Is it time to break up with your friend?

In high school, all you want is friends. You want to be popular. You want to be the person who everyone knows, invited to all the parties, and cute guys want. You work so hard to get them, the last thing you want to do is “break up” with them.

It was so easy for some of those friendships to put you in a compromising situation, one where you regret the decisions you made and question why you were this person’s friend. 

I remember having this friend back in college and she wouldn’t know a good personal decision if it hit her in the face. Although there were several issues that come to mind, our Daytona Beach Spring Break really stood out as the straw that broke the camel’s back. 

The key thing is that it wasn’t about what she did. We are all free to make our own decisions and I’m open to them, within reason and not to my deficit. I realized I didn’t agree with her values. These values were the catalyst to “break-up” with my friend. 

Here are a few values I didn’t share with her that made us incompatible friends. 

First, she valued desire over safety. 

She ran off with a random man in a city over 3,000 miles away from home with no timeline of when she expected to return. Initially, she left us with only a nickname and home phone number. When she stopped back at her hotel room, she dropped off an address. But she also lets us know clearly that she did not owe us any sort of explanation. To date, we still don’t know what the guy looked like.

Second, she valued her experience over her friend’s experience. 

She took off, left us worried for her safety, and we couldn’t fully enjoy the rest of the trip. When we tried the phone number to check on her, it rang and rang until it just stopped ringing – about 25 rings each call. We decided that one of us always had to stay in the room because she didn’t have a key and we didn’t want to leave her stranded if she returned when we were out. 

Third, she valued being right over doing what was right. 

Upon confrontation, she doubled down on the fact that she could do as she wished, even though we were traveling as a group. She never apologized or even thought that she could’ve made different decisions for us all to enjoy ourselves. According to her, I should let her go off with some random guy because we were on spring break, that’s “what you do” and I needed to “loosen up”.

Fourth, she valued the time she spent with this guy over the time she spent with us – to a fault. 

She spent over half of the trip with this new guy. We wanted to leave for our flight at 10 a.m. and she hadn’t returned home by 9:30 and hadn’t heard from her in over 18 hours. Right before we were about to call in the cops for help, we popped open the phone book (yes; you read that right). In some weird fluke, the street he lived on was in the back of the phone book. If you remember this feature in the phone book, they would select just a few streets to highlight on a one-page city or area map, and his street was on that map. We had to drive over there and pick her up. She was still sleeping in his jersey and not even concerned with getting on the plane. We basically had to drag her out half dressed and half awake. 

After the trip, I did not consider her a friend. 

I want to be clear. She had the right to do as she pleased – taking off with a random guy. But I realized I didn’t like to call someone a friend who would put me in a position to feel put out and uncomfortable, where I couldn’t enjoy my vacation because she was enjoying hers – and worst of all, didn’t care. 

That experience taught me a lesson, one that I follow to this day. Over time, when I meet someone that I may call a friend one day, I ask myself these questions:

  • Do they put aside their safety?
  • Do they value their experience more than others? 
  • Do they party a little too hard?
  • Do they always need to be right? 
  • Do they hold grudges with others?
  • Do they disappear every time they meet a new partner? 
  • Does the new person seem to change their personality?

When I see those values in potential friends, I run the other way. Even in my loneliest of times, I know what I will and won’t have in my life, and I’m happy to break up with anyone who doesn’t fit the bill. I use my discernment in my relationships, and now my friendships are better and stronger than ever. 

Do you have a way to determine when it’s tiem to breakup with your friend?