When I wrote the last blog on the importance of friendship to self care, I knew I would need to follow up with a Part 2. In the previous blog, I concentrated on the positive effects of friendships and on how social support is necessary in maintaining a sense of well being.
But let's face it. Not all friendships are entirely positive. Some can even be a source of discomfort and/or stress. While we would like to believe that all close ties remain a part of us forever, the reality is some friendships thrive, some grow and some simply fizzle out. And when they do, we struggle with how to get them back on track or whether we should simply cut the ties.
Not all friendships are beneficial. Not all friendships are an equal balance of give and take. Instead of feeling rejuvenated after we have been with some friends, we might feel drained. Occasionally as a friendship develops, we discover qualities about the other person that we simply don't like. Or maybe there are a few hurtful incidents we can't move past.
Recent studies have shown that negative social interactions can cause a heightened release of pro-inflammatory cytokine, a protein involved in the immune system. Chronic inflammatory processes are linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and auto immune disorders. In plain English, some friendships may be bad for our health.
Deciding what to do about friendships that have lost their lustre needs careful consideration. Is it a temporary blip that time can heal, or have differences in opinions caused significant road blocks? Taking stock of the types and quality of our friendships and ensuring we feel good about them, is an important aspect of self care.