Why do some friendships come and go

Ending friendship - when it's time to let go

Good friends are a mirror - inside and out. They enrich our lives, give meaning and stability. It is said that in time you become the ten people you surround yourself with the most. What happens if one day you discover that one or the other friendship is no longer good?

Do you know that too? Friendships that were once very important to you ripple like a gradually drying brook, and you wonder how and if it should go on. What happened? When did this drought start, what triggered it? And there is something you can do to revitalize it?

Friends come and go - only a few stay forever

Every friendship begins with a first encounter, during which we quickly and intuitively feel whether we like the other person or not. Mutual sympathy can then lead to friendship. Depending on the type of friendship, it shows whether we will only walk a few stages or the entire path of life together. Why is it that some relationships with people go deeper and others become more superficial? Some friendships even come to a point where contact is no longer good.

Types of friendships

Already 2,300 years ago, Aristotle dealt with the subject of friendship and analyzed the influence it has on our physical and mental well-being. He distinguished three types of friendship:

  • Friendships that are useful to us (e.g. business relationships)
  • Friendships that we maintain for our pleasure (e.g. through common interests or experiences)
  • Friendships that are founded on virtue (e.g. mutual trust, appreciation and respect)

If a friendship arises from a motive, one has a common denominator, for example similar interests or needs. In a sense, the friends seek and find each other on the basis of a mutual "usefulness" aspect. This may sound calculative at first glance, but for the moment it is, it can be very profound and touching.

In addition to business relationships or the exercise of common interests, this also includes friendships with people who accompany you in difficult times, are mentors, offer protection and support. If the need is satisfied, there is no common ground.

A long-term friendship based on mutual understanding and trust requires more than a common interest or common experiences. Otherwise the friendship only lasts as long as the situation lasts - until a new life situation has arisen, new interests exist or a phase of life such as school or a joint employer ends.

After an intense time of sharing, growing and giving, it is very painful to realize that the common path has forked and you are now on different paths or at different speeds.

Signs that something is wrong
  • The meetings happen out of a sense of duty and no longer out of lust, joy and curiosity.
  • The exchange is no longer an asset. What once connected you no longer exists.
  • You have the feeling that you can no longer be yourself at the meetings. You feel uncomfortable and fear to be open, authentic and honest. Instead, you may take on a role or do a verbal hurdle run. After the meeting you feel tense or drained.
  • The balance between give and take is no longer right, from a one-sided reporting to the feeling of being exploited, neglected or having to back off.
  • There is indifference and disinterest - maybe on both sides, maybe only on one side.
  • A “Let's meet or talk on the phone” is not followed by any deeds, or the maintenance of contacts is only one-sided.
  • You don't miss the other person, not even during important life events that you would have liked to have shared with them beforehand.
  • The exchange is no longer appreciative and respectful. Instead, smaller or larger meanings are uttered (under the guise of humor). After the meeting, the question remains whether the friend still means well with you.
  • Friendship tends to break you down rather than build you up. It does not contribute to further development. Instead of receiving encouragement, support or benevolent care, people are ridiculed, belittled or devalued.
  • Unimportant little things start to get on your nerves, and every fly in the ointment is looked for, for example to justify bad thoughts about the boyfriend.
Letting go of a relationship to make room for something new

There are always moments in life when you notice that a friendship has lost its substance. The interests have changed, the common period of time is over, the paths go in different directions. Letting go of a relationship can ease the heart despite grief or an initial guilty conscience.

It creates space for new encounters and friendships with people who do you good. Should one now break radically, let the whole thing run out like an hourglass, hope for better times or fight for friendship? A sense of duty, pity or fear of loss are not good companions. Just as little as obsessively clinging to the past.

Letting go of old friends is not a spontaneous decision, but a process. Rethinking what once held you together is certainly a first step in making a decision. The next is a factual analysis of what connects you today and what kind of friendship is. You cannot avoid the question of what your own action is, such as:

  • Could it be up to me?
  • What part do I have in the situation?
  • Have i changed
  • Do I and did I have an open ear?
  • Is the balance between give and take right?
  • Am I currently under stress so that I may react carelessly and insensitively or over-sensitive?
  • Do I resent something the friend did for what he did? Or what he didn't do?
  • What are my expectations?

Maybe it just takes a little time for things to work out well again? Often changes in friendship also occur through changes in life, be it a new partner or a separation, a new job or a resignation, an addition to the family or a move. All of these can affect a friendship. If a life situation changes, so do we. It's good when we know about it, both with us and with our friend.

It says: Talking is silver, silence is golden, but expressing one's own perception in an appreciative manner can give a friendship that has fallen asleep the necessary freshness kick. Maybe your friend will be amazed when they hear that you feel neglected. It is possible that he is not even aware of one or the other thoughtless statement.

Letting go and reorienting also creates personal opportunities

To put your own emotional state in words and then to express it is and is difficult - but it is worthwhile. Even if the conversation does not bring the cell renewal for the friendship hoped for. You have gained clarity about yourself and your own needs. Such an analysis also releases other aspects of the self that are worth thinking about.

Just the realization that, for example, one suffers from fear of loss, cannot delimit oneself well, wants to please or is afraid of something new, can be a further step in the personal maturation process. That helps with reorientation. You now know better what you want and need. With this knowledge in hand, you can go in search of people who suit you and do you good.

An objective analysis also helps to relieve the conscience, if one was perhaps not sufficiently faithful or loyal or the friendship was superficial. Sometimes it's time to move on and leave behind things that have survived, as painful and sad as that may be. The end of a friendship can also be the beginning of a new phase in life or simply open new doors.

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