Among the treasures, we cherish in life are great friends. Friendships come in all shapes and sizes and just like our needs in other areas of life change, our friendship needs can shift too.
It got tricky especially during the Pandemic when we all had to review and ask ourselves some important life questions. I believe that editing our friend’s list is essential to stay happy.
You must start by asking yourself this important question:
What do I want in a friendship?
Clarity is queen here and our needs change, depending on where we are in life. Someone once said to me that friendship is a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Too often instead of recognizing when to let go, if the reason or the season is over, we hold on for a lifetime and it becomes more like a life sentence.
Sometimes we fall into friendships through work or meet people through mutual friends. What may feel right initially, overtime may feel out of alignment. You’ll notice yourself consistently complaining about the relationship, which is an indication that something’s up. We are meant to grow as people and not everyone does that at the same rate.
It’s important to remember that some people won’t grow at all, preferring to hold on to what they think they know, even when it’s toxic, even when it’s limiting and when it prevents them from living life fully. So, knowing what you want is the key to understanding which friendships are going to go forward with you and which are not.
Make taking care of your mental health a priority
There is also the change we don’t have the emotional capacity to hold space for friends the way we might have in the past. The last almost two years have been a big challenge to our mental and emotional wellbeing, and I hope that we’ve all made taking care of our mental health a priority.
For those who have been greatly impacted emotionally, economically, and/or physically sometimes a friend is not enough to support; we need to know when we require professional help. Friends can hold space to listen for a time, but we should feel comfortable seeking professional help and allow our friends to cheer us on as we do.
The other thing to remember is that all of us have changed a bit during this Pandemic, for better or worse. The thing we have to understand is that it’s actually a good thing to shift our priorities, depending on where we are in life. People will tell you who they are if you’re paying attention to what they say and how they behave.
I do believe in being tolerant and accepting people as they are but when it feels too much, you have to choose yourself and that may mean shifting out some friends to create space for yourself as well as space for friends that are more aligned. It really is about knowing what is true for you, being honest and compassionate with yourself first, and then making sure that what you do next is compassionate toward others.
How to know when its time to edit your friend’s list
Remember that relationships are about relating. Don’t force it out of obligation. Look for common ground, if there’s enough common ground, you’re good to go and if not it’s time to either put a healthy boundary in the relationship or it may be time to let it go. This is the tough piece but, in the end, it is for the highest good of all, and on the other side of the discomfort will be clarity for you and that’s the great news.
Setting a boundary in a friendship may look like not being as available as you once were; certain topics may be no go for you and here all you have to do is say I don’t feel comfortable talking about that. Anything we do in this area must be done with kindness and compassion and any time you have a conversation about setting boundaries or editing out a friendship ensure that you take responsibility for your choice because ultimately your decision is about you and has nothing to do with the other person. It’s you on your journey and when you look at it this way, it makes it a lot easier to edit the friendship.
After the pandemic, learning to make new friends in a post-pandemic world is also very important for fulfilling our human need for connectivity and community. It is a bit daunting because we have been disconnected for such a long time but there are classes where you can explore a topic or a new skill and meet like-minded people.
Check out online groups where you have a common interest and if you’re adventurous, maybe you’re new to a city, you might consider Bumble’s BFF feature, where you can connect with like-minded people and hopefully a new BFF.
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