Wednesday, November 28, 2018

What To Do When A Training/Workout Friendship Goes Bad

Let's talk friendship, guys.

Running and training for sports with a good friend can be such a blessing! You can push each other to do your best every time, catch up on life with good conversations, sign up and train for races together, shop for workout gear and help each other along the way when an injury or a mental road block rears its ugly head. Sometimes that friendship you thought was so great can go the other way as well. Over-competitiveness and jealousy can quickly turn that amazing friendship into something Cady Heron from Mean Girls would consider a "frenemy".

If you have ever experienced this in your life or are going through it right now, here are some ideas on how to deal.

Talk To Your Friend

If you feel that your friend is suddenly quieter or not including you in hangouts and get togethers when you used to be invited all the time, try talking to them. Tell them that you've noticed how things have changed, and see if there is a reason. It might not even be about your friendship; they may be going through something personal that they don't feel comfortable telling you about, and they might not realize that another person may read their behavior differently. Communication is key!

Try Something New

If you notice your friend pulling away and can't figure out why even after talking with them, suggest doing something different. For example, if you only workout together, suggest seeing a movie together or grabbing brunch. This may help put your friend's feeling of competitiveness at ease, and also take stress off the friendship. Not to mention, who wants to talk about one topic only, and all the time?? 

Notice Red Flags and Toxicity

Friendships don't turn toxic overnight. Competitiveness is healthy, but when it stems from jealousy and only feeling good when one friend constantly beats the other one isn't healthy. If you begin noticing your friend working overly hard just to beat your times, keeping you away from their other friends or only talking to you when:

A.) they need something that will benefit them directly 

B.) it's about how well they did in a race, or 

C.) they only call you to talk badly about their other friends behind their backs, these could be signs. 

Now I'm not talking about those friends who are just really bad at keeping touch, I'm talking about friends who went from besties to ghosts faster than you run your mile repeats. Jealousy can often leave a grown adult behaving like a spoiled 3 year old, so if this is the case, and talking won't work, it might be time to give the friendship a little space and try again later. I've never had much luck reasoning with someone who isn't in touch with their feelings enough to realize what they're doing. 

Remember, you should NEVER have to stop doing your best, being your happiest or put yourself down just to keep a friend. Be careful of toxic friendships. 

Expand Your Running Group

Making a handful of good running friends in your area is a blessing. Not only do you become close with a fun group of people, expanding your group keeps everything fresh and full of adventure. I have a group of friends I love to run with in my area and I love how happy and fun they are to hang out with! Your group can also bond over more than just one thing, and having a diverse group of friends allows you to step out of your bubble and learn new fun stuff. Expanding your group can also help relieve the negative feelings your friend may be projecting, and can also give you time to get back into your own positive place. 

Don't Do All The Work

Have you ever had a friendship where you are the only one reaching out, to eventually get rebuffed by the "I'm so busy" excuse, only to see that same friend posting photos of  weekly social engagements online? If you find yourself in this situation, you're tired of reaching out and talking won't work, it might be time to get busy doing other things. Maybe your friend will notice your absence and reach out, and maybe not. The relationship may have gone from a well rounded close friend, to a sport specific only friend, to a non-existent friend, and that's OK. Don't ever do all the work in a friendship; if it's not an equal one, it's not worth your time. Aaaand that leads me to my last point.

Distance Yourself

If nothing else works, the friendship may not be meant to survive; that's just a part of life. If the friendship has become toxic and nothing you do has been able to solve that, moving on isn't such a bad thing. I've noticed that the bad friendships I've had in the past were because I chose to stay around far longer than I should have. I always thought that that person would start being nicer, valuing the friendship more, etc. I'm sure everyone has had that happen to them in the past, and while it wasn't a good situation, it's a learning one for sure.

And hold on to those good friends, they're irreplaceable!
Cheers to training for all of our sports and to good friends! 

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