Strong, flourishing relationships take work, but should never be stressful to maintain. You deserve to have a real support system in life, and you deserve to have good friends.
It’s inevitable. If you plan on getting older, be ready for shifts in different areas of your life. As women, we intrinsically experience changes in our bodies, finances, obligations, and friendships as we journey through life. Our world is continually evolving, and at times it will be necessary to make some adjustments, even with people.
Though not impossible, it’s not easy making new friends as we age. The significant friendships I currently have are with women I met a long time ago. A few of us grew up together, so we know each other inside and out. I don’t take those relationships for granted because it took time and effort to maintain them.
Good friends provide a shoulder to cry on, listen without judging, know what your favorite ice cream is, and they love you regardless of your political beliefs. They are your support system. You may be able to live without them, but you don’t want to because you know life is better with them.
When It’s Time To Call It Quits
If ever faced with deciding to continue with a relationship or call it off, there are vital elements to consider — often starting with figuring out how important it is to keep that person around.
Over time, I’ve realized that some of the friendships I’ve been holding on to were weighing me down, stressing me out, or breaking my heart. People can do damage to your mental health if you allow them to.
Most women in their forties and beyond have a low tolerance for anything that threatens to disrupt the peace they have fought so hard to achieve. Many of us spent too much time and energy in our younger years being accepting of people who never had our best interest at heart.
Some of us have tried tirelessly and repeatedly to be embraced by those who refused to return the affection we have shown to them.
The more we learn about ourselves and the behaviors we are willing to put up with, the better we can design the life we want to lead.
Anyone who believes in self-care knows that part of taking care of oneself sometimes involves moving forward while leaving certain people behind.
Before I understood the beautiful concept of peace and what it meant for my life, I was too afraid to let people go. But once I figured out what true friendship should look and feel like, I became better at detaching from individuals.
When it comes to friendships, I realized:
- People outgrow each other, and that’s okay. Folks are allowed to change. What works in one season may not be suitable for the next. When people in relationships grow apart, it doesn’t mean one person is better than the other. All it means is that they’re following different paths, which is an entirely normal part of life.
- I don’t need to feel obligated to include people in my life just because we are connected by blood. Family members are those who act as such, and sometimes, that doesn’t include relatives. It’s unfortunate, but I have had to disconnect from some because the relationships weren’t working. I still love them, but from a distance.
- Good relationships are never one-sided. One of the worst feelings in the world is when someone you deeply care for doesn’t reciprocate. I’ve dealt with this in the past and allowed it to continue until the very moment I realized I was done. Not only is it too much weight for one person to carry what two people are supposed to split, but it’s also unfair.
- Sometimes it’s my fault a friendship has fallen apart. I do take responsibility for the times I’ve been in the wrong. One thing I don’t do is blame others for my shortcomings because I know there’s nothing perfect about me. There have been instances where I did not make the best decisions in relationships, and as a result, I’ve lost a few friends. Not my proudest moments, but you live, and you learn.
- The right people will find you. Don’t be so fearful of releasing someone from your life that you neglect to pay attention to the people who are right for you.
- Always place quality over quantity. This saying is right for just about anything in life. I’d rather have one or two fulfilling relationships than three hundred luke-warm ones.
There are people worth fighting for, but not everyone is deserving of your time and effort. Keep those who want to stay, let the others go.
All the best always, and thank you for reading.
Photo Credit: Nata Snow, istockphoto.com