How to Stop Putting Your Friend on a Pedestal
Have you ever found yourself totally enamored with one specific friend?
Not in a creepy way. In fact, your feelings couldn't be more complimentary. You're not quite sure what it is about them, but you're totally convinced that they're the coolest person you've ever met. They seem so effortlessly perfect and you can't help but feel like they're above you in some way.
Unfortunately, that feeling is also known as putting someone on a pedestal, and it's a major no-no in healthy friendships. No matter how cool you think your friend is, deeming them perfect and above reproach will only cause serious problems in your relationship.
If you feel like you're putting your friend on a pedestal, keep scrolling for our best tips to bring your opinion of them back down to earth, where it belongs.
Remember That They're Human Just Like the Rest of Us
If you're trying to create a more realistic opinion of your friend, you have to remember that they're only human, just like you. No matter how perfect their life may seem on the outside, it's likely they struggle with their own set of failings and insecurities—everyone does. By putting your expectations of perfectionism on your friend, you're actually keeping them from being themselves, thereby inhibiting your entire relationship.
Instead of feeding into your perceptions of their flawless personality, remind yourself that everyone has their flaws. Even if you don't see them right away, they're sure to surface eventually. If you stop assuming your pal is perfect, you're likely to see their shortcomings more clearly, and be more prepared to deal with them.
(Riverdale via The CW)
Focus On Your Positive Attributes
Part of putting your friend on a pedestal also involves devaluing your own accomplishments. You start to feel like you can never measure up to the image of perfection you've created in your head, and every time you're around this specific pal, you only seem to notice everything that's wrong with you. In order to change that mindset, you have to spend time focusing on your achievements. Don't allow yourself to indulge in the idea that your friend is better than you in some way. Instead, focus on the fact that you each have different strengths, and yours are just as valuable as theirs are.
Show Your Flaws
We know, we know—it sounds counter-productive. You're supposed to focus on your achievements and show your flaws? In a word, yes. When you idolize a friend, you often feel like you have to meet your own self-imposed standard of perfection. You think they're flawless, so you want to appear flawless, as well. Unfortunately, that keeps either of you from being your true selves and connecting on a deeper level. So how do you beat that? Be open with your flaws.
By being honest about the less-amazing parts of yourself, you foster a sense of vulnerability in your relationship. Once you let your defenses down a little, your friend will probably feel comfortable doing the same. When they open up about their shortcomings, you'll gain a much more realistic sense of who they actually are. Not only that, you'll also build a stronger relationship between the two of you based on genuine emotional intimacy, rather than the idealized version of them you've created in your mind.
(Stranger Things via Netflix)
Create Some Space
Oftentimes when you're putting a particular friend on a pedestal, you're desperate to be around them. You may feel honored that they've actually befriended you and you want to soak up as much time in their presence as you possibly can. Or you might genuinely feel like you don't have as much fun with anyone else, so you don't want to waste your time with other pals.
Unfortunately, spending all your time with one person doesn't give you much of a chance to view them accurately. If you know that you need to stop putting your friend on a pedestal, allow some space to develop between the two of you. Once you take a step away from spending all your time with your pal, you can gain a clearer picture of who they really are. Chances are, you'll realize that they're not nearly as perfect as they seem, effectively ending your need to worship them.
When you put your friend on a pedestal, you often spend a large chunk of your time doting on them hand and foot. Sometimes your pal may be taking advantage of you and other times you might be offering up too much of yourself in order to keep them happy. Either way, setting boundaries is crucial to changing that relationship.
Decide what you will and won't do for your friend. Will you answer their texts promptly and listen to them vent? Sure. But will you drop everything you're doing in order to help them with a school project? Maybe not. By deciding what you are and aren't okay with in your relationship, you can start to build healthy interactions with the friend you adore. Once you make those boundaries a habit, you'll find that you're not spending all your time worrying about their issues anymore, effectively knocking them down from the pedestal you unfortunately placed them upon.
(The Kissing Booth via Netflix)
Give Them Room to Fail
Ever heard the phrase the higher you are the harder you fall? The same concept applies to putting people on pedestals. When you expect perfection out of your friend, you're all the more disappointed when they fall short of your expectations. When your pal proves they're not the idealized version of themselves that you've created in your head, you feel hurt and betrayed. But it isn't actually your friend's fault—it's your own tendency to worship them that's to blame.
If you want to stop putting your friend on a pedestal, you have to give them room to fail. Let them know it's okay if they're not perfect all the time, and reassure them that you won't think less of them if they let you down. But here's the trick—you have to believe that, as well. In order to change your thought process about your friend, you have acknowledge that they're going to disappoint you sometimes. By accepting that they're not as perfect as you believe them to be, you allow yourself to think about them as a real person, instead of a super-human being worthy of all your love and affection.
Looking for more friendship advice? Click HERE for how to help a friend who's struggling with self-doubt.