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We all have one of those fair-weather friends. You know what I’m talking about. One of those friends who only come around when it’s opportune for them.

I recently cut someone like this out of my life after years of struggling within the relationship. We had what I’d call an insecure friendship. As a young woman who had polarizing self-esteem issues, I sought out a friend who needed the spotlight to feel secure. We used each other to find comfort and to hide our discomfort within ourselves.

About six months after essentially breaking up with her, I ran into her in a setting of mutual friends. Late that night, I received a panicked phone call from her telling me that she really needed to tell me something important and scary.

Naturally, I was concerned. I listened, responded and decided in that insecure moment, to let her in. However, we never discussed what drove us apart. We just tried to forget our past and pick up where we had left off.

The next day we made plans to go into Annapolis together at 10:30, a time that she had picked. She was supposed to pick me up. 9:50 came and when I realized that I still had not heard anything from her, I texted her, waited and then I called her. No answer. Around that same time, she updated her Snapchat story. I was devastated.

Yet again, it had happened. Many times in high school we would make plans to hang out or get together and each time she’d just go ghost. I wouldn’t hear from her for about three to four days and then she’d show up at school acting as though nothing had happened.

I realized that we weren’t friends.

We were two empty shells that had somehow seen each other as reflections of ourselves. I longed to be alone because I was afraid to be rejection and she refused to be alone because she was afraid of herself.

After this last burn, I came up with five ways to tell if you are in an insecure friendship. It’s solely up to you whether you want to continue being in that relationship (no judgment if you do!) but, whatever you choose, recognizing the signs and awakening yourself to the reality of the situation will hopefully help you feel more sane and healthy.

When one person is always giving and never taking A relationship should be balanced. There should be a mutual respect between you. The level of care you give your friend should be returned, if they don’t even come close to what you give, there’s probably a problem.

When you can’t be quiet with each other nor give each other “healthy” space. Being able to go your separate way for a while and still maintain your friendship is important. Since I’ve decided to try out being a sociable human being, one thing that I always look for is this: Comfortable silence. I personally want to know that I can sit with someone I call a friend in perfect and absolute silence and there won’t be what I like to call, “strangers’ awkwardness.” You know how you meet and sit next to someone that you don’t naturally gel with and you have to literally think about what to say to each other? That shouldn’t be the case when you’re with someone you like to call friend. I think it is really really important to note that if your relationship suffers heavily because of a few moments of silence, then the foundation was never sound to begin with. I’m not talking about, hitchhiking across the country without telling him or her, I’m talking about not talking or social media-ing for a couple of days. A sense of independence is a beautiful thing. So be sure that a little independence won’t drive a wedge between you all.

When they don’t respect your time. It’s quite evident when someone values your time and it dovetails with whether or not they respect you. If they don’t respect you, they won’t give a damn whether you’re coming or going. Time is one of the few ideas that Earth has that we can never truly get back. Sure we have tomorrow, but what about today?

When you don’t share the same values. I’m not talking about Christianity versus atheist versus agnostic. I’m not saying that you have to have the same spiritual awakening at the same time. I mean, what’s top five on their list versus your list. What they find important versus yours. I don’t mean that if no. 1 on your list is Jared Leto’s green hair that it needs to be on theirs. Just look for the important things. Honesty, patience, compassion, empathy, kindness.

When there’s no room for change in the relationship. Do they allow you to change or do they make you feel isolated or suffocated when you start to grow? Do they criticize you every time you start to make a change in your life? If and when they are critical, does their criticism come from a place of love? Is it constructive or does it come from fear, anger, jealousy? This last point is seriously important: Life is hard enough without someone trying to slow you down or sabotage your growth, so even if you don’t cut the toxic person out of your life, make sure to set some boundaries so they can’t hold you back.

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