The ABC's of Ending Relationships

If you have been following along with me the last few weeks you know that I have been encouraging you to get honest about the people in your life. 

Who you spend time with has a huge impact on your life.

According to one study if your friends are obese you are more likely to gain weight! Similar studies have shown that if people in your social circle divorce you are more likely to divorce. Our friendships are big factor in the choices we make. Their influence should not be underestimated!

Are you finding that as you Change Your Story there are people you no longer connect with in your life?

I have been talking with people about friendships. I’ve been asking specifically what people do when they feel like a friendship is no longer working. A few weeks ago I put this question out on my social media sites:

Have you ever ended a non-romantic relationship intentionally?

I had a lot of responses sent my way. It seems like I am not alone when it comes to ending relationships. And just to be clear, I believe ending relationships well is important.  When I use the word ‘working’ I mean that you have gone through a process of really thinking about the relationship and have decided it is either unhealthy or holding you back from pursuing what you want in your life. 

Here are four ways to end a friendship:

Avoid - This method is one that I think we have all experienced! It is best used when the relationship is fairly casual and you don't see this person in your social circles or daily.  It won’t work with your BFF.  It would work with that person at the gym who is really negative and brings you down whenever you are with them. You might need to change the time you go to the gym or find another place to work out. It is non-confrontational. You simply do what you can to avoid seeing the person. 

Boundaries - Setting boundaries in a relationship can be a step in either ending a friendship or in revitalizing a relationship. It is best used in relationships where you find it difficult to maintain new behaviours or changes you are trying to make in your life.  I’ll explore how to do this more detail in my Guide to Finding Your People (available June 2017).  An example of this is a friend who always wants you to go shopping and you are trying to stick to a budget. Maybe you find it difficult to resist spending money when you are in a mall. Setting boundaries could look like telling your friend that you will meet them for a walk instead. This puts you in control and you won't feel compromised and resentful of your friend! You may discover all you had in common was shopping, or whatever activity it was, and the friendship ends. 

Conversation - This choice is the most direct way to end a relationship. It involves sitting down with the friend and explaining to them that you have decided to move on. It is best used to end a friendship that has been significant to you in the past. Honour the past by having a heart-to-heart conversation where you explaining your decision and acknowledging the loss and ending. I have had to go through this with friends who split up. Over time it became too difficult to maintain relationships with both people. I had to have a conversation with one and tell them how I was feeling and how difficult it was to continue our friendship. They were also feeling the tension and recognized that we were unable to share certain things with each other and it was ultimately creating distance in our friendship anyway. This approach is similar to what you would do in ending a romantic relationship.

Disconnect - A few years ago I needed to disconnect from a group of people who had  been part of a community group I left. I disconnected because I knew that I was going in a different direction in my life than they were heading. There were a few relationships within this circle I chose to end with a conversation. There were also a number of people I decided to disconnect from without any conversation. I unfriended them on all social media, blocked them from certain accounts, deleted their contact information from my address book and moved on. It was a drastic step. Not one of them reached out to me so I am assuming that it was mutual. Disconnecting from people is cutting them off from your life so that they no longer have access to you. It is a drastic measure and it has its place. It is best used when you need a complete break from a group of people or if you feel threatened emotionally or physically.

Being intentional about the relationships in your life is one of the best things you can do to support yourself in creating a new story. Social media puts us in relationship with so many people and that can be a big drain on our reserves. In order to make room for healthy relationships you may need to create space by ending relationships that no longer work.

I would love to know how and why you have ended non-romantic relationships. Please comment below. 

I know this was a difficult blog post to read. My goal is:

to encourage you to live truthfully so you can achieve your goals.

I don't think you can do that without having a good look at your relationships.