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Spring Cleaning Your Relationships: Re-Assessing Friendships

How do you know when you have to put a friendship on hold?

Used with permission by Tina Marie
Source: Used with permission by Tina Marie

​Warmer temperatures, an extra hour of daylight, flowers blooming…it’s almost Spring and with every new season, not only do I clean out my closets but I try to re-assess my current relationships and check in with myself. Am I happy? Am I overwhelmed? What can I improve? Lately, I have felt dragged down by a friendship that has become a one-way road and sadly I decided to put this friendship on hold while focusing on strengthening other relationships in my life. Sometimes we need to do a little spring-cleaning in our personal lives.

Putting the "two" back into one-sided relationships

We are often told that relationships should be a two-way street: You scratch my back and I will scratch yours, you are there for me and I will be there for you. Although I do not believe relationships are always 50/50 as sometimes one of use needs to pick up the slack more than the other, overall a relationship whether platonic or romantic should be well balanced. So what do you do when you feel you are being bogged down in a relationship? When you give your time, comfort and endless advice to someone only to be given the cold shoulder. Especially in a time where you are struggling both emotionally and mentally and need an open heart, listening ear, and maybe some Chinese takeout and a bottle of wine from a friend. How do you know when you need to put the breaks on a friendship because it has become one-sided?

Be honest with your heart

The most important thing when assessing a relationship is to be honest with your heart. If you are truly feeling let down by someone, you must let them know in the kindest way possible. Give specific examples of what you are going through and why you feel as though your friend is not being supportive.

The tipping point

Wait for a response. Your friend may be surprised you feel this way and may not realize that they have been acting cold or distant. Your friend will either immediately apologize for not being there and act upon his or her words by actively trying to be present, he or she may completely ignore the situation or they may respond in a cold, distant tone. Your friend’s reaction will most likely be the tipping point to your decision.

Walking away in peace

If you friend responds to the latter of the two options, these are red flags. Maybe your friend is not fully capable of being there for you, maybe your friend is struggling with something internally that they may not realize or maybe your friend just is not meant to be in your life. Either way, it is okay to take a step back from a friendship. To re-assess your feelings, to give them space to see if they will reach out to you. This does not have to be a throw down, smack down “I will never speak to you again” fight but simply “I need to step away from this friendship temporarily until I feel like you can be present with me and be an active part of my support system," is all that needs to be said.

Closing the chapter or re-writing the story?

Oftentimes we become angry when we don’t get the responses we want from our friends and things can easily become out of hand but if this is a friendship that is rooted in kindness, loyalty, and love; then your friend will come back to you. And if they don’t then maybe it wasn’t meant to be in the first place. Just remember your worth and keep in mind that friendships and relationships should always be balanced overtimes. A friend will stick by you in good times and in bad times when they do flee from you; let them.

“There comes a time in your life when you have to choose to turn the page, write another book or simply close it.” ― Shannon L. Alder

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