This year has been game changing on the relationship front. I have let go of so many relationships that just weren’t bringing happiness or value to my life. So many relationships that I hung on to, to avoid hurting people and to keep the peace. All this did was take away precious time that I could better spend with people whose presence in my life I truly valued. Maintaining relationships I didn’t want to also took so much mental effort on my part – convincing myself to get in touch, invite these people around, organising get-togethers. Looking at myself to see what else I could do to help the relationship along. It was a chore that greatly distracted from the positivity and joy I felt when surrounded by closer friends and family.
It had to stop. Instead of trying one more time to see if things were different and instead of hoping others would at least attempt to invest in the relationship I simply stopped. I stopped calling, messaging and inviting. There was no big fallout with any of these people. No quarrel. I see a few now and again, and I acknowledge them, say hello. Have a conversation but no longer add “we should catch up”. I don’t mean it. I don’t particularly want to. And the curious thing is, none of these people actually tried to bridge the silence. Perhaps my friendship was no longer bringing them happiness or value. And that is absolutely fine.
I’m a firm believer that people enter our lives for a variety of reasons. Some stay in your lives forever. Others are there for shorter periods of time. To teach you a lesson, to learn from you, to help you through a phase, to give you an opportunity to help them on their feet and so on. Perhaps there’s a season for different people in your life. There certainly is no malice, no ill-feeling. Our relationships have just run their course. Instead of holding on and feeling taken for granted and feeling resentful over the nature of what the relationship has become, just let go.
Have a conversation with the person if you need to. I tried this with a few people and as much as I tried the conversations never moved beyond the surface. I just created distance. If they messaged (which they didn’t) I would have replied. But simply stopping the “we should catch up” and feeling like you needed to invite everyone to everything you put together had to stop. Especially with the inviting people to our home (which I’ve written about here).
And what remains? Very little. Little frustration. Little stress. And lots of time to nurture and foster relationships. Just this past weekend we had new friends come home for dinner. We had hilarious and serious conversations (different conversations). We saw what we had in common and respected the inevitable differences. On Sunday we had old friends come home. Friends we hadn’t seen in 10 months even though they live 10 minutes away. So distracted was I with other relationships that I hadn’t had the time to continue to nurture the ones that always brought us so much joy. So distracted was I that I failed to realise the wonderful people right there who wanted the opportunity to gather and grow, together. So distracted was I with what I could and should do better, or what I might be doing wrong that I didn’t stop for a moment to think…hey…it might not be me.