Start over, my darling. Be brave enough to find the life you want and courageous enough to chase it. Then start over and love yourself the way you were always meant to. —Madalyn Beck
Have you ever had to make a decision to let go of a friend? How did it feel? Was it tough or was it easy? How long did it take for you to cut ties with a friend?
I’ve had friends leave my life without warning.
I’ve also had friends who left my life with pomp and circumstance when it was absolutely unnecessary.
Although I never expected it, I’ve definitely had to cut ties with friends myself. Hey, no one tells you this until you have to do it!
And cutting ties yourself is more difficult because friends who leave voluntarily? They make letting go of a friendship much easier.
Have you had to let go of friends for the following reasons?
- You were tired of putting work and effort into a one-way friendship.
- Friends have ceased communicating because they chose some guy or girl to focus on (mostly to feel some kind of self-worth) rather than try to balance their relationship with their significant other and their friendships.
- A good friend upped and moved out of state without telling you and to this day, has never contacted you since they left.
- A really close friend stopped all kinds of communication all of the sudden. Even after repeated attempts to contact this person, nothing.
- You let go of someone who has constantly used you for financial support.
- You and another friend were left in a major and stressful financial situation by a so-called (mutual) friend.
- You’ve even had someone put down your goals and dreams telling you that you’re better off not doing it and after sending a well-thought out response along the lines of, “It’s not your life, it’s mine. The least you can do is support me because that’s what friends do,” you were insulted and got told, “And you call yourself a Christian?!” Not exactly your personal experience? Okay, I admit this one happened to me. I wasn’t sure how being a Christian was relevant to the conversation since it was about friends supporting friends’ life dreams, but yes, I ultimately cut this person out of my life without hesitation (after I already gave them a second chance).
I know the feeling of making this tough life choice too. I’m no friendship/relationship expert by any means. But I wanted to put this out there for those who struggle with the guilt of letting a friend go. From my personal experiences, I learned that it’s time to let go of a friendship when it’s…
NO. 1: DAMAGING OR DESTRUCTIVE
A friendship that brings embarrassment, negativity, stress, competitiveness (the unfriendly kind of course), or physical/verbal abuse is not worth having. Yes, fights and arguments do come up in friendships, but real friends should not intentionally hurt you. A friend should never belittle or embarrass you in front of others, be negative to you or around you or put their monkeys on you without even trying to handle themselves first (read Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect for this reference). If a friend competes with you just so they feel better about themselves, it’s time to let that person go. I once had a friend who competed with me and trust me when I say that I felt it from a mile away. It was super awkward for me and very annoying because all I wanted was to be friends not competitors.
Anyone who is destructive should not have room in your life. If you’re around true friends, you should feel confident in your own skin because real friends lift each other up. If a friendship is stressful and damaging (yes, even your health can be affected), love yourself enough to walk away.
NO. 2: ON AN AS-NEEDED BASIS
Have you ever had a phone-a-friend friendship? What did you say/do when that person called you when they needed something? You know what I did? Years ago, it happened once too many times and I answered the phone call without hesitation with a, “Hi, what do you need?” right in front of another friend. I didn’t mean to really. It came out and even I was surprised at what I had said. When my friend asked who it was and I mouthed to her this person’s name, she just rolled her eyes. Ouch. No one wants to be friends with a phone-a-friend friend.
You know what’s even worse than that? That your friends’ friends know you’re that kind of person. No one will want to be around you, much less pick up the phone if they see you on their caller ID. You know that 4:00AM bail-out-of-jail-call? That most likely won’t happen if you’re a phone-a-friend friend. Like Jim Rohn said, “We must learn to help those who deserve it, not just those who need it.”
If you get one more of these phone calls, first, stop answering them and second, love yourself enough to walk away.
NO. 3: A ONE-WAY STREET
Several years ago, I tried desperately to keep a friendship alive as it was dying a terrible death. The agonizing process was so horrible that one of my friends asked me, “Why are you doing this? This person doesn’t care about you.” to which I responded, “I care.” There comes a time where we have that one friend who makes no kind of effort whatsoever. How do you feel when you work so hard on the friendship? Let me tell you the answer. You’re tired. You’re mentally and physically tired. If a friend doesn’t spend their time thinking about you, ask yourself if they are worth your time, efforts and love. Last time I checked, if a friend truly cares about you, they reciprocate your feelings and actions as well.
Real friends take time to hang out, listen to each other, be there for one another, call/text each other, and make an effort to see how you’re doing, fights to have you in his/her life and finds you worthy of their love and time.
If you find a friend or friends who encompass these qualities, hang on to them and make sure you don’t spend your time on anyone less deserving. If it’s a one-way friendship, love yourself and make a u-turn.
Sometimes it’s hurtful or can even feel devastating to let a friend go, but in the long run, you have to do what’s best for you, your heart and well-being. Being friends with someone should not stress you out. You shouldn’t have to pretend to be someone else. You shouldn’t have to tolerate destructive words or behavior. Make the choice to let go of toxicity from your life, even if it means people whom you thought were your friends. It’s okay and completely normal for you to feel guilty when you let go of a friend. But if it’s damaging you, sometimes all you can do is remember the good times, let go and move on.
In the end, it’s up to you to determine your needs and make a choice that works best for you.
If you’ve ever let go of a friend, how did you feel when you let that person go? What made you let that person go? Please feel free to share your experiences below. I’d love to hear and learn from you!