I spent most of today with a very dear friend of mine, Kristina. She asked me a question that I couldn’t easily answer – when is enough enough? We have all had times in our lives when we wondered if we have taken too much nonsense from someone. They have pushed our button for the last time, we say. Or they haven’t pulled their weight in the relationship or they have just been too demanding, too inconsiderate, or too selfish. Maybe their values are just far too different from your own so you question if it makes sense to try to sustain the friendship.
Carrying these types of relationships around with us can be like carrying dead weight. The energy that we may put into sustaining ourselves so that we can carry dead weight might better be put into cultivating other relationships or just taking care of ourselves. I am a firm believer that when your heart and head are cluttered with relationships that are no longer serving any purpose, its time to clean house. This doesn’t mean that you throw friends away if they aren’t doing something for you. The purpose of the relationship can be friendship, companionship or any other sort of connection you find meaningful. What it does mean is that when someone repeatedly hurts you, you bring it to them, and if it continues repeatedly then yes, it may be time to make a change. I also believe that shared core values are important to sustain a deep friendship. They are your very basic beliefs and essential tenets that govern the way you live. This doesn’t at all imply that relationships don’t take work, dedication, trial and error and a lot of effort, they all do. But if you find that the relationship isn’t working for you it may be time to figure out why and what your next steps might be.
Ask yourself these 5 questions if you aren’t sure:
1- If you knew that it would be okay with God or any higher power you believe in, to end this relationship, there would be no repercussions and you would never have to see or speak with the person again, would you end it? Sometimes we feel guilty about wanting to end things that aren’t working out, or feel obligated to maintain a tie that should be cut.
2- Have there been any incidents that could be considered abuse between you and this person (includes emotional, physical, financial and sexual abuse)? Any abuse is not acceptable and you may want to get professional help around this.
3- Do you consistently find excuses to avoid seeing this person but still spend time with others socially on a regular basis? Sometimes we inadvertently fill our schedules up with other people or things to do without even realizing that we have already decided where this relationship is going.
4- Is this person consistently negative on an ongoing basis? Do they complain all the time, criticize others constantly and never seem to have anything positive to say? Do you regularly feel drained or upset after communicating with them? Healthy relationships are built on healthy foundations, this involves positive communication and encouragement when needed.
5- Are you the only one reaching out to arrange time together or to communicate? Love is a two-way street and reciprocation isn’t a dirty word! It should regularly be a part of your relationship. If it isn’t, one person may feel used or as if the other doesn’t value them.
If you answered yes to any of these questions it may be time to rethink the relationship.