What is the Most Graceful Way to Let a Friend Go? [Ask Olivia]

What is the most graceful way to let a friend go? I’ve been bet supportive of this persons journey from the ground up with no mutual support. I’ve also given this person many ideas for their business. When is a friendship one sided and a loss?

Renee

Dear Renee,

Good question and I think everyone’s opinion might differ depending on the situation. I don’t think there’s ever an easy time to let a friend go. But being kind is always the best route.

I believe a friendship should be like a bank account, you get out what you put in. Some days you get a little more some days you get a little less but it should always be a fair give-and-take. If you have noticed a pattern where that is not happening, you need to assess whether you want to keep that account or friendship or not.

My first question would be, is this a friendship that you want to save? If this person did do more, did deposit as much as they withdraw, would you want to keep the friendship? Or do you feel it’s time to move on? They say people come into your life for a reason a season and a lifetime. I personally believe there are many more Reasons than that, but again everyone has their own story.

If you would like to salvage the friendship would it be possible for you to have a heart to heart conversation with this person? Literally say: “I need to have a heart to heart conversation with you. This is about my feelings and my needs in this friendship”. And then you can explain to them how you’re feeling, calmly and diplomatically. No name-calling, no blame. That’s not an easy thing to do and you may wanna rehearse the conversation in your head or in front of the mirror a couple of times.

I also highly recommend that you be open to any response you get. That’s a tough one too, but think through the possible outcomes. Maybe they will see your point of view and agree, maybe they will turn it around on you and blame you, maybe they will yell, maybe they will cry, maybe they will appreciate your honesty. Either way be open and prepared for whatever response you get. And take it as a learning experience. Nothing you do that you learn from is ever wasted.

Now if you really feel that you want to end this friendship, I would be apt to do one of two things. Have a conversation with them and honestly let them know how you feel, what you want to do, and what you want them to know. Try very hard to say these things in kindness. If you can, thank them for the positive things they have brought to your life and things you’ve learned from them. And if you are comfortable with staying in touch every now and then in whatever form you choose, let them know that is OK. But don’t forget to make it clear that you are not able to be the kind of friend they want you to be at this time the way things stand.

Now, if that cannot be done I would be a Casper the Friendly Ghost… LOL What I mean by that is I do not like it when people ghost each other. I find it unkind, and no one gets to learn from the relationship whatever it may have been. However, if the above is not possible every time they reach out to you I would make my responses shorter and shorter. If their conversations with you are superficial, you might even respond with a small comment or simple one word answer, which does not engage them in more conversation. Usually, eventually they get it and stop reaching out, because they realize they are not getting the same audience for their needs/wants/drama.

It once took me a month to wean an old friend from calling me every day to unload their troubles in life on me. I was exhausted and actually dreaded getting the phone call or text. Eventually I responded only in text, the responses and answers became shorter and shorter and some days were only an emoji. At the very end I responded only with a thumbs up or thumbs down a smile or frown or a peace sign.

A couple of years later that friend and I reconnected. They were in a much better place in their life, and actually thanked me for being a friend when they needed it, and not completely turning my back on them. At this point in their lives they realized how unhealthy their life was at that time, and how far they’ve come since then. Sometimes that’s all it takes is time.

I hope that you take the time to decide what you personally want and need from this relationship even if it means it’s absence. Speak slowly and be kind. The same way you would want someone to do it to you.

Good luck, and hope this helps!
All the best, Olivia

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Olivia

Olivia

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