To be a great friend, one needs to grow, sometimes so much that we need to let that friend go.
We need to grow in patience, in grace, we need to lower our expectations and communicate with kindness through seasons of transition.
What about the days when we need to break up with a friend?
Have you ever had to do this?
I have and honestly it is not an easy topic, it is not formulaic and it is difficult to navigate. I am sure some of you are thinking, no, we should never break up with friends. We need to grow, we need to forgive and we need to dig deep but honestly, there are times when that relationship is way over and no amount of helping it will bring into a healthier space.
Sometimes we just need to find the grace to move on, with courage, with forgiveness, with generosity and mostly with purpose. I found this piece of writing and so much of it resonated with me about this subject.
People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person. When someone is in your life for a reason, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty; to provide you with guidance and support; to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a Godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realise is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Our job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. — Unknown
It is difficult to accept when friendships change and seasons move, but sometimes it is just right timing and there is nothing you can do to change this moving transition. I have had this happen in my life and to be able to accept the difficulty of the moving season and to step into the new is difficult but transformational.
I believe it is transformational, because if we heal well in the transitioning of relational seasons, we open our hearts and lives up to new and amazing opportunities with new people coming into our today and our future. Unfortunately, if we don’t transition these seasons and hurts well, we build up walls, we sink into disappointed, heartbreaking places that stop us from trusting friends in the future.
I don’t believe in Best Friends but I believe that transformational friendships have come into my life for reasons, seasons and a small few for a lifetime.
Here are three positive ways that I have found helpful in seasons of transition in friendships.
- Hold people lightly; In the past, I haven’t been that great at this. I like to follow people up, ring people and deeply invest in people’s lives. As I have grown and developed, as I have been hurt and let go, I have realised that friendships and seasons change. Holding onto a season from the past has been a deeply difficult way to transition seasons of friendship. So I have learnt to hold people lightly. If they are unable to be a part of my today, then I need to be intentional in letting them and the season go. I am learning to love people deeply but to hold them and their beauty so very lightly.
- Guard my heart; I live a super intentional life in the realm of my soul and spirit. I am open, vulnerable and often care a little too much about what people think. I am really purposeful in allowing friends and family into the places that are difficult and show my long list of weaknesses. But I have learnt in this realm of transitioning friendships to guard my heart. There is a proverb that says it this way “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life”. There are times when my heart gets so very disappointed at the hurtful or spiteful ways that people can go about transitioning friendships and seasons. I have learnt however to listen but at the same time not keep opening up old wounds, by talking about them over and over. Also when friendships and people become vindictive, nasty and hurtful, I choose to remove myself from those situations. Breathe, allow space and to regroup. This is an important part of guarding my heart. There are some places of transition, that it is not our role or purpose to help people move forward. In fact we can make the transition even more damaging if we get too involved.
- Clear Boundaries; I am learning that boundaries are not strict rules that control situations, they are clear guidelines that help create security and health. When my children know the boundaries, they know what I will tolerate and what I won’t our relationship and rhythm is so much more peaceful. I know clearly that my Mum for example will not tolerate swearing. With friends, if they know what the boundaries are, if it is clear what you are comfortable with and what you are not, the communication of the changing season is really important. For example, I would love to have coffee every few months, rather than every week. A transition of season is not the most hurtful thing, it is the communication of the change, that is often done poorly with self justification, pride and hurtful words. Be slow to speak, but still speak the boundaries that will define the new.
And more than anything don’t block, unfollow and just disappear. We need to show up, grow up and find our way through the awkward. We need to think carefully as we speak words that cannot be taken back and mostly we need to love. We need to love so damn big that people will feel it pouring out of our pores. But love my friends is not boundary-less and controlling and heart bared wide open for the world to see.
Hold those you love lightly, keep your heart sacred and communicate big, with ears that are listening to understand rather than respond.
These are my thoughts on breaking up with friendships.
What are your thoughts here?
Such a huge topic filled with so many painful and glorious stories.