Do Friendships Need to Benefit You All the Time?

I personally thought that above question was a no-brainer and maybe I misunderstood what was said to me, but I am going to ask and answer the question.

Do friendships need to benefit you all the time?

Today, rather than ignore a “friend” to make him go away, I decided to be assertive, responsible and (despite what he may think) respectful and tell this “friend” that I did not want to be his friend. I messaged him on Facebook saying,

“Hi. I’m going to be honest. I can’t talk to you. I really don’t trust you and it’s not beneficial for me to keep talking with you. I’m sorry.”

He responded with,

“Weird… so a friendship has to directly benefit you all the time or it’s not worth your time? Not the kind of friends I want anyways.”

My final reply was,

“Yes, of course. You look out for yourself first. Bye.”

This particular “friend” and I have known each other since we were kids which is why I held onto the relationship for so long. He repeatedly over the years has disrespected me and my intimate relationships. I have asked repeatedly over the years for my boundaries to be respected and he did not do so. I recognized that he was struggling and I tried to support him but then my boundaries would be compromised.  I stopped speaking to him many times and he would promise that he would stop doing what I said was making me uncomfortable, but he would only do so for a short period of time. I found that I was happier when I was not speaking to him. When he messaged me a few weeks ago apologizing and specifically stating what he had done wrong I thought that maybe I should give him a chance. I still couldn’t shake the feeling of suspicion and distrust. I needed to listen to my gut. I needed to officially end the “friendship”. A friendship should not feel that way this one was feeling.

The way I see it, every type of relationship in your life should benefit you. I believe that if the relationship is a good relationship then it is benefiting you ALL THE TIME even when it is rocky. It is the benefits of the relationship that make handling the rocky moments easier and worth it. If you spend most of your time in a relationship that is hurting you then the benefits (if any) do not make it worth it to stay. You are the most important part of that relationship because you have to live with your feelings, thoughts, and behaviours. You set your boundaries and if those in various relationships with you respect them, then you have a beneficial relationship ALL THE TIME, even during the bad.

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10 thoughts on “Do Friendships Need to Benefit You All the Time?

  1. Great points, especially about benefits of friendship. You are so right that there is always benefit in friendship whether we are in contact with one another, angry with them, or just busy with our own lives. Thanks for great perspective!

    • It was pointed out to me by a support group I’m in that I could have explained to him why I wanted to end the friendship. I do agree I could have done and debated on doing that this morning. There just comes a time when too much has been taken and for me that means just walking away as quickly as possible.

      Thank you for your comment!

  2. I agree totally. I have had friends weigh me down and actually disparaged my plans and hopes and looked at me as the one to dump their feelings on and not excepting my issues. I post on forums as a pro and have Trolls trying to shut me down and in those forums their beliefs get me well paid taking a chance. But those taking advantage of anybody with the slightest mental illness is wrong on many levels.

    • Not everyone that comes into our lives is good for us, that’s for sure! Online also offers a protective shield to hide behind. Oddly enough, this friend of mine never spoke to me in-person the way he spoke to me online. Who he was in-person is the friend I wanted.

      What did you do with the friends and trolls that weren’t benefiting you?

      • If they were the slightest bit malicious I cut them off. I had one who was an EMT and 3 years ago I was in a nasty hit n run where I was resuscitated twice in the ambulance. I had broken ribs, herniations through my neck and back and multiple tears throughout my shoulders. She suggested I come out to a softball cage and stop being a baby 4 days after the accident. I had a seizure that night between the activity and medications I was wrongfully put on. However, if someone is not benefiting me that is not reason enough to cut them off. I am not a nasty person by nature but if I get that way with someone it is a countdown. I guess we all have our own ways regarding dealing with them. Trolls though I just do not respond to them. If it is a certainty they are one. I try to avoid drama yet it finds me.

  3. Kudos to you for being assertive and knowing when it is time to end a relationship. I find it really hard to put up boundaries in the first place, so I get really upset when those boundaries are violated. It’s weird that anyone would expect you to stay in a relationship that you were unhappy with. Sounds like he felt pretty entitled.

    • I have some horror stories about his entitlement towards me…he greatly concerns me. I think many of us still believe in the movie bullshit, that people will always go out of their way for people they care about but that is so draining and can sometimes turn into neglect and abuse.

  4. I would say friendships need to be mutually beneficial. If you are always looking for friendships to benefit you, you may forget to be there for others when they need a friend.

    Friendships are hard work. Over the years I’ve shed more friends than skin as I’ve worked out who are the people I can see in my life for the long haul.

    Friendships need as much give and take as a romantic relationship if it isn’t happening then you can’t force it.

    It certainly sounds like the one you are referring to had gone toxic. It’s hard “breaking up” with friends. People seem so resistant to it but it’s a good idea to shake things up!

    • Oh yes, they need to be give and take. This friendship had become very one-sided a long time ago. I don’t think many realize that friendships need to be maintained. I have seen what happens when effort is not put into friendships. Sometimes we need to do a cleanse of toxic people in our lives.

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