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.
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.
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:
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.
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?
- Admit to yourself that it’s okay and healthy to stop hanging out with this person.
- Give yourself time away from them and gradually lengthen your time apart if you find it difficult to end the relationship.
- 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.
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
|||^||TheAtlantic: How Friendships Change in Adulthood|