At a recent event, I spoke about a topic that’s really touched a nerve with women. Curious to see if this rings a bell for you, as well. I’m guessing the responses will be mixed, so please share your thoughts below!
As women, we learn early in life that to preserve our heart and sanity, we need to break up with bad boyfriends and wayward husbands. Logical. Check. Got it. I think we’re all in agreement there, even if it’s one of the hardest things to do in life!
But have you ever considered the shelf life of some of your friendships?
Conventional wisdom has it that we, (especially women), form long lasting bonds with the people we love. We’re true blue. We make friends for life.
But think about the circle of friends in your life right now. You chose them years ago. If you met them today would you choose them again?
I know. It’s a difficult question.
The Loyalty Oath
We seem to have this unwritten female code that requires us to keep our friends forever, unless they do something downright awful:
Sleep with my boyfriend and okay, you’re out.
Stand me up 10 times in a row for dinner and you’re fired.
Say hurtful or abusive things to me? See ya’ later, alligator.
On the other hand, consider this: When you’re dating, a break up with a man isn’t only reserved for when things are unbearable. Sometimes your relationship readiness and your desire for the ideal relationship are reflected in your ability to end even relationships that are “nice,” but not exactly what you’re looking for long-term.
In essence, with men, you don’t have to wait until the wheels have completely come off a relationship to utter the words, “I’m through!” You can make a choice to move on and move forward, with grace, honesty, self-care and inner wisdom.
Guess what? Your friendships are no different.
My Own Example
I remember a time I had decided to move on from a friendship. This was a few years ago. She hadn’t done anything hurtful to me or to anyone I cared about, but we had major differences in our ethics and values. One day I simply realized that the friendship was no longer serving either of us, and with my time being so limited, I decided to adjust the amount of time I chose to spend with her. I preferred that any free time I had be spent with the women in my life who were more in alignment with who I was and how I viewed life at the time.
You wouldn’t believe the judgment and the amount of calls I received from “the group.”
“How could you just walk away, April?”
“She’s very upset that you don’t call her anymore.”
I wondered why I wasn’t able to move through my friendships, as we all have done with so many men who have come into and then moved out of our lives.
Not Every Friendship is Silver or Gold
When we say “adieu” to Mr. Not-So-Wonderful, our friends cheer us on and support our decision to be strong and confident. And yet, a break up with a platonic friend is viewed as an unforgivable crime, punishable by the gaggle of friends in your inner circle.
The reality is, however, that despite the old Girl Scout anthem, some friendships aren’t meant to be forever. Some fade with time, when women simply grow in different directions. Letting go can be a sign of respect, for you and for the other person.
Today, decide to CHOOSE your friends. Not based on how long you’ve known them, or whether you grew up with them, or went to high school or college together, but base the women you choose TODAY on the woman you are TODAY.
You’ll see a shift right away.
Because every day you are growing and changing. Your needs are different today than they were five, ten or twenty years ago, right?
Therefore, your choices in friends and relationships should also shift and transform.
It’s natural, and totally okay.
The Friendship Audit
Take stock in your friendships. Don’t view everyone as a group. Think about each of your friendships separately. Is each woman equally as supportive through the good times and the bad? Do they celebrate you when you land a new job, meet a gorgeous guy? And, do you return the serve? Friendships are not a one-way street. They require mutual care and benefit.
Don’t be afraid to let go of your grip on some of your old relationships that are no longer serving you. You’ll be amazed how your world will open up to you, when you open your arms to new people and new possibilities.
If you’ve built some amazing friendships, call each one this week and tell them individually how much you love and appreciate them. Consciously choosing to have someone in your life is the highest honor, and all relationships need nurturing, not just your relationships with men.
What do you think? Share your take in the comments!
Hugs, love and girl power!