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Why Worrying About Losing a Friend Is Unnecessary

Why Worrying About Losing a Friend Is Unnecessary

Do you ever sit back and think about your old high school friends or that kid you used to play with next door? Maybe you remember how much fun you had together and wonder what became of their lives or why you lost touch with each other.

Losing a friend is difficult. But are you sure it’s a loss?

Feeling nostalgic for an old friendship often makes us feel like we’ve lost an important part of our lives. Even the thought of losing contact with somebody we know makes us think twice. There’s just a certain sadness we feel when remembering a lost friendship. Have you ever looked at it a different way, though? Is it really a loss?

Your life and the people in it are constantly changing.

As the direction of your life changes, the people in your life also change. Not all of them, however. Some relationships, like with your family or your significant other don’t come and go easily. It’s your friendships that tend to change over time. You see, a friendship is a voluntary relationship that you choose to enter, not one that’s bound by formalities and rules.

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So as the demands of your life start changing, like when you’re suddenly slammed with a full course load at the university while working a part-time job, or you work tons of overtime while trying to raise a family – it’s your friendship that will take less priority in your life.[1]

Some people just aren’t friends (or aren’t friends any more).

Growing up doesn’t only mean changing demands to your personal time, you also start to realize what you want out of life and the kind of people you want in it. Your old high school friend suddenly doesn’t fit your friendship needs anymore, and that’s okay.

Ending a friendship can happen for a number of reasons, and it’s not always a bad thing. Here are some of the types of friends we learn to let go of:

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They have no compassion or empathy.

Maybe you’re feeling really upset about a recent disaster you’ve seen in the news, so you try to strike up a conversation with your friend about it. Their response? A slight shrug followed by a question about the latest celebrity scandal or what they should wear on their next date. You’ve tried and tried to find a deeper connection with this person, but you can’t. This is a shallow friendship, and it wouldn’t be a loss to cut this meaningless connection out of your life.

They never return the favor.

Are you constantly dropping everything to do a favor for your friend? Whether it’s take them to a doctor’s appointment, help them move out of their apartment, or just offer a listening ear after a terrible breakup – you are always there. Now, ask yourself a question: do they return the favor? Seems like they’re always busy when you need them, right? This isn’t a friendship.

They want to be the center of attention.

Constantly being interrupted so they can tell you about their terrible weekend or the fight they got in with their partner? It doesn’t matter what you have going on in your life, this person always has something more urgent or difficult to deal with. You either find yourself doubting the majority of their stories or constantly worried for their well-being. When you spend 90% of your friendship dealing with their issues and trying to calm them down or stop worrying, you don’t have a real friendship. It’s okay to admit that.

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Letting go of a meaningless connection is healthy.

The first step toward coming closer to focus on what you want and need in life is realizing that friendship with these people is toxic. What you have with these types of people is not a true friendship, so letting go means you are only losing an unhealthy relationship. That isn’t a loss, but rather a gain.

Once you let go of a meaningless connection, you can focus on the important things in life. How can you cut ties with someone you once thought was a friend?

  1. Admit to yourself that it’s okay and healthy to stop hanging out with this person.
  2. Give yourself time away from them and gradually lengthen your time apart if you find it difficult to end the relationship.
  3. Try creating the friendship you want to have. Find a friend who appreciates you and helps you become the person you hope to be.

You don’t really lose a friendship because true friendship always stays.

Cutting unnecessary ties allows you to focus on one of the most important things in life: true friendship. Worry more about developing this relationship than the possibility of losing a friend.

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Remember, you can never lose a true friend. You can, however, get rid of meaningless relationships. You get one life, live it surrounded by love and happiness.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

More by this author

Amber Pariona

EFL Teacher, Lifehack Writer, English/Spanish Translator, MPA

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Last Updated on September 11, 2020

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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