Ambivalent Friendships

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Ambivalent relationships can actually be even more draining since dealing with inconsistency and uncertainty requires more time and energy.

On the realization that navigating adult relationships seem to be relatively turbulent in comparative to school friendships, I came across a coined term “Ambivalent friendship” that shed light on the various friendships that exist or have existed.

Ambivalent friendship seems to foster the co-existence of polarities. You may find them singing your praises one day and putting you down the next? Mirroring your excitement and then gas lighting your insecurities to kill off your dreams? Celebrating some aspects of you and resenting other parts of you. Making a passive aggressive comment and follow it up with words that feel compensatory for their previous ones that it’s almost guilt inducing to take action. Enlightening you with a compliment and then spewing a censorious comment, in no specific order of hurting and helping.

Their contradictory action leaves you convoluted, grappling and second guessing. You start to feel more like a cocktail of emotions — wondering, whilst it takes a toll on your mental health and influences various facets of your life inclining it towards a state of depression and stress.

Unlike toxicity, which is relatively easier to identify and set boundaries to with it’s clear white and black areas, ambivalence lies more in the grey region, requiring more emotional and mental energy to deal with the capricious and unstable nature in these mixed-bag relationships — straining our psyche.

Ambivalent friendships tend to lie on a wide range of spectrum resulting in no specific identity and thus having no specific solution. Thus resulting your response to vary from voicing out your concern; to drifting it out gently; to possibly finding a way to manage — especially if you have to see them eye to eye on a daily inescapable place.

But first and foremost you need to be aware of such friendships to begin with, what emotions are brought forth in their presence and the remnant effects they leave. Only after identifying can you really tackle the negative influences of such ambivalence.

Sabila Siddiqui

A medical student who is passionate about content creation; taking the form of writing, graphic art, videography, and photography.