This weekend during my breathwork group class, it became clear that the theme of the moment for me was intertwined with the month of November…where it seems to make sense to try and harmonize with nature’s quiet transition before the whirlwind activity of the festive season sets in. As the leaves fall and the days shorten, I am reminded of the natural cycle of release and rest that nature encourages us to embrace. So this month, my practice will focus on the art of letting go, slowing down, and embracing the stillness that this season invites.
The truth is, letting go can be tough. This year, I’ve had my fair share of releases – from sending my teenage son off on a six-month exchange in the US to releasing my need to control every second of my day, finding joy instead in the natural flow of life. But there’s one particular release that’s proven to be the toughest: letting go of friendships that no longer feel right.
The Natural Evolution of Friendships
Just like us, friendships evolve. They change shape and grow in new directions, reflecting the stages of our lives and the paths we’re walking. Sometimes, as we grow, we find that the friendships we once held dear no longer align with who we are or where we’re going. It’s not anyone’s fault; it’s just life.
Spotting the Signs
How do you know when a friendship might be reaching its natural conclusion? It could be conversations that feel more like an effort than a joy, or interests and values that once aligned but now seem to veer in different directions. Maybe it’s that catch-up coffee that feels more like an obligation than a treat. When you start to notice these signs, it’s important to listen to them. They’re telling you something valuable.
Saying Goodbye with Grace
If you’ve decided that it’s time to let a friendship go, the path ahead is all about honesty, kindness, and respect. Here are a few pointers:
Reflect: Take some time to understand why you feel the friendship isn’t working for you anymore. It’s important to know your feelings before you share them.
Be Gentle but Candid: When you talk to your friend, use “I” statements to express your feelings. Something like, “I’ve realized I need something different from my friendships now” can be more compassionate and clearer than pointing fingers.
Honor the Friendship: Remember to acknowledge the good times you’ve had and the support you’ve given each other. Every friendship has its value, no matter how it ends.
Set New Boundaries: If you’re not looking for a full break, be clear about the new boundaries you need to set in order to feel comfortable.
The Beauty in Letting Go
There’s a certain beauty in accepting that not every friendship is meant to last forever. Just like romantic relationships, the end of a friendship doesn’t erase its meaning or its memories. It’s simply an acknowledgment that, for now, your journeys are taking you in different directions.
In letting go, we open up space – space for personal growth, new connections, and the continued evolution of our own journey. And that’s something truly beautiful.