Cleaning out the Friend Closet, Part 2

In a previous post I had discussed the importance of assessing our friendships and the people in our lives. Many people agreed with the fact that we need to have good people in our lives, but the question that still remained was, "How do we clean out the friend closet without hurting the other person's feelings or causing bigger problems?" In today's post I will be providing some suggestions on the "How?"

Just a quick recap, cleaning out the friend closet, or "friend shui," is important to engage in on a periodic basis because the people we surround ourselves with are a direct reflection of who we are. Well-known entrepreneur and business philosopher Jim Rohn says, "We are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with." Think about this for a moment. If the people you surround yourself with are negative, stressful to be around, and draining, how do you think that affects you? Yep, you are most likely negative, stressful to be around, and draining to others. 

That said, it is important to take a good hard look at ourselves and our friendships: to look at what is working, what is not working, and what we want more of in our lives. For a list of questions to begin your assessment of your friends, check out Part 1 of this post. 

So, you've now gone through, done some reflecting, have thought of a few "friends" who just aren't jiving with you and what you want and need in a friendship, but now how on earth do you let that person know?Do you just un-friend them on Facebook and hope they never find out? Do you just block their phone number and hope they never find out? That would be the easy way, right? WRONG!

Regardless of which steps you decide to take, my recommendation is always try to end any relationship in the most loving and kind way that you possibly can. 

Iyanla Vanzant is one of my most favorite inspirations, and in her book, "In the Meantime," she suggests a few different ways to do say goodbye, especially to some of the persons that are hard for us to say goodbye to. One of my favorites is by writing a letter in which you acknowledge all of the positive things this person has brought to your life, all of the great times you had with this person, how important this relationship was to you, and then peacefully releasing them to the Universe so that they may continue along whatever journey they have to complete in their own lives. 

I know this one might sound very "woo-woo," but it truly works. There was a time I had to do this myself. It was the most difficult email that I ever had to write, because this woman had been my best friend for most of my adult life. However, it just wasn't working anymore and it was time to say goodbye. Rather than telling her all of the things that she had done wrong, or how terrible some of our interactions left me feeling, I took an attitude of gratitude and simply thanked her for all of the good times we had, all of the great memories we had made, and all of the special moments we had shared, and I wished her well on her journey. After that, I no longer engaged in the email exchange with her. It was not necessary. I had found peace with my decision and what I had to say. That was almost 5 years ago, and today when she pops into my mind, I just continue to wish her well and send her positive thoughts. (This works really well for ending romantic relationships as well--I've used it many times and the sense of peace it brings upon me is incredible. Granted, sometimes those letters to exes were never sent, but regardless, the process is the same.)

Now, depending on the type of relationship you are trying to end, that may not be the best approach. Let's say it was just a friend that you weren't super close to and you kind of have been thinking about ending the friendship, but aren't too sure, but they haven't really been in touch with you that much either. Well, in that case, the situation is often that the friendship will fizzle out on its own, without you having to do much. This is the case in which I say, if neither of you has reached out to the other, and it has been a number of months, you probably don't need to worry about it, and in a few more months, sure, you can go ahead and un-friend this person on Facebook. Those are the relationships that resolve themselves without much effort on your part.

However, there are other times in which it truly is important to speak our truths to the other person and simply let them know, "Hey, this friendship just isn't working for me anymore. I need a break." There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with saying that. Sometimes you might get some resistance, other times the person may try to say things to get a reaction out of you, however, the most important thing, is that you remain loving and kind. 

One way to remain loving and kind is by using "I" statements. For example, if a friend is too gossipy and shares too much information that you trusted her with, you can simply say, "I don't appreciate my personal business being shared with others." If it's because this person is just a plain old Negative Nancy, you can say, "I really need to remove myself from situations that bring negativity into my life, so I'm going to be taking some time to nurture other interests." Simple. No blame. No "YOU, YOU, YOU," just a simple, "This is what I need and this is how I am going to get it." 

Today I've shared with you 3 ways in which you can gently, lovingly, and kindly end a relationship and successfully clean out that friend closet. Feel free to comment below on any other ways that you have used in the past that have worked for you--but remember, please share actions that were gentle, loving, and kind.

If you need help making change in any of your relationships, contact us today for your free initial consultation.