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How to Break-Up With a Friend

How to Break-Up With a Friend

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    Friendships make up a huge chunk of our support system. They are the glue that holds it all together. If one friendship disappears, a gaping hole is left in the support web. But sometimes in life, it is necessary to let go of people that no longer serve as a support, but instead lead to stress and to problematic situations commonly referred to as “drama”. It is a hard truth to accept that not all the people that come into our lives are meant to stay. Like any successful marriage or romantic relationship, effort, time and investment is needed. If you don’t grow together, you will certainly grow apart. So how do you decide when it is time to divorce a friend?

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    Just because you have a big blow-out does not mean the friendship is over. If a situation has come about that has caused a rift, careful consideration and time spent re-evaluating your relationship should be taken. The hardest lesson to learn is when to walk away, and you do not want to lose a good friend out of foolish anger. So let’s say you’ve taken the above steps and have come to decide the cons far outweigh the pros. Here is some information to consider before giving your friend their walking papers. This information will help you make the cleanest cut possible and move on to more productive and enjoyable friendships.

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    • No one is the perfect friend. We all have different friends for different reasons. The drinking buddy, the work friend, the best friend, the hobby friend, etc. No one person can offer you absolute perfection in friendship. And that is okay. If you have to have perfection, you might not have friends. This is the time to take a look at yourself and how you have acted. If you are found at fault, accept the responsibility and apologize.
    • People change, even your closest friends. Sometimes the change is for the worse and good friends call each other out on these unhealthy changes. Communication is needed and should always be the first course of action. It may be that the change is so drastic that it is grounds for going your separate ways. If your friend has no clue and has been walking around with blinders on, it’s fair to tell them and give them a chance to change. If no change is made, it’s then fair to say the friendship has run its course.
    • Casual friends don’t warrant a break-up. Often times casual friends are classified as new friends. We try people on like hats. If it’s a fit, great, if not, the easiest thing is to keep your distance and “fade away quietly”. Usually, they get the hint. Don’t stress yourself out thinking you warrant them a huge farewell.
    • Be honest with your close friends. Confrontation is not something we all wake up in the morning dying to do. It is unpleasant with someone who is important to you and it hurts to tell the person that this may be the end of the road. But honesty really is the best policy. Not only will you feel better, your soon-to-be ex-friend will appreciate the talk and maybe it was all a misunderstanding. Good communication may lead to reconciliation or it may lead to a confirmation of why you no longer desire to be their friend in the first place. But no matter how angry you are or how justified you may be in calling off the friendship, respect their feelings and be honest or they will never be able to atone for what went wrong.
    • Some friendships are or become TOXIC. A friendship should, for the most part, bring out the best in you. Friendship is a two-way street. One person cannot uphold a relationship all on their own. That is not a friendship. The dictionary defines a friend as “One attached to another by respect or affection.” Note the most important word, as Aretha sang, RESPECT. If a friend cannot grant you the courtesy of respect, they are not deserving of your friendship.

    I do not advocate the breaking up of friendships. It’s a sad day when you have to let a friend go, and even sadder when you realize that the phrase “true friends are your friend no matter what” just doesn’t hold for every situation. A real friend is someone who gives you respect, honesty and continuous support. If you are someone who has realized that maybe you haven’t been the best friend you should be, it’s never too late to make amends. Here are three things to ask yourself if you have been given your walking papers and are baffled why:

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    • Communication.When was the last time you actually called up your friend just to ask them how they’ve been or what’s new with them? You may find that you have unintentionally have been calling them up only to ask for something or to just talk about yourself.
    • Activity.When was the last time you made the effort to set up a time and place to do something with your friend? Have you been consistently extending invitations to hang out? Carving out time for your friendships are extremely important. Quality time together deepens your bond.
    • Support.When was the last time you offered to be there for your friend without them asking you? Or when was the last time you returned a favor they did for you without them asking? Sometimes, people feel taken advantage of when one is giving and the other is always taking. People don’t always realize what is going on so don’t beat yourself up. Make amends and work toward seeing situations objectively rather than subjectively.

    These three things are the bare bones of any friendship. When one is off balance, the rest of the friendship is thrown into upheaval. Whatever side of the fence you find yourself on, always try to salvage a good friend and know that an unhealthy friend is better left behind you.

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    Last Updated on May 21, 2019

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

    If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

    Example 1

    You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

    You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

    In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

    Example 2

    You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

    People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

    You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

    Example 3

    You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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    The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

    Example 4

    You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

    Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

    If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

    Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

    • Understand your own communication style
    • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
    • Communicate with precision and care
    • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

    1. Understand Your Communication Style

    To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

    In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

    Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

    2. Learn Others Communication Styles

    Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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    If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

    “How do you prefer to receive information?”

    This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

    To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

    3. Exercise Precision and Care

    A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

    On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

    Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

    I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

    I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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    In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

    The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

    Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

    4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

    Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

    In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

    “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

    Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

    Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

    It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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    It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

    It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

    Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

    Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

    The Bottom Line

    When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

    I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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    Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

    Reference

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