I was always a believer that once a friend, always a friend. But, the older I get, the more I realise that letting a person go is ok and can be a true learning.
Being there for those you care about comes naturally to most human beings, but an imbalance in any relationship can be particularly draining, especially if you are the person who’s giving all the time.
So, here’s a little test. Think about a current friendship or relationship that is testing for you. If more than two of the below are factors in your relationship, then you have every right to have an honest and diplomatic conversation about what’s upsetting you. If things don’t change, and you’ve set reasonable boundaries you have every right to walk away.
- Do they respect your time, or expect you to drop your life and work to fit in with them?
- Do they support you in your career and dreams as equally as you support them?
- When you catch up, is it all about them or do they ask you how you are and what you’ve been up to?
- Are they there for you when you truly need them?
- Are you putting more into the relationship than they are?
- Does something about their character and authenticity just feel off?
Ultimately, when a friendship doesn’t make you feel good, and you’ve tried to make a shift with no positive outcome, then it’s time to let go. No huge ultimatum is required, or some big song or dance. It’s ok just to let that person drift away.
Although this isn’t always easy, when we let go of the people who aren’t right for us, it opens us up to new opportunities and brings new people into our lives.
There’s a reason for everything and always a learning
When I think about some of my friendships and relationships that haven’t worked or someone’s true character has come out, there’s always a positive I’ve taken away from the experience. They may well have taught me something interesting or have opened me up to something new. Perhaps they’ve moved me in a direction that will have an impact in my future life. A direction I won’t fully understand until later down the line.
I know for a fact, I wouldn’t be where I am now or doing what I’m doing now had I not meet the first guy I fell in love with. Yes, I naively moved from my hometown to London to be near him (slightly cringy looking back!), but had I not been through that experience I know I would be in a very different place in my life right now.
Take a moment to think about all the people who are no longer in your life, then think of at least one positive thing you can take from that experience.
I think you’ll agree, hindsight is a wonderful thing.