Taking Off the "Labels"

I'm not sure at what point in my life “friends” became somewhat of a dirty word.

I grew up in the '90s and survived many 3-way call sting operations where two of your girlfriends turned against you. At the end of each episode, there would be a slight confrontation and then we'd be hanging out again at the park and having slumber parties.

Another confusing aspect of friendship was the labels. I grew up thinking you had one or two Best Friends and the rest were just Good Friends.

My understanding of Best Friend’s Characteristics:

  • know everything about you

  • have your back

  • support you

  • encourage you through the good, the bad, and even the ugly.

And Good Friends:

  • know you a little

  • go for coffee now and then

  • talk about day-to-day things like kids, work, or family.

I never intended to label my friends, it's just the way things were. And my best friends were Best Friends Forever, no matter what!

But what happens when a lifelong best friend turns out to be someone who contributes to anxiety or self-doubt? Or you grow apart and don't follow the same values anymore? Then one day you realize you're the only one still holding on to that half of the Best Friends Forever pendant you exchanged years ago.

When I was working through the Oola program I experienced a bit of awakening with this F word. I decided to remove the labels from my friendships.

Then when I looked at the people in my life I realized I was holding on to some pretty toxic friendships. I ended up breaking apart from some friends in order to propel forward in my life. It wasn't easy but it also wasn't as hard as I imagined.

I decided to join groups that aligned with my interests. So in the summer of 2020, I participated in an Oola for Women's book club. We were a small group of local women who gathered weekly to read and talk.

I was surprised to find out I wasn’t the only one who struggled with the category of friends. We all struggled to discuss this. I was amazed and felt so connected to the other women. We named our newfound friendship the “Frat Pack”. We laughed, cried, and worked through our friendship horror stories together. This was exactly what I needed as I mourned losing a lifelong friendship. With this group of women, I gained the confidence to move forward.

Life is such a beautiful journey. It’s okay to make uncomfortable changes. Maybe you need to take off the labels you attached to friends. Be honest with the evaluation of your relationships. If you need to walk away from some that have become toxic have faith that there are others waiting to fill the void.

By: Suzanne McNeill, a Certified Oola Life Coach. 


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