This post right here is a little on the tricky side. The reason why I say that is because, while I'm pretty sure that 90 percent of people reading this can totally understand where the title is coming from, I'm also willing to bet that most figure that, even if they love their friend to death, if they don't like them anymore, what's the point in trying to keep them around?
That's a fair question. But here's something to think about. As a marriage life coach, I'm a huge believer in and supporter of couples being the best of friends. The reason why is because I like what best means. It means (among other things) "of the highest quality" and the "most suitable and desirable". When two people see each other and their relationship, in this light, there isn't too much they can't overcome. If the love is there and both are willing to work through the bumps in the road, oftentimes, they can get back to "like".
In many ways, I feel the same way about friendships. If you love your friend but you currently don't like her very much, there's a pretty good chance that there's something that happened or something that you've been suppressing, overtime, that needs to be addressed. Once it is, if the both of you are truly committed to making the friendship work and last, there's a good chance that you can get back to the "like place" again. The reason why I say that is because I've been there before. Thankfully, my friend and I made it through; in many ways, we're in a healthier state than we've ever been because we were open and honest with while remaining committed to one another.
How did we get there? By applying this list of dos and don'ts. I encourage you to give them a try to see if it can save your friendship as well.
DO Figure Out What Exactly Is Bothering You
I think that one of the hardest things about being in a relationship with, just about anyone, is it pushes you to learn about things that you might not any other way. Things like communication, compromise, empathy and forgiveness. Oh, and patience. You need lots and lots of that. No greater time are these kinds of things tested than when you are at a point and place in your friendship where you feel like you almost can't stand your friend anymore. Chances are, she hasn't become a totally different person overnight. No, whatever it is that is currently bothering you, it started off as a snowflake; now it is an avalanche either because you've been suppressing your feelings or you haven't been able to quite put your finger on what the real issue is.
It's pretty unrealistic to expect to find a solution to something when you can't pinpoint what the actual problem is. So, take some time out to really ponder what bothers you about your friend. Is it a character issue? Is it that the two of you are growing apart in some areas? Did she do something that you never, in a million years, would expect out of her? The clearer you're able to detect the "challenge", the more probable it will be to work through it.
DON’T Gossip About It to Other People
Here's the thing to remember about gossip—not all of it is salacious or untrue. By definition, gossip can be simply sharing the private affairs of others. When you're going through a rough patch with a friend, it can be really tempting to blab it to other people. Usually, it's not because you are trying to be vindictive or malicious; it's simply so you can have others "on your side" about why you feel the way that you do. But if you want to make issues worse with your friend, gossiping about her is definitely the way to do it.
For one thing, once the words leave your mouth, you can't guarantee that they won't get back to her. Secondly, who's to say that the same human receptacle who's receiving what you're saying doesn't already have some unsavory info on you as well?
One of my favorite self-help quotes of all time is, "Complain to someone who can help you." If you really need someone to bounce your thoughts off of, 1) find someone who is helpful and not messy, and 2) try and consult with someone who is outside of the circle that the two of you share. Whether you and your friend ultimately work through matters or decide to part ways, you owe it to your friendship to be as peaceful and respectful as possible in how you handle your concerns.
DO Determine If It’s a Deal-Breaking Issue or Not
Everything should come with deal-breakers; including friendships (see "Why Friendships Should Come With Deal-Breakers Too"). Deal-breakers are simply the things that, after you've tried to negotiate your way through a compromise with someone, you can't seem to find one. On the friendship front, selfishness should be a deal-breaker. Repeatedly not honoring your time or privacy should be a deal-breaker. Setting a boundary, only for your friend to cross it, several times, that should be a deal-breaker. Someone who doesn't respect your other relationships? Yep, also a deal-breaker. These are just a few examples but honestly, everyone's deal-breakers are different. What you've got to decide is, if you're feeling some type of way about your friend, is it due to something that is irritating you or if it's something that is putting the entire relationship into drama and trauma?
One of my friends, she recently had to take some steps back from a friend who was being super-patronizing and condescending. At first, my friend was willing to overlook the particular incident. Then, when she reflected and realized that it was a pattern that she had been overlooking for years, she knew it was time to draw a line in the sand.
Again, no relationship on this planet works without compromise. But if what you're trying to work through is ultimately going to do you more harm than good, that is the textbook definition of being a deal-breaker.
DON’T Be Passive Aggressive While You’re Processing It All
Speaking of relational deal-breakers, I'd have to say that, if I had one, passive aggressiveness would probably be one of them. Ugh. These kinds of people are just so freakin' draining to deal with. Passive aggressive people tend to say nothing is wrong with them when something clearly is. Or, they will use backhanded compliments and/or cynicism or sarcasm in order to deflect when something is awry. Or, they will go ghost on you rather than volunteer what is bothering them. Or, they will hop on social media and start a rant along the lines of "You know what? Nothing upsets me more than when a person does…" Le sigh. Y'all know the kind of individuals that I'm talking about.
It is unfair—and a little emotionally immature as well—to expect your friend to read your mind about whatever is irking you. If you don't like something that she is doing, taking the passive aggressive approach is low-key manipulative and super counterproductive. Plus, all it really does is put both of you on edge. Nothing good can ultimately come from that approach.
DO Schedule a Time to Discuss What's Going On
I'll raise my hand in this class and say that some of my biggest blow-ups with friends (or ex-friends) is that, when it came to something we didn't like about each other, rather than prepare the other person for the conversation, we totally blindsided the other. When you decide to tell someone that you are unhappy with the relationship or dissatisfied with something about them and, they weren't given a heads up, take it from me—it comes across as if you are attacking them. It also feels hella disrespectful.
So, rather than picking up the phone when your friend calls and unleashing your gripes, ask her when it's a good time to have lunch or to get drinks. Let her know that there are some things about y'all's friendship you'd like to discuss. It may make her a little antsy, but it will also prepare her to have a serious conversation. That way, even if she doesn't "like" what you have to say, she can, at the very least, respect your approach.
DON’T Go on the Attack or Be Closed-Off to What She Has to Say
Here's the thing that a lot of people miss when it comes to having heartfelt relationship chats—they tend to NOT check their ego at the door. Although there is nothing that irritates me more than someone who wants to bring up an issue simply because I did (you know, like when you say "I don't like it when you such-and-such" and they turn around and say something along the lines of "Well, I don't like it when you do such-and-such"), you are just as human as your friend is. This means that there is at least a 65 percent chance that there's something about you that she's not to thrilled about either; something that she's been trying to figure out how to bring to your attention.
If she decides to use this lil' quality time chat to bring it up, try and keep an open mind about it. Sure, she might be leaning on the side of petty, but there is a chance that there is some truth to what she's sharing. Let the emotional maturity in you say, "If we can knock as many issues out in one convo, let's do it" instead of going on the attack—or the defensive.
DO Try and Find an Ultimate Resolve
Whenever I get to a point of outgrowing some of my clothes (which at this point, has more to do with style than size), because a lot of them are pieces that I absolutely adored at some point, I don't simply toss them into the trash. I might give them to a friend or donate them. The point is, I still try and treat them like they still have value. Because they do.
Along these same lines, an author by the name of Zoe Sugg once said, "But then I wondered if sometimes our friendships are a bit like clothes and when they start feeling uncomfortable it's not because we've done anything wrong. It just means that we've outgrown them." Maybe you and your friend will sit down, talk out whatever is bothering you and come out being all the better for it. Or maybe, you will discover that a part of the reason why you don't like her is because she makes you feel uncomfortable. And that is because she's simply not a good fit for your life anymore.
If it ends up being Door #2, still try and treat her with dignity and what you two once had with respect. If you love but don't like her anymore, maybe it's not about cutting her off but just putting the friendship in a different category or prioritizing it differently.
Friendships go through changes just like any other type of relationship does. If the love is still there, give it some room to help you work through the tough times. Maybe, just maybe, it can get you back to a place of liking her again.
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