with someone who complicates your life or stresses you out? Maybe they gossip about you behind your back, maybe they make snide remarks about your outfits sometimes, or maybe they just complain too much and are total Debbie-downers. Whatever the reason, I don’t have the time to waste on people I don’t enjoy hanging out with. If you’re causing drama in any way, shape, or form, don’t expect me to hang around you for much longer. Which brings me to my second point…
Friendships change like the seasons.
I am a firm believer that there is a time and a place for every friendship, as well as a reason and a season. As much as our favorite childhood TV shows might choose to disagree, friendships don’t last forever. They come and go, and the sooner you accept that, the happier I think that you will be. Some people are just not good for you. They might have been at one point: you had so much fun going to parties and making bad decisions together during freshman year, but as you got older, your interests have changed and now you don’t seem to click with the same crowd anymore. The nature of every single friendship changes over time. Sometimes it works out, and other times it doesn’t. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with either situation but learning to let go and move on seems to be very difficult for some people to do. I am a firm believer in breaking up with your friends (not unlike with a significant other) if the time comes. Don’t be an ass about it, but don’t beat around the bush either. Tell them the truth (don’t expect them to take it well), and your life will be easier in no time at all once you move on.
Don’t try to save a dying friendship.
There are two main types of dying friendships. The first one is pretty natural: Your interests change over time and you start seeing each other less. It’s not that you dislike each other’s company, but there are just new activities you’d rather be doing and new people you’d rather be hanging out with. The second one involves one or more parties putting a strain on the friendship with their actions. Someone is being selfish, rude, annoying, etc. More people need to learn how to cut toxic people out of their lives, instead of insisting that you can save the friendship and ultimately causing yourself more stress. There is a trend I’ve noticed with young people that involves them trying to keep every friendship they’ve ever had alive. The idea of wanting to hold onto a friendship “for old times sake” or to not hurt anybody’s feelings is so dumb to me. Toxic people do not need to be in any part of your life. Each situation is different, but you will know what I mean when you come across it. If they’re showing their true colors by repeatedly crossing the line with you, then it’s time to dump them and get on with your life. Straighten out your friends, don’t take crap from anyone, and don’t let anyone disrespect you. You deserve better and you have the power to make it happen.
You don’t need to be friends with everyone!
Say it with me: you don’t need to be friends with everyone!!! Why do I have to be friends with you just because you live down the hall from me? Why do I have to be friends with you just because you live with my best friend? Why do I have to be friends with you just because you have never done anything wrong to me? This may sound a little harsh, but I honestly do not want to be friends with everyone. In fact, having too many friends and having to please everyone by being nice all the time sounds really exhausting to me. I used to be one of those people who didn’t ever want anyone to dislike them, but the reality is some people don’t like me, and that’s perfectly okay. There are many people that I don’t like either. I see a lot of people who try to become friends with everyone they meet, which is great, but then they end up not liking some of them. The problem arises when the people whom they don’t like turn out to want to be friends, but they feel obligated to be nice and hang out with them because the precedent was already set. There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to be friends with someone. It’s great that you don’t want to be an asshole, but if you don’t enjoy somebody’s presence, don’t keep hanging out with him and pretending that you like him. Nobody wants to be seen as rude and insensitive, but your own happiness should be more important than the desire to not hurt anybody else’s feelings. Otherwise, where does that leave you? With one million friends and a frown whenever you see half of them. We all know what it’s like to be on both sides of this situation, and it definitely sucks when someone you want to be friends with doesn’t reciprocate those feelings, but you’re still alive and have hopefully moved on, so was it really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things?