Thursday, September 27, 2012

Letting go of friendships

Friends mean a lot to me. I call some of my dearest ones "chosen family" because that's how important they are in my life. Because I treasure my friendships, I find it difficult to let go of old friends.

There have been a few times in my life, however, when I've simply had to let go of an old friend because I couldn't be around the negativity or toxicity that had entered the relationship. It was beginning to affect my attitudes and behavior.

A client recently asked me what she should do about a relationship that had become fairly toxic for her. She and her friend hadn't been in touch for a few months, and now the friend was trying to contact her again. I asked whether she had really missed the friendship in those months—and if so, what she had missed. My client admitted that she honestly hadn't missed the connection. She was feeling more of a "should" or "ought to" about reconnecting. I invited my client to spend a few more days reflecting on the situation and then see what she felt. What's at stake? What are the losses? What are the gains?

Letting go is difficult work. It's especially tough when it involves people in your life. Sometimes, however, it's the healthiest thing to do. If you have such a situation in your life, take your time before deciding what to do. And once you do, move ahead decisively, knowing you've done your discernment and that you're taking care of yourself. Although you may feel sadness about the loss of what once was good should you need to leave the relationship, you will also feel empowered knowing you've made a tough decision—and that you've opted for your well-being. Know, too, that sometimes friendships have seasons; and they come and go in our lives.

Have you had to make such a decision? I invite you to share how that was for you and what the outcome was. Do so in the Comment box below. 

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