I remember the day I sat in McDonald’s and fought for myself and cried a lot. Let me set up the situation: 16, junior in high school, meeting a friend who had hurt me deeply at McDonald’s to talk it out. My mom used to say a lot that I chose friends who were not very nice to me. I never understood why she said that back then, but it makes a lot of sense to me today. This was one of those friends who were not very nice to me.
She and I met in marching band, became fast friends and spent most of our free time together. She started dating my other friend and we all hung out. We passed around a friendship notebook, we had late night sleep overs, and we met at McDonald’s a lot to hang out. In the midst of the fun, was also lots of hurts. She blamed me for her breakup. She choose to push me away even though I was trying to be a good friend and she turned on me.
Because of this, I started to wonder what was wrong with me. What did I do to cause this? How could I fix it? What in the world is wrong with me?
My friendship slipped away so quickly and the harm this friend did really pissed me off. She was spreading lies, turning other friends against me, and isolating me. I took it personally at first and after exploring all the ways I could have caused this I landed on the fact that none of it was my doing.
There was nothing I had done to cause her to react this way. There was nothing I could do to fix her. And there was nothing wrong with me.
I walked into McDonald’s that day and fought for myself. I owned my part in our friendship and shared her impact on me. I said goodbye and I walked out.
It felt exhilarating to fight for myself. I didn’t feel guilty and I felt strong. I had stopped my friend from being mean to me and called her out.
Slowly over time, I began to remember what my mom said about being friends with people who were not that nice to me. I wish I could say this friendship was the last time I got involved in one-sided friendships, but it wasn’t. I still find myself in one-sided friendships and it still hurts. But I understand the impact it has on me today. I notice the red flags faster now. And I have a voice that I use to fight for myself and what I deserve.
We let people impact us, we impact others. We attract similar friends and find ourselves playing similar scenarios over and over again. We have the ability to change this by reflecting, observing and being curious on why we attract these kinds of people into our lives.
What pattern are you playing out with friends? Are you the one in the corner at the party? Are you the last person invited to events? Are you the one always causing drama?
Start to be curious what you are putting out into the world and what you are wanting from the world.