Friday, 10 July 2015

THINGS WE DON'T TALK ABOUT: BREAKING UP WITH A FRIEND

A couple of weeks back, Swedish blogger Sandra Lundin wrote an important post about breaking up with friends. I featured it in My Weekly Ode to a week or so after her posting it. Additionally, From Roses posted on dealing with not having a lot of friends only yesterday, adding to my thoughts on the topic.

I personally think this is an important topic to discuss, particularly since it is one of the many things we simply never discuss because it's considered taboo or makes us uncomfortable. Well, please consider casting aside your sense of comfort because breaking up with friends who do not contribute to your happiness but rather drains it from you is one of the most difficult and important things you can do to improve yourself. (As a cautionary note, I would like to specify that during this post I will in no way be referring to friends who are struggling/going through hardships that put strains on you as well. It is so so important to be there for your friends in need.)
So how do you know if it's time to perhaps considering ridding yourself of a friend? This will naturally differ from person to person, but I feel like there are a few tell-tale signs:

Your friendship is one-sided: you always have to adhere to their wishes and wants, while yours are constantly ignored by them. Basically, who wants to give and give and never get anything in return? Relationships, romantic or friendly, should be based on mutual respect and input. While this might seem obvious, it is hard to address this in relation to a friendship. No one wants to be alone. I myself am guilty of holding onto friendships that are more draining than fun; rather that than having no friends, being the general idea. Please do not obsess about the number of friends you have, focus instead on how your life is improved by the friends you choose and are lucky enough to have in your life. If your friend is being a bad friend, you are allowed to let them know!

Your friendship is destructive. Would you hold onto a boyfriend or girlfriend who talked down to you, belittled your interests, and generally criticised your ideas and thoughts? Of course not! Then why surround yourself with friends who bring you down? We are usually our own worst critics, and your friends should be people who lift you up and empower you rather than people who fixate on your (imagined) worst qualities.

You have nothing in common/your conversations are merely 'filling the silence'. Sure, often in life we all have to deal with people we do not have a lot in common with. Many of these you might still get along with perfectly well; they might even become your closest friends. It is, however, problematic when the only reason you stay friends is because you have been friends 'forever'. That is not to say every conversation you have should be grade A content, but if every conversation is full of complaints or unnecessary critique of others then maybe you should reconsider either the friendship or your go-to convo subjects (unless complaining and critiquing are your favourite things in the world, then obviously go for it).

You are scared to tell your friends about your ideas and thoughts. If you only take one thing from this, please let it be this: if your friends regularly put down or ridicule your ideas to the point where you're scared to say anything because of it, please stop talking to these people a.s.a.p. If you are in this situation but it's not a regular thing, please speak to your friend(s) about it and tell them to get their act together and start being more supportive. (Note: there is a difference worth noting here, between friendly joking and actual ridiculing. I am sure you are able to differentiate between the two, and if in doubt - address the issue.)

Friendships can be difficult, however there is no reason they need to be. I think most of us are occasionally guilty of disregarding our own wellbeing in order to please those around us. My best tip would be to stop doing this; at least try. I 100% understand it can be challenging, especially at first, but would you not rather surround yourself with people who both give and take and whom you feel blessed to have in your life? I know I do.

Have you ever broken up with a friend?
x
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Sunday, 5 July 2015

MY WEEKLY ODE TO... #3


  1. The amazing Fashion Slave wrote a post on How to Reject Unwanted Advances the other day, and to me it was really eye-opening and empowering! Particularly her encouraging women not to use the 'I have a boyfriend' excuse because if you're not interested, you're not interested, boyfriend or no boyfriend. Simple as. Additional reading: Stop Saying "I Have a Boyfriend" To Deflect Unwanted Attention. I know I will personally stray as far away from that excuse as possible in the future.
  2. Career Girl Daily wrote a post on the 7 Books That Should Be On Every Career Girl's Bookshelf. A good selection of empowering and motivational books, I particularly like #girlboss (who doesn't) and A Room of One's Own.
  3. If you're only checking out one of these links this week, make it this one. Tumblr-blog Eponis gives realistic advice on how to deal with life when Everything is Awful and You're Not Okay. It is genuinely the most uplifting piece I've read in a while, and applicable to almost any situation. Instant bookmark from me!
  4. Lastly, a blogpost that has entirely intrigued me: Byrdie tells us How To Get Rid of a Headache in Two Minutes Flat. Too good to be true? I have (fortunately) not been struck by any headaches since reading this post, however next time it comes around (hopefully not any time soon) I will put this tip to use!
So what about you guys? What have you been loving online the past week?
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Saturday, 4 July 2015

JULY READING LIST

Another month, another pile of books! For the month of July I have put together a nice pile that consists of a nice mix of compulsory reading for uni as well as more leisurely reads. So here are my picks:

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley: The dystopian cult classic I have embarrassingly never read. I'm hopefully using this for my dissertation next year, so fingers crossed I will get on well with it. However, I can't imagine that being a problem considering my ever-lasting love affair with dystopias...

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: I am primarily reading this gem for my module on Victorian Gothic next year, so luckily I am enjoying it so much I am already halfway through it! I believe I'm correct in assuming most of us know the story of Dorian Gray, the man (boy?) who is reluctant to grow old and wishes for a portrait of him to bear the signs of aging in his place. A classic that has positively surprised me!

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig: I mentioned this book in my June reading list post, but I just never got around to reading it. It's been constantly waiting for me to open it though from its spot on the bookshelf, so this month I will fulfill its wishes. Still very excited to read this, despite my failing to do so in the past month.

July's book selection below my beloved massive The Great Wave off Kanagawa poster.

One Day by David Nicholls: So I already started this and I LOVE IT! It is such an entertaining read. It follows two people, Emma and Dexter, on the same day every year for twenty years. Their relationship is a complex mix of romance and friendship, and it is a really nice portrayal of life after university and the hardships of growing up.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides: I probably bought this book almost two years ago... And I have still not read it! That is ridiculous, especially considering I absolutely adored The Virgin Suicides, and the plot (no pun intended) of this sounds like exactly my cup of tea! Coming of age stories rank very high on my list of attractive reads.

Human Nature after Darwin by Janet Radcliffe Richards: Now this one is a bit different. I'm reading this for my third year module on Darwinism, but also because Darwinism is ridiculously interesting! I believe this one is technically a textbook, however considering the topic I am confident I will enjoy it immensely nevertheless!

So what about you - what are you all reading this month? I'm always wanting to expand my library!
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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

BOOK REVIEW: THE GUEST CAT BY TAKASHI HIRAIDE

In the heat of the summer (aka. the English summer that seems to have been compressed into approx. four-five days this week), I often find myself reaching for slightly lighter reads than usual. I'm the same with food to be honest; all I find tempting when the temperatures exceed 25C are cold (lukewarm at most) meals, cold fruity beverages and lots of mindless entertainment. That is not to say The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide is by any means a simplistic book.
Rather the opposite, this short novel (story? semi-biographic tale?), consisting of merely 136 pages, is a pure gem. The Guest Cat tells the story of a couple in their thirties who work at home as freelance writers and have arrived at a certain point in their relationship where they are, to put it bluntly, out of ideas and thoughts to share with one another. This, however, changes when a neighbour cat invites itself into their lives. The cat Chibi serves as a common interest between the couple, and consequently The Guest Cat in many ways reads as a pet memoir. Which it in many ways is. However, it is also lined with musings on philosophy as well as interesting thoughts on the world as a whole.

The Guest Cat is a lovely tale about a cat and its positive influence on those around it. I think Hiraide's publisher Kris Doyle says it best:
Yes, it is ostensibly about a cat, but it's more than that. It's about how to manage your relationship, how observant we are in the world, in nature. The scenes of them playing with Chibi in the garden remind us how beautiful the world can be, and how much we miss of it when we keep our heads down at work. The whole thing has a fabular quality to it.
In other words, a book not to miss.
Rating: ★★★★

Have you read The Guest Cat? If so, what were your thoughts on it?
If not, order yourself a copy here!
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