Have you noticed a once great friendship slipping?
Maybe you and your friend spend less time together.
You’re not returning one another’s texts or calls.
And when there’s an opportunity to spend time together, you don’t take it.
Here’s the truth:
You will know when your relationship with someone is changing. You’ll start to think, “I wonder if we’re still friends anymore?” You can feel it changing because you’re changing, because you’re moving in a different direction. And you’ll stop trying to spend time with them.
You’ll know because all of a sudden the chemistry and the connection and the love that you have is no longer there.
When you’ve outgrown a friendship, there isn’t necessarily something that needs to happen, a definitive conversation like, “I’ve outgrown you and now we’re no longer friends.”
It can just be a gentle change of the relationship.
How to End a Friendship
Relationships change forms.
But they don’t have to necessarily end abruptly unless there is a complete value disconnect.
And a lot of times, when we grow, our values change.
What we value and what we’re focused on changes.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say your kids go away to college. They no longer live with you anymore. And you’re an “empty nester.”
Your friendships with parents in the neighborhood will change. You’re no longer going to high school functions with them. You’re no longer planning sleepovers or birthday parties together. And you’re probably not investing time, energy, and attention into these people anymore.
This is not a bad thing.
These relationships can just fade away because they’re no longer based on the value of proximity.
You don’t have to state to each person that your friendship is changing. It just changes.
And some of those friends you stay close with because you value something other than proximity. A different set of values connect you.
If a particular friendship feels like it’s fading away, ask yourself these questions:
- “What is it I value in this person?”
- “Why am I friends with this person?”
- “If I met this person today, would I choose to develop a friendship with them?”
And if the answer is no to that last question, it doesn’t mean that you break up with them.
It doesn’t mean that you have to do that. It just means that you let the relationship take a different form. You can still be friendly. You can still love that person, but it just shows up in a very different way.
This is how relationships naturally evolve.
Identifying Unhealthy Relationships
There are times you share something with someone that is unhealthy.
Maybe you buffer together.
Maybe you hold each other back.
And that has been the glue that holds the relationship together.
Maybe you drink a lot together, or smoke a lot of weed together, or watch Netflix together, or overeat together.
Maybe there’s been this commonality where you’ve been in a relationship with someone to hide from the rest of your life.
If that is the case, very often, a clean break from that type of relationship can be important.
Maybe it’s temporary. Maybe it’s forever.
This is for you to decide.
The most powerful way to do that, depending on the person, is to actually communicate it honestly.
Say, “Hey, you and I, we usually go out and get drinks all the time together, and I’m trying not to drink anymore, so that’s really challenging for me when we go out. I just need some space from that. If you want to get together and go on a walk, or if you want to get together and do something else, we could try that.”
Keep in mind that when you pull that co-buffering out of the relationship, it can get kind of depressing, because you’ll realize that the buffering was the only thing holding you two together.
Use your own judgment.
Be honest with yourself.
Be honest with the other person when it’s necessary and when you think it will be helpful.
It’s not always necessary or helpful to tell someone, “I don’t want to be friends with you anymore.”
In many cases, you can allow the relationship to form naturally.
You can let relationships change with love.
And if you’re struggling to permit your relationships to catch up with your personal growth and want help, then the Get Coached in Self Coaching Scholars program is perfect for you.
No more feeling frustrated, anxious, worried, or unsatisfied.
Get Coached will help you navigate your own thoughts so you can grow and evolve as a person, as well as encourage your relationships to do the same.