A few weeks ago, I spent several hours on a Saturday afternoon uploading a series of ‘ARCHIVE’ photos via my INSTAGRAM #XemSays social network. The set of 30 collage pics featured me posed alongside some of the most important individuals in my life. Many of the women and men you saw are people who have existed in my life for 10-25 years. I posted these ‘Throwback/Archive’ photos of my friends and I as a a celebration of those who have existed in my life through just about every phase I have experienced. Through my childhood, teenage years and young adult life, many of the people you saw sitting and standing beside me have become my extended family. We don’t see one another often. However, when we do get together for brunch on Sundays, a wine tasting gathering or someone’s birthday bash, the time we spend makes it seem as if not a day has gone by. I enjoy these moments most, for its spending time surrounded by my friends that truly reminds me of who I am as a human being. I don’t have to care how I’m dressed, if my skin is breaking out, if I mispronounce a word or slur my speech from having three too many mimosas. During the hours we sit across from one another talking and verbally sharing our lives, I don’t have to monitor or censor what comes out of my mouth. I can suspend the fear of my personal business being shared online, for my friends have no motive to prove to the public that they ‘truly know me.’ I don’t see the people closest to my life on a regular basis. Our relationships aren’t dependent upon daily, face to face interaction. That’s usually the basis and foundation of associations. When I part ways with a friend, following a quarterly ‘catch-up session’, I usually feel happy, inspired, calmed and often grounded. Each person who I call a friend serves a different purpose in my life. I don’t talk to them all about the same issues and I don’t spend time with each of them engaged in the same activities. Each of my friends are different and each of them has contributed various elements to my life.
It’s once an individual begins sucking the energy from my spirit and no longer serving a purpose in any facet of who I’ve become, that I know its time to let go of the friendship or association.
As human beings grow and begin changing in different ways, our relationships with certain individuals aren’t meant to stand the test of those forward and backward strides. Most often, we risk our happiness and well being in an effort to keep a friendship or association alive; one that is no longer serving our social, mental or emotional needs. We tend to close our eyes to certain faults and flaws of someone who we CALL A FRIEND, even though we no longer FEEL CLOSE TO THEM AS A FRIEND.
It’s unwise, naive and unhealthy to ignore your present passions or current priorities in order to maintain an association with someone whose life doesn’t fit into yours. There is a huge difference between accepting someone for their good and their bad qualities, and tolerating someone for the simple fact that they’ve been in your life for years. Many of my friends don’t share my interests, immediate passions or ideologies. However, each of them contributes a sense of joy to my life. I don’t walk away from our outings or phone calls feeling angry or drained by the interaction. It’s when your life changes no longer leaves room for someone else’s lack of change that you know it’s time to walk away.
Severing a relationship of any kind can be extremely painful. Many of us invest a great deal of heart, time and energy into the people who we consider to be our friends. However, these bonds should not take the same level of conscious effort as our romantic unions in order to naturally work. Friends are precious and rare to hold on to in today’s social climate. Friendships should be considered and maintained over a lifetime. If you can no longer imagine sharing the intimacies of your life with someone, over a prolonged period of time, that particular friendship may have run its course.
In contrast, be mindful of the fact that friendships can also be seasonal. Don’t be dismissive of someone simply because the level of friendship they offer doesn’t fit your present climate. Depending upon the moods you are experiencing, the interests that have taken precedence and the issues affecting your personal life, certain friends will be called upon to meet your needs during those times. Last season, I was looking to return to my online platform and begin sharing myself with the world again. As a result, I found myself subconsciously spending time with my friends who are more artistic, dreamers and more likely to think outside of the box. There will be periods of time where you will find yourself engaged with one particular person or a group of individuals more often than you are paired alongside others. This does not make one association or set of friends more important or special in your life. It’s important to consider the fact that circumstances, situations and environments play a huge part in which friend or set of friends we turn to for comfort, entertainment, gossip, or advice during certain periods and phases. It very much depends upon the season; figuratively.
Also, don’t mistaken someone’s absence as a lack of their loyalty or devotion. With life change, also comes the different rates by which we each grow and take various steps. A friend who is now enrolled in graduate school and simultaneously working a full-time job, is not going to have as much time on their hands to socialize when compared to the friend who teaches one or two classes each week and takes yoga one hour each night. You can’t allow time spent or the lack thereof to determine the significance of someone’s friendship in your life.
Overall, be mindful of how someone’s company and distance makes you feel. Remember, a friend is someone who can be physically absent for months, but whose spirit you feel and miss on a regular basis.
It’s when you have to close your eyes to how someone ‘really behaves’ or how they ‘truly carry themselves’, that you know it’s time to reevaluate the friendship. You always want to be in a position where you have removed the negative individuals in order to create space for new, nurturing and vigorous relationships.
IT MAY BE TIME TO LET GO OF YOUR FRIENDSHIP OR ASSOCIATION IF…
. You monitor everything you say via phone, text, email or IM in fear that they will repeat, forward or copy and paste your business to their other friends and associates.
. You have to mentally prepare or physically numb yourself with alcohol in order to endure an evening or daytime activity spent alongside them.
. You find yourself always having to apologize or accept blame for situations in order for the two of you to move beyond it.
. Whenever you have a serious issue or problem festering in your life, they are the last person you think about calling or reaching out to for comfort.
. You are apprehensive about mentioning or introducing your new love interest to him/her, in fear of them going online to find the person or intentionally bringing you ‘social gossip’ about the potential boo.
. None of your other friends or family members thinks this person has your best interests at heart, and is constantly able to pin point situations of disloyalty, disrespect and a disregard for your feelings. Its often those closest to us that can see danger approaching before we open our eyes to it.
. Every time you share good or promising news with this individual, he/she laughs, criticizes or points out everything that can possibly go wrong. This person is unable to be happy for your opportunities and rarely expresses joy for the advances you are making in life.
. You’re embarrassed to be seen in public with this person, for they are constantly creating scenes, igniting drama and instigating problems with other people.
. You no longer believe half of the stories he/she shares now that you’ve caught them in numerous lies and false tales over the past few months.
. AS YOU’VE CHANGED, GROWN, MATURED & SET YOUR SIGHTS ON HIGHER GROUND, HE/SHE IS STILL ENGAGED IN THE SAME CRAP THEY WERE DOING WHEN THE TWO OF YOU FIRST MET…YEARS AGO.
It is tough to let go of someone who once served a major purpose and role in your daily life. First, acknowledge to yourself that someone no longer feels like a friend. Accept that the only reason why you still call them a friend is because of the years you two have known one another. Be honest with him or her about how you feel. Move forward in your life without them; knowing that you have now made room for a new friendship that will UPLIFT YOU as oppose to always UPSETTING YOU.