Sometimes I wonder.

I get feedback about being a good listener, sounding board, advisor, or neighbor. I am told I’m humorous, generous and supportive. Most of the time, I feel like being a good friend is one of my strong suits.

Then there are times like today, when I wonder if that is true.

Life is full of ups and downs. Hopefully the older we get (or more truthfully the more experienced we get!), there are more highs, than lows. Most of the time I feel as if I ride those waves pretty easily with my family and friends.

But the truth is, I have a low tolerance for someone who stays in victim mode.

Mind you, we all experience moments of victim or martyr and we should expect that. We are, after all, human. We are emotionally affected by situations, circumstances, and the actions (or inactions) of ourselves or others.

Some build over time. Others seem to spring on us in the moment. We experience something hurtful, unexpected, shaming, offensive, etc. And it has impact. Maybe we feel surprised, scared, taken advantage of, shamed, belittled or…

Sometime, we actually are a victim.

What I recognize is that I am good at showing up and supporting someone who is dealing with a difficult problem. Until it has gone on for too long.

The problem is.., “too long” is subjective. What might be too long for me versus someone else, could be vastly different.

What I have noticed in my relationships is that when someone gets stuck in victim mode for an extended period, and the narrative doesn’t evolve, shift or change. I lose interest. If every time we talk, they relay the same stories with similar outcomes or no new perspectives I get bored. Eventually annoyed.

I remember when I was a coach, I often coached on relationships or work/life balance. If for the client, the same situations were continually coming up and the same choices were being made; I would tell my client, that perhaps they should find a different coach who offered a new view or more aligned solutions. As it appeared that the ones that I offered, weren’t doing much to move the needle for them.

I was also confident that my perspective about their situation wasn’t going to change.

I’m not sure if that was the catalyst for my current modus operandi. Perhaps I got so used to the idea that if either of us didn’t change, it would be healthier for both to simply find a better fit.

The difference is these were clients. Not friends.

I have both friends and family members who I have simply stopped trying to support. And in some cases, this means minimizing my time around them. Either we’ve lost touch or our interactions are perfunctory.

I understand that friendships fluctuate. Our relationships are dynamic and are in constant motion. However there is also usually a state of tension. That is how we sense our connection to others. Both sides are responsible for holding onto their end of the invisible, yet important rubber band of friendship.

Maybe it is the awareness that the tension is gone in these relationships that makes them feel so different. Not only is there no elasticity, I am keenly aware that I have let go altogether.

How does that stack up against “through thick or thin”? How does that stack up against my perceived identity of “being a good friend”?

Perhaps what is even more telling is that in this moment, I seem to be okay with letting go.