Last night I spent three hours with a new friend having some food and pastries at one of my favorite spots in Charlotte. Though we had been talking for a good portion of the night, I left feeling energized and happy. I couldn’t believe how late it had gotten. Yet there are other times when I’ll leave a social situation feeling completely drained and ready to head to bed. It’s pretty amazing how a friendship can either energize you or zap the life out of you, and sometimes you don’t even realize it’s happening.
When your schedule’s busy and your free time is limited, it’s important to choose the people you surround yourself with carefully. Essentially you’re investing time into this person and this relationship, and if the investment isn’t a wise one it’ll come back to bite you. Maybe it won’t happen in the form of lost money, but you’ll find yourself feeling drained and negative. But when you make a smart investment with your time, you reap the rewards as you feel happy and energized by the conversation.
The problem is, though, sometimes you’ve been friends with a person for so long or spent so much time with them that you don’t even realize the impact they have on you. You’ve gotten used to feeling zapped when you’re done hanging out with them, or are used to spending lunch exchanging complaints. You no longer see the friendship as a positive or negative thing. It’s just a normal part of your life. But when you step back and compare that situation to a more positive interaction, it becomes blaringly obvious that this kind of exchange isn’t the best use of your time.
Don’t just accept relationships that make you feel less than great. Don’t allow someone to zap your energy or spread their bad mood. Don’t spend your precious free time with someone if you know you’ll leave that situation feeling anything less than cheerful. Life is too short to waste time on negative nancies, manipulators, self-involved people, or any other garden variety bad friendships.