I still remember the teenage magazines that I would routinely ‘borrow’ from my sister’s bedroom a decade ago. Pages dedicated to parting your hair in a zigzag, the posters of Chad Michael Murray and horoscope analyses of whether your crush will ask you out.
I remember that there was also a persistent trend in these magazines, to define what good friendships were made of.
This was not done in the way many women’s magazines often do so, where friendships are apparently determined by alcohol, your relationship status and whether you can afford the expensive lunch that she can.
Teenage magazines, on the other hand, dealt with the basic stuff that made friendships good. (And I mean that in the dictionary sense, before basic meant you liked Starbucks and had badly bleached hair.)
These magazines were flooded with quizzes, questions and other people’s experiences that could help you determine whether your friend was really your friend.
Were they on your side and would support you no matter what happened? Or are they jealous and you just haven’t noticed it yet? Was this person just using you? Do they consistently insult you and brush it off as a joke, even if it hurt your feelings? Are they too self centered to really care about you?
It seems that once you get to a certain age, we forget to sit down and think, is this person actually my friend?
We need to remember what makes a healthy friendship.
Just like your partner, your friends will likely be with you for years, you’ll make memories, communicate regularly and they will help you get through major challenges.
This matters because often, the same things that can blind you to your partner’s toxicity can be same the rose-colored glasses that keep you in a bad friendship.
I love them, they wouldn’t want to hurt my feelings, maybe I took it the wrong way, it was only once, maybe it was my fault…
It might be time to remember what it was like to be thirteen. To remember that what things make a friendship positive when we were young, and apply these to our adult friendships.
Are they actually nice to you? Do they support you when you need them? Are they happy for you when good things happen?
Do they try and blame you when bad things happen? Do they make fun of the person or things you like? Do they make it all about them and what they want? Do they listen to your concerns and problems, or just brush them off?
If you’ve got a friend in mind and you’re drawn to the second set of questions, maybe it’s time to reconsider how healthy they are for you.
Or you could just tell everyone that they have cooties and you’ll never have to see them again. That worked when we were kids, right?