How do you know when you’ve outgrown a friend? A tell-tale sign can be if you feel like spending time with them has become somewhat of a chore. Friendships should energize, rejuvenate and uplift us, not tear us down and tire us out. Maybe being with the friend in question has not yet become obligatory, but perhaps you feel that they don’t support you or they expect too much or too little from you. Whatever the case, ending any relationship can be stressful and definitely awkward. Before you proceed with voting your friend off the island, here are a few things you can do first.
Uncover the root of your feelings
Really consider your feelings about this friend you may feel uncertain about. Was there something he did to offend you? Was there something she said that you morally disagree with and cannot tolerate? In a passionate moment we can all say and do things we wouldn’t normally. Often times people say and do hurtful things that they really do mean, but it’s super important to make sure that you really have an issue with your friend as a person and not something they said or did.
Consider speaking to them about how you feel
In many instances we can have very strong feelings about our friends that they’re not even aware of. If there are a series of events or negative experiences that have led you to feel adversely about this friend, make a note of them and in a kind way, approach said friend to explain how hurt or upset their actions or words made you feel. You may be surprised by how willing they are to hear you out and in some cases even apologize for hurting or offending you. Either way if this person was/is a friend, at the very least, they deserve is a chance to make a case for themselves or explain their behavior.
Make a decision
If you have in fact decided that it’s best to continue your life without a friend you’ve come to be close to, be resolved in whatever way you want to proceed. There is no particular right or wrong way to end a relationship. Do be aware though that at times ending a friendship with one person can have a ripple effect in your friend group if ties are close in your squad. Be prepared to handle any residual effects that could come from saying goodbye to a friend who may be close to other people you care about.
Have no regrets
Life is too short for regrets. Getting rid of relationships that are no longer serving you can be one of the best things you can do for emotional health and well being. Long term friendships can be awesome when they continue to grow as you do. But when this is not the case, leaving them behind is the right thing to do. Trust yourself and your decisions and be ready for all the happiness that the future has to offer.
Change is good; very good. In fact, it’s the only constant. As you move, grow and change, so will your friends and relationships. Those people that are meant to be around forever ever will do just that.
This article was originally published by Friendish on Medium, March 27, 2017.