Photo by Liza Summer

Friendships are one of the best things about life. It makes us open our hearts to strangers we connect deeply. But what happens when we do things that ruin friendships?

No one is an island. But no one is perfect, either. Humans are wired to become social beings that, Regardless of how much we claim not to need anyone, we do. That’s where friendship plays a role in our lives. The book ‘Servants Heart’ by Jamie Pulos-Fry is an excellent example of how to be a genuine loving friend. You can even browse other books from the Jamie’s Bookshelf Collection that contain helpful insight into encouraging friends even in our trials and comforting someone in grief.

We meet them when we need them the most, and they stay in our memories forever. They are the people that will guide us and become a significant influence on our decisions in the future. It’s an entirely different feeling when someone creates a bond with us in the most bizarre circumstances. Once created, that bond needs mutual respect and nurturing.

Unfortunately, many factors ruin friendships – from the most ordinary to unbelievable ones that some do not see coming. Sometimes, we get hurt by what our friends do and make mistakes that hurt them. However, learning about the missteps we make that ruin friendships may even help us avoid repeating them.

Three things that will cost you your friendships

Maintaining a friendship takes more work than making one. Especially when the hard work hits us like a truck, by remembering these mistakes, you won’t fall into a trap that easily. These lessons are essential to keep in mind as well; since there are friendship endings more heartbreaking than a relationship breaking up.

Failure to listen

At first, finishing each other’s sentences and knowing them without saying anything is all sunshine and rainbows. But eventually, familiarity breeds contempt, which applies to every relationship. In the context of friendship, knowing a person for so long causes us to be overly complacent.

You tend to interrupt your friend before they finish, which will undoubtedly offend them. Some of them get upset, but the worst is when they choose not to react to it, not to spoil the mood. Poor communication cues lead to piled-up misunderstandings and increased breakdowns.

So what do you do?

Avoid always assuming just because you think you know your friend well. Listening is not just doing it with your ears and calling it a day. Ignore distractions by being an active listener. Wait until your friend finishes, then you can chime in with some follow-up comments or questions. Some of your friends are not asking for advice; they want to be heard.

Taking more than giving

In any relationship, we rarely intend to scheme on getting leverage over the other person – be it for their status, money, kindness, etc. But over time, we might be. We begin to exploit them over time in the subtlest ways. It doesn’t even have to be material things. For example, you are offloading your problems to them while they are going through a tough time. They won’t be able to open up because you became too closed off to care.

Embrace those faults once you become aware of them. Although sometimes, true friends call you out on your toxic behavior. And yes, it will hurt coming from them. But you need to remember the previous point where you listen intently. Being honest with yourself and changing that selfish aspect returns the balance in the friendship.

Insincere apologies

You might have the insane ability to smell insincerity from a mile away. When we do something wrong, we should automatically apologize. Funny enough, that is the hardest thing for some people to do. Even to their friends, they did wrong. And if you’re one of them, here’s a hard pill to swallow: never use the words “but,” “if,” or any form of excuse that will invalidate the apology.

The first thing that most people forget is to own up to your mistakes. Take full responsibility and be accountable for your actions. Eliminate them when you make a sincere apology. We cannot expect to be forgiven right away but know that by doing this, you are a genuine friend. Somewhere down the line, you might hurt your friend again in other ways. All you need to do moving forward is to work on not making the same mistakes and apologize when needed.

Friendships that are worth keeping

Reparation isn’t everything when it comes to friendships. Things become more evident by being honest and giving enough love to a friend. Those friendships will inevitably end someday, no matter how much we hold on to them. But you’ll meet more people in life anyway, and as long as you keep these crucial points in mind, you’ll be able to provide a safe space and comfort that won’t severely ruin friendships.