Friendships can be difficult to navigate, and it’s even harder when you’re trying to let go. This is a tricky process that requires careful consideration of your own needs and those of the other person.
The how to let go of friends who hurt you is a question that many people have been asking themselves. It is important to know when it is time to cut ties with friends who cause you pain.
That day, I was anxious and a bit late getting to the restaurant. I praised the world that we had never inadvertently bumped into one other at a party or a gallery opening during our time apart. Our meeting may not have happened if it had happened.
It wasn’t as stressful in real life when we first met eyes as it had been throughout our years apart. I noticed something unusual about the eyes I gazed into. Mine were as well. From there, two former best friends attempted something new this time: they weren’t sure where to begin but were happy to travel the road together.
What happens if you have to say goodbye to a friend? When is it OK to remark, “This isn’t working for me anymore”? Did you given as much consideration to buddy breakups as I have in adulthood? This is the closest I’ve been to dating in a long time, yet it’s just as tough to manage for me—a person in a committed, monogamous relationship.
It’s difficult, but essential, to get to know individuals as adults, with lives, bills, and bedtimes. I was never a fan of the Midwest’s version of friendship: kindergarten till death do us part. Others interest me much too much for me to just know a few people who have had similar experiences. But being too welcoming and having a large number of friends? That viewpoint, though, comes at a cost. I’ve had to say goodbye to friends for a variety of reasons. We’ll get to it as quickly as possible.
Friendships, whether brief or long-term, are woven into the fabric of our existence on this planet. Perhaps you’ve just had a handful, or perhaps you’ve had hundreds at a time. Perhaps you hold the term “friend” in high esteem; perhaps you make new friends every day.
How many of the friends you’ve had throughout your life have remained with you? How many of them are now just memories? Personally, I despise thinking of anybody as a “moment” in my life, yet when it comes to human development and needs, we shed them all the time, and partnerships are no exception. Remember that the events in your life got you here as you reflect on them. Remember, good or terrible, those buddies are the ones that got you here.
When is it OK to say I’ll see you later?
When your relationship isn’t renewed by what you put into it
Do you feel complete, loving, *energized*, and knowledgeable after spending time with a friend? ARE YOU ACTUALLY HAPPY? That’s fantastic! You have a wonderful buddy who feeds your spirit! Check in on them as often as they check in on you—they are jewel beings with insight and empathy who deserve the same energy from the people in their life.
When your buddy doesn’t have the same capacity for you; when you feel drained after spending time with them, it’s necessary to establish limits with them—or, sooner or later, quit the relationship entirely. Are you often talking about them and their problems without saying anything? Do they just contact you in a “emergency” or to give you an excuse to party?
This one strikes me like a ton of bricks as a reformed party girl. It’s the same as getting rid of f*ck buddies: they’re fun in the moment, and you have some wonderful memories with them. However, you want something that can happen throughout the day and over breakfast, not over blaring speakers and three (or more) vodka drinks.
When you’re separated by milestones
Whether it’s a committed relationship, having a kid, relocating for work, the fact that one of you is sobering up (let’s be honest), or changing hobbies (see above), these are the issues that every adult faces when they have a long-standing connection.
You *must* cut off the folks who aren’t helping you through those wonderful but painful changes for the benefit of your new life—and let me just say GOOD FOR YOU. If they aren’t capable, you owe it to yourself to be your favorite person.
When you don’t believe the relationship is on an equal footing
It’s time to go if you don’t know where you stand with a buddy. It is not your duty to tear down walls that have been put up. I’ve previously felt exploited in friendships, as if I were a pawn used to make people feel good about themselves. Those are not, and have never been, your pals, I can tell with absolute certainty. There should be no commercial, conditional, or hollow friendships.
I used to believe that losing contact with so many people indicated I was shallow or incapable of maintaining long-term connections. While this may be true in certain instances, I was being too harsh on myself for not learning to love and appreciate the people in my life when I did. I had no intention of letting go; it simply occurred. We grew up and grew apart at the same time.
I remember those connections as amazing, frightening, terrible, beautiful, deep, prophetic times, much like I remember my youth. I hope they appreciated them as much as I did. I’ll never forget them. They are precious to me. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for entering my life at a time when I had no idea what I needed. Thank you for the enjoyable moments as well as the challenging lessons. Thank you for demonstrating what good (and bad) friendship looks like. Thank you for demonstrating what I need and what I do not.
Decluttering your buddy list may seem trivial, but by contemplating all of the appreciation you can offer yourself and that person by stepping away, you give yourself permission to live authentically—without doubt, stress, fear, or anger.
Just because you’ve spent time in a connection doesn’t mean you have to remain to see it through—those days are long gone, and we shouldn’t say the same thing about friendships.
The good news is that nothing endures indefinitely. I knew we’d meet in a different location from where we’d left off when I met my buddy in a little restaurant not far from home. Back then, time didn’t appear to be as valuable as it is today. If there’s someone in your life you’d want to let go of so they may develop (and so you can, too), doing so is a gift. It may take you to a little restaurant, where you can get out of the cold and into the embrace of a new friendship.
The how to let go of a friend you love is an article that talks about how to know when it’s time to let go of someone.
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