An adage says that people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Friendships of any duration - be it short or long term - are sources of emotional support and offer additional health benefits, such as a boost to your immune system, notes Madeline Vann for Everyday Health. Knowing when it's time to release a friendship can save you from the stress of trying to fit people into your life whom you've outgrown.
1. Life Direction
You may notice that as life progresses, a friend you once had much in common with no longer relates to the goals you've set for your future. Although it may be difficult to accept the fact that you and your friend are moving in different directions, it's best to acknowledge this fact and go your separate ways. When it comes to pursuing your life goals, for instance, business coach and author Denise Suttfield Thomas recommends that you consciously choose the people you're around. When you surround yourself with people who don't see your vision, are pessimistic about your ability to reach your goals or don't believe in themselves, they are likely to have a negative impact on how you strive to reach your goals.
Raising a family is difficult without sufficient support. If you notice you have friends who consistently aren't there for you when you need them, it may be time to evaluate whether or not you'd like to salvage these friendships. As author Ann Smith, writing for "Psychology Today," notes, "We rely on friends to help us see the other side of things and to listen to us when we need to complain about someone who is a challenge for us," such as an irritable toddler or an emotionally unavailable spouse. Before you decide to terminate a friendship, talk to your friend to find out what is going on in her life that make it difficult for her to support you.
Trust is the cornerstone of every human relationship. It may be time to re-evaluate friendships with people who can’t be trusted to keep things you share with them confidential or who can't be trusted around your family. If your friend has a tendency to share personal information with others after you’ve confided in him, ask him what his intentions were for sharing this privileged information before determining to cut the relationship off. Your friend may not realize that you value confidentiality, and he may not realize he’s doing something that’s hurting you. If your friend continues to breach your trust and confidentiality after you’ve spoken to him about the issue, then it may be time to end the friendship.
Ultimately, friends should enhance your life, make you feel good and encourage your positive growth. Friendships with people who are negative influences are probably not worth salvaging. These relationships can bring stress, discontentment and a slew of other problems. Also, as Vann notes, “While it is possible for one happy person to spread happiness to their friends, the reverse is also true - a mildly or chronically depressed friend can bring you down as well.” This is not to say that you should abandon your friend who struggles with chronic depression. If your friend is seriously trying to overcome mental health challenges, support her without allowing yourself to become too emotionally entrenched in her difficulties.
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