Do you have friends who don’t add value to your life? Low value friends are more often than not, a massive waste of time.
It’s not politically correct nor “nice” to say it, but the world isn’t always nice, and you don’t have to be “nice” all the time.
Some friends simply take more than they give, not only that but some friends…
- Lack loyalty
- give their time to the highest bidder
- Can’t help but envy you and your life
- Pull away connection and contact when they don’t “feel like it”
- Disappear when you or your life seems better than their own
- Secretly hate or resent you for having something they don’t
Would you still consider friends like this to be worth the energy and time? You don’t have unlimited amounts of either of these things, and you should choose who to use those things on, wisely.
Here’s a good question from a reader…
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Do You Need friends Who Don’t Add Value To Your Life?
“Hi, could you write an article on how to recognize/meet/make friends with similar minded/good-hearted/positive women?
Most of my friends tended to be kinda selfish, lazy, admitted being jealous of me for whatever reason even though I always praised them on the good I saw in them to make them love themselves, but they mostly focused on the negative.
In the end, I realized I was drained being in their presence. I always gave and gave my time, understanding and loyalty, and very few times did I get the same care from them.
I couldn’t tolerate being friends with people who didn’t even meet half of the standards I set for friendship anymore (I live my own standards so I don’t expect what I’m not).
I’m alone now and have my family, but after I ended my crappy friendships I feel much more energized yet peaceful. I’m not saying good women don’t exist, it’s just that some people are dealt with the not so good ones.
Also, what are your thoughts on men and women being friends?
I personally learned women can’t exactly be ‘friends’ with men because sooner or later the men (often) starts developing feelings, at least in my experience.” – Marta.
You’ve asked a very good question, Marta. A very relevant question, I should say, because friendship isn’t easy in the current state of the world.
Everyone lives fragmented lives, and this is not how humans have been doing it for hundreds of thousands of years before now.
We used to live in tribes, where we knew everybody, and what would benefit ourselves would likely also benefit the tribe as a whole.
Nowadays, our own goals and wants don’t often benefit our friends’ goals. Unless we:
- Work together
- Go to school together, or
- Share a passion/hobby together.
I have unconventional views on friendship. Many people think it’s great to have lots of friends around you, and that if you don’t have any friends, you are lacking something very valuable in your life.
Not only that, but many people who don’t actually have friends try to make out (create an image) that they have very close friends, or that they have lots of friends because it is sometimes considered horrifying to be a “loner”.
You’ve noticed this on social media, right?
Most People Try To Seem Like They Have A Lot Of Friends
Sometimes people try to appear like they have lots of friends, but don’t be fooled.
They may have lots of friends, but really, they are just acquaintances, people they hang out with, or people who use each other to look cool/further their other interests.
I used to try to make lots of friends. And I’ve been through times where I’ve had tonnes of friends, and times where I’ve had none. The times where I’ve had none have been painful. I adore people and I prefer connecting with others.
However, the question is, even if I love connecting with others, should I keep friends who don’t add value to my life?
And should you keep friends who don’t add value to your life?
Just because we enjoy connecting, should we tolerate toxic connections?
Is the “idea” of having friends important enough to keep low quality friends in your life?
Is the alternative – having no friends – really that much worse than having low quality friends?
Having had both experiences (lots of friends and no friends), it’s become obvious to me that what you’re describing in your question has truth in it…
Most People Make Terrible, Envious Friends…
Most people make terrible friends. This is partly because (again), we live fragmented lives, and so what would benefit us may not benefit our friends.
But it’s also because most people spend a lot of time watching netflix and maintaining their comfort level, which makes them prone to envy when their friends achieve something important in their own lives.
As we get older, we are also more likely to lose touch with our friends, because our interests separate us more and more, and we all have different interests.
(Why is this important? It is because your core attachment style largely dictates and influences what happens in your relationship. Thus it’s imperative you understand your core attachment style!)
Friendship Is Easier When You Have A Common Goal
When we are at school or college or even sometimes in the workplace, it’s easy to maintain friendships because you all have a common environment in which you spend a lot of your time.
Especially at school, where we make friends and secure our status and social standing.
Then, these friends either support our social standing and experience, or they don’t and they find another friendship group within that school.
Ever found that when a girlfriend starts seeing a guy, you’re shoved into the background while she and he are courting each other? And that’s the way it should be.
I don’t believe friendship can be as strong as an intimate relationship can be, and I believe that from an evolutionary perspective, friendship serves to propel us towards:
- Attracting better mates, or
- Attracting lower quality mates (our friends say a lot about who we are and we are).
Who we spend time with is who we become.
What Purpose Does Friendship Serve?
What other purpose does friendship serve?
Well, it keeps people feeling safe. We don’t want to be alone, we are afraid of going our own way, or we are afraid of outside attacks from other groups, so we stick with our friends for safety.
These are important purposes, but these purposes are proving to be unimportant to me, as I get older. (And also as I’ve gotten better at not caring about haters).
The more important purposes of friendship are simply to:
- Grow together
- To connect and to support each other
- To know each other’s soul
- To make each other feel understood
- To build each other up
- To give to each other
But when was the last time you met someone who made friends with you for these purposes?
And more important still – when was the last time you had a friend who truly invested in you (and the friendship) simply for connection?
Most people make friends to further their own status, or because they need value from their friends in some way.
In my experience, the good quality friends aren’t the rule, they are more the exception.
I know how unconventional my views are, but I tend to see friendship and think about friendship objectively.
It’s important to ask:
What is the purpose of friendship?
Why do we have friends?
We’ve already established that friendship can propel us towards better quality mates.
Haven’t you heard of groupies? Or groups of women who get dressed up and get the news on tap where football players are, and they’re showing up at that club to try to get their footballer?
Friendships often come together to chase a mutual purpose. Only rarely (and it takes a rare soul like you, Marta) do people really look to go into friendship to share, to connect and to add value.
It takes someone who is quite evolved, and quite selfless and emotionally mature to think about friendship from the perspective of:
“How can I add value to this person?“
“Hmmm…how can this person benefit my own ends?”
“How can I make this friendship stronger?”
To think of friendship from the perspective of what value you can add isn’t easy. You need to be sensitive to others, and I think that takes practice.
This isn’t to say it’s not ok to take from friends from time to time – as long as you are sensitive to your friends and care for them as human beings.
And then you get situations like what happened to Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds. Ryan Reynolds had a good childhood friend who tried to sell pictures of Ryan’s daughter after she was born.
Friendship is not like an intimate relationship where you form a romantic bond, leading to raising children together (who share both of your genetics).
Friendship just doesn’t share that kind of “blood”.
We generally risk more and are forced to give more in an intimate relationship.
And if you have children, that potentially adds another depth to the relationship (provided the man is a committed father).
Women being envious of other women
You’ve mentioned that your friends have admitted being jealous (more so envy in my definition) of you for whatever reason. This is important to address, so let’s do it now.
When two females don’t have a strong connection with each other, and when two females don’t have deep mutual trust for each other, there is going to be envy and competition.
Women are territorial creatures and we all generally want to get the best for ourselves. We want:
- Good looks
- A great quality of life
- Babies; and
- To be desirable
That’s a lot that we want, isn’t it?
If each friendship we have doesn’t offer us the ability to further those goals – most women will simply slack off and make terrible friends.
I know I’m sounding pessimistic here, but tell me:
How often have you come across a friend who invests in you for you and for the connection – and not for what they can get out of you?
Unfortunately, friends are not blood. And although friends can BE like blood or family, blood is thicker than water.
Each woman will do what she can to pass on her own genes and gather resources for herself.
We all have different strategies for passing on our genes, but we all do it – whether we want children or not.
(I’ve had friends who didn’t want children at all, and are envious and competitive).
It’s always interesting to me, because the very mechanisms that drive us to be competitive and envious are the same mechanisms that help us find a mate and pass on our genes. We compete for attention and significance so that we can attract a better mate.
So I’ve often suspected that these women secretly did want kids, but were just in denial or pretending not to want them to gain some other benefit.
Anyway, getting back to my point:
Like you, I’ve experienced great disappointment and hurt with regards to making friends, and then finding that for whatever reason, they don’t want to connect with me as much as I want to connect with them.
Sometimes, they already had enough friends in their lives, and no real time for me (which is okay).
Other times, in a moment of honesty, I found out they were envious.
She Ruined My Wedding Dress Fitting…
I even invited someone I used to call a friend to my wedding dress fitting, and she ended up sitting at the opposite end of the room while I tried on the dress, ignoring my questions about what she thought of my dress, and looking utterly miserable.
She didn’t get involved in the process at all.
She sat there and ignored the process of the dress fitting and stonewalled – it hurt.
I never trusted her again.
Although she did tell me later on that she felt jealous – her telling me that didn’t serve our friendship in any way.
At the end of the day, she let her fears get in the way of our friendship and that’s enough for me to never trust her again.
On top of that, when I fell pregnant, she was nowhere to be seen.
There’s nothing wrong with that – I respect the experience I had. I look back on it and know that that’s just what happens with friends sometimes. When we have less in common, our paths diverge.
And sometimes I think the universe wants that!
I don’t think the universe necessarily wants us to waste time and energy on friends ‘for the sake of it’, when the friendship doesn’t support each person inside it on their current path.
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Selfish, lazy women friends?
I want to address what you said here:
“Most of my friends tended to be kinda selfish, lazy, admitted being jealous of me for whatever reason even though I always praised them on the good I saw in them to make them love themselves”
Feeding a horse to a fish doesn’t add value to the fish.
It is incredible that you try to add value to your friends, and that you want to bring them up – you are an amazing soul for doing this, as many women tend to avoid complimenting other women because they aren’t generous.
Complimenting another woman perhaps feels like it will take away from their own feeling of self-esteem – as if credit has gone to a so-called competitor.
However, many of us neglect to remember this:
Complimenting another, bringing each other up, adds to our value. Every time we withhold a compliment, every time we withhold attention and love for a woman friend is a time where we lose something forever.
So, take that risk of bringing another woman up – unless it doesn’t serve at that particular moment. Some moments just don’t call for a compliment, so there’s no need.
If you have put a lot of energy into bringing your friends up like you say, then I honour your effort.
Sometimes people don’t want high self-esteem…
However, sometimes, when we try to bring another woman up, it doesn’t serve to meet her needs at her level.
Well, because maybe a higher self-esteem isn’t what she wants. Because with a high self-esteem comes responsibility, and not every woman is like you (willing to take responsibility).
And even then, the fact that some women are already jealous of you means that by accepting your gifts of positive energy, they may have to admit that you shine brighter than them.
Or they may have to admit to themselves that they feel vulnerable or ‘less’ for any reason.
An admission such as this is not for the faint-hearted!
They also have to be willing to see, admit, and absorb the beauty in your heart – and that can be painful if they feel small; so it’s often easier to hide from that pain.
And yes, count on many people to be lazy and selfish friends – not because they are bad people – but because a lot of people don’t truly value meeting their own needs first by adding actual value to themselves.
Again, most people think that watching netflix and eating ice cream on the couch is adding value to themselves.
It might add value some of the time, like when you’re really in need of relaxation and rest – but most of the time, habits like that will just strip from your value.
(It’s one reason why I haven’t watched tv since 2008. Or is it 2007? Somewhere around there).
Most people think that being on their phone or watching TV is meeting their needs. It is, but it’s slowly taking value from themselves each time they do it.
This is because TV is a distraction. It is consuming, rather than creating.
If you create something rather than consume something, you are adding value to yourself.
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How Can Friends Give To You, When They’re Always In Survival Mode?
Here’s another thing to consider:
Most people in the modern world are working hard just to make ends meet. And especially so post 2020.
So how can they give to you when they are always in survival mode?
Not to mention, those friends who are only looking for the next ‘high’ to distract from their low self esteem are way too distracted to be a real friend.
How can they give to you when they desperately need quick ways to meet their own need for significance (rather than investing in giving themselves a healthy self-esteem?)
These are people who don’t have the awareness or the emotional resources to give to themselves; so it’s hard for them to give to you.
I think it’s a great thing that you’ve come to the realisation that you don’t want to expend your resources on them anymore, and that they are selfish and lazy (to you anyway).
And it’s great that you’ve acknowledged that giving to them has left you frustrated; because now you have chosen to be alone, and that is a gift:
You can now move on to the next thing in your life.
And yes, do not tolerate mediocrity (negativity) in your friends.
Be loyal to them and support them, but if over a long time they truly choose mediocrity, then don’t bother anymore.
We are not here forever, time is of the essence, and you should not waste your time on friends who don’t add value to your life.
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Most Friends Actually Just Hold You Back…
Friends will hold you back, unless they are superb friends who truly care about you.
By choosing to have no friends, you put yourself in a vulnerable position that opens doors for potentially greater things…
One of those things is the grit to go through the process of having no friends. That take courage, and I commend you on that.
Once you’ve given yourself the courage to go through that emptiness and learned how to fill yourself up in a better way, it makes you less dependent on outside safety and approval.
That gives you enormous power, as you may soon find out.
When you have a lot of friends, you are bound by under the radar rules.
Without friends, you get to carve your own path. Perhaps a whole new path that will lead to true friends. Or even a family.
The price to pay for friendship
A lot of people aren’t talking about the cost of groupthink.
“Groupthink” is a real phenomenon, and it affects us more than we think.
Once we get into a social group, we become (to varying degrees) bound by the values and thoughts of the group.
So we need to be careful what friendship groups we allow ourselves to be a part of.
For example, if we have been single for a long time and hanging around single friends yet we want to find a man and get married, it may pay to start questioning how our friends may have influenced us to not be in a relationship.
What beliefs did our friends unconsciously bestow on us?
The energy of your friends makes a difference too.
- Notice if your friends are happy for you to have everything you ever wanted
- Notice if they care about your success or not.
Friends who want to stay small are not worth your time. And that’s a lot of them, believe me! Most people are happy to keep thinking “little old me”, because it means they can avoid taking responsibility for their own lives, and give over responsibility to other so called “experts”.
If you feel small with your friends rather than inspired and pushed to do more, then that’s a warning sign.
If they want you because you make ‘easy’ company (like they don’t truly care about you and your future, and care instead about meaningless outside drama to for example), it’s a good sign that they are not a good influence.
Are friends Who Don’t Add Value To Your Life worth your time?
We all have limited time and energy.
Ask yourself whether friends are worth your time. Maybe one or two extraordinary friends are worth your time, I’m not sure, that is for you to decide. Though I really do mean extraordinary.
However, don’t spread your energy too thinly, and put your eggs in too many baskets in the name of feeling safe and secure (needing to have lots of people around you).
Because the more people you spend your energy on, the less of you that the important people have.
Yes, you take a bigger risk by investing more in less people. However, you lose much more that you can’t immediately see by investing in bad friends.
If you have this idea that you must have friends, especially to ‘look good’, then you’ll be on edge, trying to make friends and this won’t lead to anything great.
You’ll be short-changing your family, or the people who truly matter to you. What will you be shortchanging them of?
Your time and energy.
I’m suggesting that there is value in investing your resources in only the people who really matter; only in the people you truly trust.
Let go of the need to make friends, and then…
Consider if it’s valuable to you to let go of the need to make friends.
Let go of any ‘idea’ you have that says you have to have friends.
And instead of trying hard to make friends, maybe even invest yourself in a change in the world that you want to see.
Invest yourself in family. Invest yourself in a man. Or if you are not in a relationship, spend the time figuring out who you need to become, so that the man you want will want to take you off the dating market.
Why would I suggest this?
Well, when we try hard to make friends because we have this idea that we ‘should’ have friends, we tend to get desperate or overly focused on friends – all the while, missing the gift in not having any.
It’s nobody’s business whether you have friends or not.
You don’t need friends in order to feel like you are enough in this world.
I certainly don’t think less of you for being alone.
I believe that you will be more attractive to the high value women friends out there, when you don’t have this ‘need’ to make friends.
That way, attracting the extraordinary friends into your life will be natural. You won’t always have to be trying.
The trouble with wanting friends for the sake of wanting friends is that it takes away from your value.
Before you go and make friends, ask yourself these questions
So, whilst it’s important to make friends, ask yourself these questions:
1: Does going through a period of having no friends at all serve you at a higher level?
Does it make you sufficiently uncomfortable; and will this discomfort make you more?
2: In the past, did I truly feel my friends for who they are, and for where they are (thereby offering them my true loyalty)?
True loyalty is respecting and accepting them as they are, and offering yourself and your resources regardless.
This is hard if you are at a better place than your friends are, or if you are much more aware than they are.
Do you see the cost in friendship here? If you truly want friendship, then you have to be 100% loyal to them, now, as they are; and not expecting them to conform to your rules of how you think they should be. That’s a big cost on your part…which is why friendship isn’t always the wonderful thing that everyone makes it out to be.
3: Am I ready to choose friends mainly because I want to connect?
Often, we choose friends based on who will make us feel more significant in this world, and not based on the connection that we can create and have with them.
Young children often choose friends based on connection and play – this is such a great and innocent place from which adults can choose their friends too.
If we don’t make friends because we truly want to connect, then it’s going to be fertile ground for a stressful, unfulfilling friendship.
Sometimes, of course, it’s okay to make friends to fulfil a mutual goal, or future vision. I think that is great too.
We just don’t want to latch on to friends to take value, and we need to be wary of friends who want to latch on to us to take our value.
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Can men and women truly be friends?
Now for your final question…can men and women truly be just friends?
Of course, men and women can be friends.
Only, they can’t be friends if they are both people who are takers. When we are primarily takers, rather than being value adders, we tend to want to pounce on value when we see it.
If you’re a particularly radiant and attractive woman, then of course men are going to be interested in you – but not the men who have integrity and are committed to their family. And there’s plenty of them around.
Also, if you are a value taker, then you’re going to secretly want your men friends to be interested in you.
And if you quietly want your men friends to be interested in you, they are more likely to be; it’s the natural dynamic.
So, try to add value to yourself. Be a value adder, as best as you know how to be.
There’s no other way to live.
I wish you the best of luck in attracting women friends in the future. Never lose hope.
What do you think? Do you believe men and women can be friends? Or do you believe one of them will always be attracted to the other?
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P.P.S. Article updated
Renee is the founder of The Feminine Woman & co-founder of Shen Wade Media where we teach women how to show up as a high value high status woman whom easily inspires a deep sense of emotional commitment from her chosen man. Together with her husband D. Shen at Commitment Triggers blog, they have positively influenced the lives of over 15 million women through their free articles and videos as well as 10’s of thousands through paid programs through the Shen Wade Media platform.
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