With ‘friends’ like these….


“If you want to really know what a person truly is like then you need to take a look at their friends.”

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently and this is my Sweat City retake: “If you want to know what YOU really think of YOURSELF, then take a look at your friends.”

Who we choose to spend time with, who we allow to share those precious moments of time that are ours to decide to spend however we wish; these people reveal more about what we unconsciously think we’re worth than almost anything else.

If we choose to be in an intimate relationship with a man or woman who cheats on us, then some part of us believes that we are not worthy of the effort that it takes to be truly faithful.  If we are friends with somebody who is consistently, willfully late to every brunch, night out or movie then that says that we accept that their time and life is more important than our time and plans. 

The ‘friend’ that consistently tries to sabotage our healthy eating commitments by ‘accidentally’ ordering pizza with extra cheese when the original plan had been a delicious Thai stir-fry is behaving in a passive aggressive way and placing their needs, wants or fears (you changing, you growing away from them) far above your own.  A lover that sulks when you choose to go to the gym after work rather than rushing to the neighborhood bar to drink beer with them is NOT doing that because they love you so much they can’t bear to be without you for a second.  They are doing it because THEY want to drink and they don’t want to have to question their stress management by having you show by example that there ARE other, very successful alternatives. 

A true friend wants the very best for us and our happiness, and they get excited to share that with us.  A girlfriend or boyfriend that is deeply in love with us is respectful of our efforts to become healthier, happier and more fulfilled. If they are smart they know that the better we feel about ourselves, the more we will BOTH be able to enjoy the couple time we spend together.

Backstabbing, bitchiness, passive aggressive behavior, sulkiness or outright disrespect on any kind of a consistent basis is NOT acceptable.  We are all: each and every one of us, worth so much more than that!  In all honesty if we really mean to accomplish our life, fitness and personal goals then this toxic behavior can’t be allowed to fester and derail all our hard work and results.

So is the relationship truly worth trying to salvage or has it gone so far past it’s sell-by date that the Health Inspector needs to shut it down?

By this I mean what’s the balance on the emotional scale?  Overall do I leave an interaction with this person generally feeling uplifted, happy, stimulated, caring and cared for?  Or am I frequently sad, feeling insecure, do I find myself questioning who I am and who I want to be, do I hear a voice in my head telling me that my dreams are dumb? Pointless?  Unrealistic?

If overall the feelings are positive but perhaps my friend has a habit that I find hurtful then it is important for me to be an adult and to communicate that, in a kind and generous way.  Often people have no idea that their behavior or off-hand comments affect us so deeply.

If when I think about the ‘emotional scale’ the feelings are predominantly negative then this is the time that I really take a look at MYSELF and figure out why I allow this relationship to continue.  Is it just a habit?  Am I scared that if I’m no longer close with this person then I’ll have no friends, or be “single forever”?  Do I secretly agree with the mean things they say about me?  Do I think that that’s all I deserve, all I’ll ever get?

We often know our friends for much longer than we are in an intimate relationship, yet for some reason people rarely think about whether they are still a good ‘fit’ with their friends.  I think that it’s just as important to take inventory on our friends as our lovers.  And if necessary it’s just as important to break up with them if the friendship makes us miserable and we dread picking up the phone when they call.

Yes, it’s nice to be a good person and perhaps they DO ‘need’ us.  But honestly are we helping either them OR us by maintaining a friendship that is toxic and more enables negative behaviors on both sides than anything remotely positive?

I used to spend time with people that were very funny and entertaining and sexy.  But they were also mean, exclusionary and treated themselves, their bodies and each other like dirt under their shoes.  The Jessica that I used to be chose to spend time with these people.  I was deeply unhappy, I had a lot of casual ‘encounters’ but was incapable of real intimacy, and I treated my body like I didn’t really care if I died or not.   When I made the decision to actually GET A REAL LIFE those ‘friends’ had to go.

Was I lonely?  Well yes, sometimes for a little while.  But I took that time to actually think about who I was, who I wanted to be and what I actually ENJOYED DOING.  It turned out it wasn’t getting wasted in nightclubs for another 5 years, having identical experiences time after time (because when you don’t actually DO anything, eventually no one you know has ANYTHING new and interesting to talk about)!  🙂

So I started trying out other, different things that I thought I might like.  I took writing and art classes, joined some random clubs, tried different sports and yoga, went to quirky movies, the gym etc.  Some were a good fit, some weren’t but they ALL showed me that there are literally thousands of different people out there to be friends with.  It’s a gradual process but having the support and company of people who share similar goals and have aspirations beyond hooking up with the hottest girl out that night is an unbelievable experience.

I have people in my life now that am proud to have ‘represent’ me, because they’re smart, funny, ambitious, and healthy.  So that must mean that I’m doing something right  🙂

To me it says all the hard work was and is worth it. I genuinely like who I am as a person. I’m frequently imperfect but I try hard every day to be the best I can be today. Just for today.

Right?  🙂


10 Responses to “With ‘friends’ like these….”

  1. 1 amy
    January 15, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    that might have been one of the greatest things you have written

  2. 2 a.p
    January 15, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Well that pretty much sums up the last year and a half of my life, minus the last few months that ive been able to pull myself out of. It was such an unhealthy friendship and i can blame myself for letting it go on that long. It resulted in a fight, and i was left without a friend at the end of it. The rest of this post perfectly describes the destructive relationship she was sucked into after we stopped talking. I feel at fault for some of it, but i guess i havent completely dealt with, or resolved it.

  3. January 15, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    Wow. That was an awesome blog.
    So here is my story 🙂

    A couple of weeks ago I found myself in a similar situation. It was my best friend. I loved her and when she called I was always there for her (she called more than often ;)). That was no problem because I loved to be there for her and to help her with all her problems but then there was a time in which I wasn’t fine at all. That was a time where I really needed her to support me and help me but when we met to actually talk about me everything she was doing was telling me about her “dumb” problems. So what did I do?? I shut up and listened to her. In the end I figured out my problems by myself which was hard but a great experience because I realized that I don’t get anything in return for all the effort that I put in our friendship. The people that were actually there for my in that hard time were others.
    I decided to break up and somehow it wasn’t hard for me at all. I didn’t miss anything because sadly there wasn’t anything to miss. It’s a couple of months ago now and all I can say is that I didn’t regret to take that step. At first I was afraid to loose something, to speak up for myself or to just change something but now I’m glad that i had the courage to do so. I’m not focused on one person anymore and that showed how many amazing people there are around me. I literally opened my eyes and now I let people get through to me.
    People with whom I’m in touch with for the last years but I never realized how beautiful they really are 🙂

    Again thanks for the blog.

  4. 4 annabel
    January 15, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    well said, lacey! i’m honoured to be part of it!

  5. 5 Alyssa
    January 16, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Awww. Group hug!!

  6. 6 jessica clark
    January 16, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Thank you all for sharing your own experiences with this difficult subject 🙂 I relate so much to the feelings of sadness and the awkwardness of ‘breaking up’ with friends. I do firmly believe though that it is one of the most self-empowering actions that we can take for ourselves and our continued evolutions into the healthy, HAPPY, fulfilled people that we work so hard to be :)! And while it can be hard to see our friends struggle once we make that decision, ultimately the impetus for change can only truly come from within and as much as we may wish to ‘help’ them, it is usually not possible until they come to conclusions of their own.

    I know that before I was ready to make positive change in my life there were a few good people who tried to help me and I couldn’t hear it. I wasn’t ready. Now I have nothing but appreciation for the good people in my life 🙂 and I even renewed two old long distance friendships. Starting with a heartfelt apology from ME!

    I believe in the power of each and everyone of us to change and grow into the best versions of ourselves. Thank you all so much for sharing the journey with me and Lacey at Sweat City and let’s keep it coming!! 🙂

  7. 7 erin r
    January 16, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    this is the exact argument i had with my boyfriend today!

  8. February 1, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    “If you want to really know what a person truly is like then you need to take a look at their friends.” Such an amazing quote. Yes it’s true, but it doesn’t bode well for some… Your friends seem amazing! Much love! *muah!*

  9. February 3, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Excellent post. I’m going to send a link to my daughter. Unfortunately she is always picking boyfriends who are terrible and sabatoging friends. Maybe if you tell her, it’ll get through.
    Thanks for sharing.

  10. 10 Anonymous
    August 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Hi ,

    I was letting my thoughts jog and ended on theses old posts. I like reading and read all your archive.
    I enjoyed seeing the evolution/deepening of your thoughts. This post and the previous one ( about the Past,Futur ,Present ) are a glimpse in the inner self, and a place of truth. Very well written, intense and charged with life .

    Thanks for the good read.

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