As you get older, you will realize you do not want to be around all the same people. You have grown and the people around you might have not grown in the same way. Sometimes, it will work out and you can still be friends with your childhood best friend. Other times you will reach a point where you have to end a friendship.
In school, the people we become friends with are usually based on proximity. We become friends with the people we have most classes with. These individuals do not necessarily have the same values as us or the same interests. We see them day in and day out and that’s what we have in common. What happens though when that common element is no longer there and school ends?
When we get older that no longer stays true. We are not growing in the same way anymore since we are not in the same school. The common element we had does not stay the same. To keep that friendship going takes more effort. But not everyone is willing to put in that effort and not everyone is worth that effort.
Our threshold for taking crap changes, we value who we spend time with and the effect they have on us. We do not want to give 20 people our valuable time we leave it for a small group of people.
When we are young we have all the time in the world. As adults, we have responsibilities and chores. Leaving only weekends or nights off and in that time we want to be around people that let us feel relaxed. People whose time we enjoy. People who are adding some value to our lives.
Now there will always be a time when the person you feel relaxed around has their own issues. As a friend, you should be helping them and being there for them. In any relationship, there will be roadblocks as human beings are complex. We should be giving up at the first sign of something being hard. Would we want our friends to ditch us in the time they most need us? We should be doing to others what we want for ourselves. So be there for your friend. Life is hard and it is even harder alone.
There will come a time in some friendships though where they become toxic. The person is no longer adding any value to your life, you have tried everything and the energy they are giving you is unhealthy. It is important in a long relationship to put in the effort to see if this can be fixed.
As all human beings are complex and relationships are hard. Talk it out and discuss your problems. Not in a defensive way just in a way that the other person knows how you feel. If you have tried and can not manage that it is time to re-evaluate the friendship.
Perspective and effort before deciding to end a friendship
You will be surprised that your friend may not realize the effect they are having on you. For example, you might think your friend is not putting in any effort. What is considered ‘effort’ to someone is very different. If you have taken the love languages test you will realize it is not only applicable to life partner relationships it is for friendship as well. In friendship, two people can value two different things. It is hard to understand that. I might value someone checking in on me a lot another person might not think that’s necessary. So if I am the friend that does not think that is necessary I won’t check-in and I won’t realize how it is impacting the other person. It is not because I am a ‘bad friend’ that is just not something I value.
This is what causes miscommunication and the feeling that I am not valued in the friendship. So before taking the step to end a friendship work on it. If a friend made me realize what they valued I would put in that effort to change my behavior towards them.
There will be friends that even after talking again and again you feel there is nothing that can be done. There is still negativity and no value being added. We at that point have to decide is this still worth the effort?
That will help you decide whether it is time to end a friendship. It is okay to end a friendship that has lasted years, history is not sufficient to keep a friendship going. But first, make sure if you have put in the effort to fix it and if you can truthfully say you have and still don’t want it to work then it is time to let go.
It will be hard with all that history but it is like a break up with time and distance the wounds will be healed.