Have you given up on friendship? We all want that sense of belonging, but unfortunately, so many thoughts limit us from creating deep bonds with friends.
People give up on creating new friendships, because they:
- have no time to deal with less than perfect people
- don’t trust
- have different opinions
- think everyone they meet is shallow
- don’t know where to find friends
- have nothing in common
- think they are too old
- don’t want to make time
When we first meet new friends, it’s exciting and sometimes euphoric especially when we share the same interests.
If we decide we like the other person, the friendship starts to blossom. Soon we’re supporting each other through the good times and not so good times, and experiencing deeper connections.
Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
And then one day, the friend does something we disagree with, and our brains decide to create a thought about what it meant, which probably had nothing to do with us.
Be Curious and Compassionate!
Instead of being curious and compassionate, we stay silent and hold a “grudge”.
A grudge is defined as a feeling of deep-seated resentment or ill will.
We don’t want to rock the boat, or feel uncomfortable, so we hold onto said grudge for months or even years, with no discussion.
What happens next, since there’s no resolution, there’s either a blow-up, or the friendship fades away, communication stops and poof, you’ve been ghosted.
Or maybe you’re the “Ghoster”.
Ghosting is when someone cuts you out of their life without explanation. Instead of being honest, and attempting to work things out, it’s easier to toss the friendship into the garbage.
A friendship that you’ve invested time and energy into is suddenly gone!
There are several reasons friendship exits happen:
- Poor Communication
- Control Issues
- High Expectations
- Lack of Mind Reading
- Initiation Issues
- Too Much Drama
- Hurt Feelings
- Harsh Judgement
- Nothing in Common
- Boundary Violations
Are You Ready to Give up?
Before completely giving up, Friendship expert Shasta Nelson says to ask yourself these questions and maybe journal about them before you decide to let go:
- What provoked this possible drift is it a permanent change or temporary?
- Why do I think I started pulling away? Was it from listening to my inner wisdom or was it from my wounded ego voice? Did I get my feelings hurt or did I just sense a peace with not being as close? Am I reacting to something else here? Could I possibly be jealous? Am I judgmental or scared? Is this really about her or is there information here for me about my life?
- If I give permission to let this relationship drift, what am I still willing to do to show up in her life occasionally? How can I make sure I’m not choosing all-or-nothing? How can I love her best as we move forward?
- Is this someone who I deep down still want to be good friends with? Is she someone I can enjoy? What side of me does she bring out?
- Is one of us in pain or crisis?
- Is this a situation where if we were to talk about it (no matter how awkward!) that there is the chance for an enhanced relationship? Are there scenarios I can imagine where we might not only keep enjoying our friendship, but actually improve it?
- Do I tend to leave too easily? If so, what scares me in this situation? What is getting triggered in me? Am I projecting my feelings on her?
- Do I tend to stay too long? If so, what am I hoping will happen? What does us staying connected represent to me? If we let go of this, what am I scared of?
- Do I have other friendships in place or am I at risk of letting go of something, that’s still supporting my life? Would I be better served investing more vulnerability and commitment here where we have a foundation?
Redefining vs Ghosting Friends!
An alternate to calling it quits, is to start a new friendship with the same person and redefining a “new” and “better” way of doing things!
The first step is to define what you want your friendship to look like. Focus on the good qualities you each possess, what you have in common, how often you want to communicate, and how you can support each other.
The second step is to define whether the preferred communication is phone, zoom, text or a combo.
Personally, I’m not a fan of talking on the phone, and luckily most of my friends are the same, in that regard. However, if what we want to say is too important for texting, we pick up the phone or wait till we meet in person.
It’s also important from the get go, to set good boundaries. One of mine is, I won’t travel to meet you if I feel unsafe because of unacceptable weather conditions. However, if you feel safe, you’re welcome to visit me in my neighborhood. Me not wanting to travel, doesn’t mean I don’t value friendships. It’s about my personal safety and what I’m comfortable doing.
I’m not gonna kid you, friendships require effort and commitment!
Admit it, every relationship has a little drama, shyness, jealousy, and even judgement.
We even make mistakes!
Our friends are human too!
As humans, we are not perfect.
Find Things To Love About Your Friends!
Again, find things to love about friends instead of focusing on what’s wrong and judging them.
Communicate and respect each others boundaries!
It’s OK to be ourselves, have our own opinions, and only do things we feel comfortable doing.
They can do them, and we can do us!
That said, sometimes friendships appear to be unsalvageable, so ending it might be the best option.
A sign that your friendship has gone way past its expiration date might be that you:
- Have absolutely nothing in common
- Evolved and outgrew the relationship
- Feel like it’s forced
- Have no energy match
- Don’t look forward to conversing
- Feel like it’s a chore to actually put something on the calendar
- Cancel get togethers often, followed by excuses
- Struggle with conversation topics
- Feel like you can’t be your genuine self
- Would rather be alone
- Pretend to have fun
- Stop confiding in them
- Dread spending time together
- Feel pressured or offended
- Look at your watch and want time to pass quickly
- Wish you were somewhere else
- Can’t tolerate the negativity and gossip
- Feel a need for protection from manipulation, gaslighting, disrespect and abuse.
Instead of struggling to hold on, you can simply choose to move on and complete the friendship!
That’s OK too!
If your friend is the one to end the relationship, it might be a blow to your ego and it may sting!
You may react in a highly emotional way, saying things you may not mean, because you’re confused, shocked, and upset.
If that happens, practice grace and forgiveness on yourself. Breaking up is hard to do!
Do yourself a favor, sit quietly and take a deep dive and honestly examine everything that wasn’t going right in the friendship (maybe even journal about it).
More than likely, it’ll become clear that it was exactly the right thing to do.
There’s no reason to beat yourself up, you know you’re a good person, and have a lot to offer, it just didn’t work out!
Consider it a huge blessing, and take the time to grieve and move on. Out with the old, in with the new, right?
After all is said and done, you may actually feel a sense of relief!
Remember that everyone we meet is our teacher, so look at whatever happens as a teachable moment.
These lessons allow us to grow as humans, and once we can move on, the door is open for new and more suitable connections.
We get to believe that a new and more compatible friend, is waiting just around the corner!
As the saying goes “when one door closes, another opens“.
As Byron Katie says, “Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you. Find the gift“.
Personally, I consider myself extremely lucky and blessed to have such generous, honest, and humorous girlfriends who accept and love me for exactly who I am, and vice versa, boundaries and all!
Boundaries are why a few of my friendships dissolved, but they’re also the reason I gained better friendships. Respect, for sure, feels so much better than being liked. For the friends who left my life, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the life lessons I will carry with me forever!
What types of lessons have you learned about friendships?
Please leave a comment!
TOPIC: Have You Given Up on Friendship?
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