When Friendship is Over-Romanticized

When Friendship is Over-Romanticized


Do you have a friend that you share absolutely everything with? Do you ever feel a little smothered by a friend that you talk to several times a day, every day?

Sometimes I think that we have as much of a romantic idea of what friendship should be like as we do the ideal man. While friendship is as much a foundation to the human condition as monogamy, one can be as impermanent as the other. But for some reason, we often hold having a best friend for life in higher regard than choosing to divorce a spouse. Why is that?

My definition of true friendship (and, for that matter, of a good foundation for a romantic relationship) is shared core values and a deep sense of trust. We get together with people who believe what we believe, as Simon Sinek says. In today’s world where most of us carry a device in our purse or pocket that has us linked with people all over the globe, we have the privilege of choosing our tribe from the whole world not just our tiny village.

Friendship and Codependency

The problem sometimes arises when we are so desperate for the company of another human being that we will compromise on those core values and beliefs. Friendships then turn into a desperate attempt at filling a void instead of a purposeful coming together of conscious people.

You know that kind of friendship. The one when you are going through a rough patch and just want to be able to complain all day long and have a caring ear that says: “Yes, they done you wrong.” The friendship where you invite someone, anyone, over to avoid being alone on a Saturday night. The one where you over-give just to impress them, and then feel resentful because they don’t reciprocate. We all have those kinds of friendships every once in a while.

Not only is the key to a healthy friendship to have a clear definition of your own and of your friend’s values and beliefs in order to have a foundation of trust, but the other key is also to have healthy boundaries that come with mutual respect. All too often an unhealthy friendship born out of loneliness or desperation can turn into a codependent dance—when you need your friends to need you and vice versa. When your lack of self-worth and self-respect makes you feel that you are only worthy when you are rescuing someone else.

Embrace the Gift of Being You

When I faced life’s challenges with my children (one struggled with mental health and addiction and another later came out as transgender) I suddenly had to reevaluate all my friendships. Who could I trust? Who was there because they wanted to be my savior? Who remained because they shared my core values?

If you are reading this because you somehow feel lost inside a friendship or longing for more true friends, my best advice to you is to be sure of who you are deep down inside and embrace the gift of being you. Find someone who accepts you for who you truly are, and don’t hang on to a friendship that is not serving you out of a sense of false loyalty and codependence. You deserve to be happy and you will find the right friend.

I leave you with this clip from Oprah and Brene Brown’s Life Class where they discuss trust and when to be vulnerable with a friend.

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Do as I say not as I do

Do as I say not as I do

AdviceDoesn’t it just break your heart to have your child come home from school in tears because of something a classmate said?

Don’t you just want to go to the school yard and put the eight-year-old tyrant in his place?

Sometimes I would rather take 40 lashes than see my children with a broken heart—especially my third daughter who is such a loving, giving, always happy yet sensitive girl.

A couple of days ago that daughter brought her birthday party invitations to school and handed them out to all of her friends. That evening she came up to me to say that her friend Jayson made fun of her for inviting Molly. The tears in my daughter’s eyes were like a fifty pound weight in the pit of my stomach.

Jayson has been telling my daughter to avoid Molly all school year. I had been giving her the whole “in our family we are respectful to all our friends and we don’t exclude people if someone tells us to” talk and the “be a leader” talk for months, but I guess the birthday invitation fiasco was my daughter’s last straw.

Lying in bed that night, I was pouring out my heart to my husband at how cruel children can be, and wondering where children in grade two learn to be so exclusionary and judgemental of each other. My husband answered with a snicker. So I sat up and looked at him and asked, “What could you possibly find funny in your daughter being stuck between two friends that she really likes?”

“Look at your friends Marie and Josee. They can’t stand each other and are both constantly questioning why you associate with the other. You plan separate events all the time so you can have one over without the other. This isn’t just in grade two.” He replied.


Do you have friends that can’t stand each other? Do you accommodate them? Do you ever feel bad, embarrassed, or judged for having to defend why you spend time with either of them?

People Pleasing vs. Leadership

What am I teaching my daughter by accepting and accommodating two friends being judgemental towards each other? What are those women teaching their children by being rude and exclusionary about other women?

Our kids learn by example. They may not understand the fine line between being respectful to others and people pleasing, but they sense our undertones of resentment when we are not being authentic.

Our roles as leaders and role models are extremely important. And one of the most important things for me as a woman to model to my daughter is respect for myself and respect for others through self-care and healthy boundaries. I see too many women with the disease to please and the desperate stench of needing to belong and be loved.  Which is I am devoting a large part of my career to empowering women through programs like “Mom’s Much Needed Time-Out.”

So what are you modeling for your children? Have you ever had a child with a broken heart caused by hurtful things a classmate has said? Have you ever been hurt that way too? How do you deal with this situation?