Friendships should be nothing less than joyful, uplifting and truly deeply authentic. It was only in my mid-late 30s that the penny dropped for me on friendships. Up until then it had been a bit of a roller coaster, in sync with the chaos of life, trauma and recovery. I thought that I knew the meaning of friendship, and I honestly believed that I was a good friend.
It was only when I had the chance to really reflect on lost friendships, the people who were still a part of my life and the role that I had played in all of this that I was able to dig a little deeper into what makes a good friend. Of course this also raised the issues around toxic, one sided, inauthentic and joyless friendships.
Friends are the family you choose for yourself, they are in some cases just as close and important as family. If you aim to live a life that is a true reflection of your values and your learnings then it is important to consider your friends as an extension of that. These are the other humans you allow into your precious world. The energy that you commit to friendship plays a huge role in the way that you feel about them.
Are you generous of spirit, honest and open in all of your friendships? Do you give of yourself with no expectation? I have found that these things really make a difference. Letting go of expectations has given me so much freedom from pain and disappointment. I cannot recommend this enough. Expectations are just not necessary in real friendships, you will find that they drop away the more authentic you become as a person and a friend.
As your experience and your wisdom develops, as you move through more of the opportunities for growth in this life and know yourself better, your friendships will come into very sharp focus! At times this can be a little confusing, it can really highlight where things are not quite right. It takes a whole lot of self love and bravery to move beyond the realisations into taking action on the friendships that are no longer serving you, or them.
Do you have a friendship that feels one sided? Do you find yourself in a state of internal turmoil thinking about spending time with any of your friends? Do you feel as though you are never actually being heard? Do any of your friendships drag you down or constantly steal your naturally beautiful energy? Does your friend constantly blame you and others for everything that goes wrong for them?
It is a common misconception that ending a friendship is somehow selfish, mean or cowardly. In fact it is quite the opposite when done with careful insight, consideration and honesty. It is often the case though that the other party may not see it this way, if they are not yet ready to turn the focus inwards then they will most certainly react from a place of pain. This is all a part of the process, you are actually giving them one of the greatest gifts , your authenticity, and a chance for them to grow.
It takes courage and intention, and it does get a little less painful each time. In the last five years I have ended three friendships, all of varying complexities and backgrounds. It is my hope that by sharing these honest and heart centred learnings you may find the courage to step into your own authentic self and gracefully end the friendship that is causing you more pain than joy:
♡ Be very honest, do not sugar coat your truth or default to cliches. It is so much better to speak from the heart and honour the friendship with your authenticity. “It’s not you, it’s me” is not serving anyone. Be brave and real and take pride in your decisions and your ability to move through life with power as well as grace.
♡ Take some time to prepare your thoughts, journal or write about the way the friendship is making you feel. Make some notes about what it is you want to express to this friend. Why do you think this friendship is no longer serving you? Have you done everything in your power and within your limits to forgive and turn things around?
♡ Use less words to ensure a more powerful, concise and kind message is delivered. It does not make a difficult situation easier if you are stumbling to find the words you need. I strongly recommend not getting into a defensive tone, taking responsibility in life is the greatest measure of maturity. It is often this that comes into clear focus in your relationships as your own maturity develops.
♡ Depending on the depth, your feelings and the history of the friendship I believe it is perfectly OK to write rather than meet face to face. Obviously this is a very personal choice, and something that you should consider carefully. There are friendships and there are people who play differing roles in your life so only you will know what is best in terms of the way you choose to communicate your decision to end a friendship.
♡ Be gentle on yourself, not everyone is going to be with you for the long haul. I honestly believe that you will have some friends for a reason, some friends for a season and some friends for a lifetime. Every friendship and every relationship is a divine spiritual assignment to further your growth and your capacity for love. Embrace them all.