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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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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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