Are you holding on to an “expired friendship”?
Though all healthy relationships ebb and flow as far as intimacy and emotional needs are concerned, “expired” friendships are consistently one-sided. Perhaps you find yourself doing all or most of the work—you know, the one who makes the call,
arranges the plans, picks up your friend and listens for endless hours to her complaints. Maybe you are his Number One cheerleader but when you ask for his support, he is suddenly too busy. If these scenarios sound all too familiar, the time has come to ask: What the heck are you getting in return?!
There is a wonderful poem by Brian A. “Drew” Chalker that labels friendships in terms of their purpose and duration—a reason, a season or a lifetime. “Reason” friends appear to help us with a problem, while “season” friends bring us great joy but often for a short time; “lifetime” friends are those who never stop teaching us to love and grow. Chalker suggests that figuring out into which category our friends belong allows us to either “let them be” or “let them go.” There’s just one problem: many of us struggle with emotional attachments to friends for reasons of habit, guilt, shared experience—and if we’re being honest, laziness. The mere thought of making the effort to create new and healthier friendships prompts us to stick with the old, familiar pain (or pain in the you-know-what).
As 2013 unfolds, we are presented an ideal time to take stock of where and how we spend our love and energy—and with whom we spend them. Whether you end a questionable friendship altogether, establish firm boundaries regarding your level of participation or simply let the relationship be, as it is – it is important to remember that you DO have choices. And if you determine that a once cherished friendship has truly expired, do not struggle with guilt. It is time to let go. Remember: – pain is inevitable but suffering is optional!