Originally published on Ravishly and republished here with their permission.
I’m a Latinx Leo, and I often like to joke that, thanks to the combination of these characteristics, nobody knows more about friendships than me.
I mean, as a community-oriented (thanks, Latinidad!), dramatic, attention-loving, and loyal person (thanks, astrology!) whose world pretty much revolves around her friends, I can tell you that I’ve been around the friendship block a few times.
I’m basically a friendship expert.
And I’m here to tell you that sometimes you just gotta drop a friend (maybe even a few).
I know it can be one of the hardest things you do in your life, but if you read the title of this article and a certain name (or names) popped into your head, it’s about time to take those creeping thoughts seriously.
You owe it to yourself and your own well-being to consciously take a moment to honor the nagging thoughts or feelings you’ve been having and figure out what makes the best sense for you at this moment.
Here are three tell-tale signs to aid you as you take a stroll down Reflection Lane and decide once and for all if that friendship is worth keeping.
1. You’re Trying to Make a Dollar Outta 15 Cents
This phrase is more than just a clever euphemism for selling crack cocaine commonly found in bomb-ass Tupac songs – it can also double as a really useful test.
Growing up, my family was very poor. We often didn’t have enough money for food, our electricity went out from time to time, and we had to rely on donations to clothe ourselves.
I remember vividly the days when I would have my little saved-up coins in my hand, trying desperately to rearrange them in hopes that the new combination would somehow add up to the dollar I needed to buy food at school.
My friendship with my former best friend was a lot like this.
I stumbled over myself trying to explain to other friends and family why I was friends with this person, even though the way she was treating me didn’t match the way I treated her or the way I deserve to be treated.
I constantly found myself making excuses for this person’s hurtful behavior because I loved her and because at some point in our relationship she had indeed been a good friend.
I felt I could justify why I put up with things I knew was a sign of a painful and dying relationship because she had once loved me well, and I really wanted this relationship to work.
If you commonly find yourself in this situation in any part of your life – where you’re jumping over hoops trying to add up all the parts in the hopes that they come to the outcome you want rather than the outcome they are – then it’s maybe time to let that thing, whatever it is, go.
2. This Relationship Takes More from Your Spirit Than It Adds
Continuing with the dollar metaphor, at the end of the day, all your relationships should add up to a dollar.
Friendships, like all relationships, are about give and take.
But when the sun sets and you’re laying your head down on your pillow, you need to ask yourself if you’re going to bed with less of yourself than you had when you woke up.
I’m the kind of person who gives my friends virtually everything I have – my love, my space, my time, my energy, even my money. If I have something to share, it brings me great joy to share that thing with the people that I love.
However, when my relationship with the former best friend started taking something from my spirit, I knew this relationship had crossed into dangerous territory.
This relationship was taking from me something that it could not replenish.
And as someone who struggles with mental health and wellness, I knew I couldn’t waste my precious inner resources on something that was only hurting me now.
At the end of the day, what you give and what you get should balance out and if it’s not, you’re operating from a deficit.
Cutting your losses isn’t a sign of failure.
It’s a sign that you gave it all you got and you love and honor yourself enough to do the hard work necessary to maintain your own well-being.
3. You Feel Lighter When You’re Around Other People
The moment of truth came for me when I took a week off of work and flew down to Cuba to hang out with a dear friend of mine, S., who’s made her home there.
Seventeen hundred miles and one forbidden country later, I found myself feeling lighter than I had in months. Everything from my spirit to my laughter to my sense of community was being restored when I was with S., all things that I had lost in the months prior.
I could finally breathe.
My friend S. had gone through so much trouble to take care of me and make sure I had the best time she could offer, and the difference between how I felt with her versus how I felt with my former best friend sealed the deal.
You deserve to have friends that love, cherish, and uplift you, who make you feel lighter than anything else in the world, and who go the extra mile for you because they know you’re worth it.
Our bodies and minds know a lot more than we often give them credit for, so one way to get an answer to any of the questions you’re asking is to listen to the messages your body, mind, and spirit are giving you.
If you feel a visceral positive difference in your life, if you feel a weight lifted off of your chest when you’re away from that friend, then that may be the only sign you really need that this relationship isn’t serving you and it’s time to move on.
Friends come and go, but your relationship with yourself is forever.
Freeing yourself up from things that are holding you down is one of the most precious gifts you can give yourself. And you’re absolutely worth it.
Josette Souza is the Program Associate for Everyday Feminism. She’s a working-class Afro-latinx and recent first-generation college graduate currently living in Mexico. Her favorite things in the world are Black liberation, intersectional feminism, and offering her condolences to the people who failed to bring her down by telling her that getting a degree in Africana studies would mean never getting a good job.