When It's Time to Let Go of a Friendship

I have a really good friend. 

A friend who I love with every ounce of my heart. She is positive, witty and fun, smart, caring, and understanding. We’ve been friends for years and have so much in common. We like the same things, laugh at the same things. Hopefully you know exactly what I’m talking about because you have this kind of friend too.

Here’s where it gets tough to talk about though. This friend, for as amazing as she is, has also let me down a lot over the last year. She doesn’t call like she used to. She backs out of our get-togethers often. She seems to not have time for me like she used to. 

I’ve tried on my end to reach out, to understand what may be coming up for her in her own life that might be getting in the way. I’ve considered what I might be doing or not doing that could be pushing her away. Is it me? Is there something she is distancing herself from? I could keep going on with every possibility I’ve considered as to why it feels like I’m losing one of my best friends. 

Maybe at this point you might be wondering if I have asked her directly what’s going on. And the answer is yes. There have been multiple times where something personal has been going on in her life that has prevented her from being there. But at what point do you have to wonder if she’s being totally honest with you about it? If she really is busy or going through that really personal thing or just can’t make it this time. At what point do you have to get really honest with yourself and say how much longer am I going to allow myself to be hurt by this friend?

This is the tough question. At what point is it time to let go? How do you let go when it is someone you really care about?

I’ve been avoiding this question. And avoidance is usually the number one indicator that something is wrong. (Anyone else with me in totally avoiding the things we oftentimes know we must do?)

It’s time, guys. I know this friendship needs my attention. I have to take care of me. I love this friend dearly, and by no means am I cutting her out of my life, but I know that I have to stop expecting so much from her. I will continue to be there for her when she needs me, but I will stop setting myself up for disappointment by thinking she will come through. I will take what this friend is willing to offer me in terms of a friendship and expect nothing more. I will celebrate when we are together and enjoy my time with her. But I will not allow myself to get hurt by my own expectations of her being the friend I used to know. That friend has changed, and that’s okay, because I’ve changed too. We grow up, and we change. If we can grow up and change together, that is the ideal, but both people have to fully open themselves up to growing and changing together. One person all in just doesn’t cut it.    

Maybe you can relate? Is there a friend in your life currently, or from your past, who you’ve had to let go of? I think we can give ourselves a little compassion in knowing that this is part of the journey and process of change and time doing its thing.

These experiences make me feel grateful for the people in my life who do continuously show up and meet me in the middle. These are the people who I want to pull even closer into my life. 

Letting go is no easy thing. Recognizing the part of us that is hurt and saddened by the loss of the friendship, we can begin to heal without any anger or resentment. Instead we hold a space of love for what once was while simultaneously moving forward.