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Letting Go

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Letting Go of a Friendship
Learn the signs it may be time to end a long-time companionship
How do you know when a friendship is on its last legs? If a pal has done something unforgivable or hurtful, or is simply a constant nuisance, the sanity-saving thing to do may be to cut her off, says Florence Isaacs, author of Toxic Friends, True Friends. That's what Kathryn Hoots, 42, did. She always thought her friends would be happy for her when she got married and started a family. But when one of them didn't seem to be, it threw Kathryn for a loop. "This one friend liked going out and having fun when we were both single, but as soon as I got married and had a child, she seemed to lose interest," says Kathryn, who has a 2-year-old and is currently expecting twins.
During the course of their 13-year friendship, the woman always steered conversations to her own problems, never taking much interest in Kathryn's, especially after she became a mom. "She never wanted to meet my son and she even told me that I wasn't the maternal type," says Kathryn, who lives in New York City. That was the turning point. Kathryn had put up with her friend's self-absorbed behavior for years, but the comment made her wonder why. By the time the friend called to apologize for the offensive remark, Kathryn had already begun to reassess their relationship. "She just didn't seem able to be happy for me, and that's not a real friend," says Kathryn. "I couldn't put any more time or effort in after that." The two are no longer friends.
Kathryn made a quick, clean cut, but there are several ways to let go of a friendship, whether you just want to put some distance between you or sever the ties completely. If you're not sure what you want to do, put pen to paper. "Draw a line down the middle of a page," suggests Isaacs. "On one side, list the good things that you get out of the friendship; on the other, the bad. If the bad outnumber the good, and you're not getting something substantive enough from the relationship, it's time to act."
You can start by being slower to return calls and emails, says Dr. Bonior. "The only way the slow fade will be successful, however, is if the person picks up on your signals. Otherwise the friend might try harder to get you back. In either case, it can be a good first step."
And while it may be tempting to avoid any awkwardness by pulling a sudden vanishing act, like Kathryn did, don't. It prevents you from having closure, explains Susan Shapiro Barash, author of Toxic Friends: The Antidote for Women Stuck in Complicated Friendships. "You'll both be left with unresolved feelings," she explains. "As with romantic relationships, you must have that difficult conversation about why you don't want to see this friend. Try saying, 'Look, we've been good friends for a long time, but maybe we should take a break for a while because…' and gently lay out the problem as you see it. There is a risk/reward in doing this. You might lose her forever, or she might say, 'I'm sorry,' in which case the relationship can be repaired." If it is the end, be prepared to go through a mourning period afterward, says Dr. Bonior. "Feelings of sadness, anger, confusion and regret can last for weeks or even months."
It's even harder to make a break when a pal is part of a larger circle of friends, because there's the chance you might alienate yourself from the group. It's almost like a divorce, in a way: Friends feel as if they must choose one or the other. Your best bet? Form an alliance with those who share your feelings, says Dr. Bonior. "Talk to the others. Say, 'Sometimes I feel like Linda is belittling me; do any of you feel that way?' If they do, then talk to the person about her behavior as a group. There's strength in numbers." And if they don't, assure them that you have no problem with them remaining friends with the person—even if you're not. It worked for Kathryn. When her pals go out with the woman she let go, there are no hard feelings. "The bond I have with my other friends is solid enough that I don't feel threatened by their friendship with her," she says. "The upside for me? I don't have to deal with her anymore, and I haven't lost any pals because of it."

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8 Important Reasons To Let Go Of People Who No Longer Play An Important Part In Your Life
1mSHARES

Julien L. Balmer
Jul 28, 20149:58am
There comes a point in every person's life when he or she parts ways with someone: ex, friend and anyone in between.
Upon first meeting this person, there's a sweet beginning, but once you come to really know each other and grow comfortable, you suddenly realize that the relationship no longer brings any particular value to your life and is perhaps, even detrimental.
Sometimes, we hold on to people purely based on how long we have known them. Time can tie people together, but if you feel as though there's nothing substantial keeping you connected, time is not a strong enough reason to hold on to something that's simply no longer worth holding onto.
We grow complacent with people once we're comfortable with them. But, hanging onto someone for the pure sake of it and because you don't know anything else isn't a good enough reason.
Fear is another reason why we can't move on. There's the fear of being alone and not being able to find someone else; fear of someone using our deepest and darkest secrets as blackmail; fear of the hate and tension that will ensue; fear of regret once someone is gone.
Sometimes, things are better left as mere memories. You can try to change things back to how they were or try to create things to be the way you want them, but you'll never be truly happy because it'll never be anything like how things once were.
If anything, there's now too much pressure and expectation in the air to recreate what you both once had. Instead, hold on to and cherish the memories, but move forward. Be thankful for what a friendship or relationship brought you and taught you.
Beyond that, friendships and relationships — whilst they do have their downfalls and can require fixing — should essentially come naturally.
If a person isn't bringing something significant to your life, not treating you how you'd like or isn't the type of person you want him or her to be, it's a clear sign that you need distance.
While it would be selfish of you to not accept a person for whom he or she is, it would be unfair for you to have to endure a friendship or relationship that isn't cultivating a better you.
Now that we have come to ascertain why you may be holding on, let's make it clear why you need to let go:
1. Let go because things are not the same anymore.
People simply grow a part, which is perfectly normal. You realize you want different things, no longer share the same interests, no longer understand and no longer connect.
Sometimes, it's a matter of accepting that it takes time to let go, rather than holding on to something that just can't be brought back, was lost a long time ago or perhaps, was never really there at all.
It's difficult to hold on to people in life, but remember that you're destined to meet different people along your journey who will bring you happiness, sorrow, pain and joy.

2. Let go because the trust and loyalty isn't there.
If you know in your heart that you can't trust this person and he or she cannot be loyal, then you need to ask yourself why this person is in your life. Trust and loyalty are the foundation of any friendship and relationship.
If they're not present, it may only lead to paranoia, frustration, tension and anger that you're better off without feeling.
Find someone with whom you can share your deepest darkest secrets and you know that after walking away, his or her lips will remain tightly sealed. Find someone whose faithfulness to you will be unquestionable because his or her actions, rather than empty promises, bring you a peace of mind.

3. Let go because you are unclear of where things stand.
Engaging in an undefined friendship or relationship is confusing because you don't know what you mean to the person, if anything at all. If the person can't make you feel as though you're significant, reflect on why you're allowing someone to treat this way.
Be in the company of someone who is proud to have you in his or her life and will make that known to you and the rest of the world. Be in the company of someone who won't gamble with your heart and mind simply because he or she knows you're not going anywhere.

4. Let go if the friendship or relationship is damaging to you.
If the friendship/relationship is making you unhappy or miserable, it's time to bid the person farewell. We must not allow ourselves to feel trapped and used to being treated far less well than we deserve.
If someone is putting you down, competing with you, not paying attention to you, not caring about you, abusing you, embarrassing you in front of others, making you question yourself, belittling you or simply just not caring about you, remove the negativity from your life as soon as possible. Respect yourself enough to be able to walk away.

5. Let go if you simply don't see eye to eye.
It is hard to make a relationship work if you can't ever agree or see each other's points of view. If the one thing you can agree on is that neither of you can agree, it might be time to walk away.
In many friendships and relationships, people come together through unlikely chances, through their differences and lack of similarities. Therefore, it can work, but if you find that it's a significant source of many of your disputes and tensions, get out now.

6. Let go if you're the one fighting to make it work.
If your relationship makes you feel as though you're the only one putting in effort, time and love, reflect on whether or not it's worth it. If someone truly loves you, cares for you or wants and needs you, the person will never allow you to invest disproportionate effort.
Find someone who makes you feel worthwhile and worthy. Find someone who fights to have you in his or her life. Find someone who knows how lucky he or she is to have you.
Find someone who acknowledges everything you have done and will do. Don't waste your time on anything less.

7. Let go if he or she doesn't encourage you or believe in you.
If you find that your relationship isn't providing you with support, reflect on what the person is providing. You deserve someone who will be there to encourage you throughout your journey and believe in you maybe even more than you believe in yourself.

8. Let go if the relationship isn't bringing you what you want and need.
Ask yourself whether you can do without the relationship or whether it's something you unquestionably want and deserve. Sometimes, there's this belief that we can be “too fussy” with what we want from others in life, but then again, why should we settle for anything less than happiness?
Don't ever allow someone to make you feel needy for wanting someone who will love, care and support you, someone who will listen and give you insightful advice, someone who wants the same things, someone you can trust and will be loyal to you, someone who believes so strongly in you and your capabilities. Just someone who makes you feel like you're someone.
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5 signs it's time to let go of a friendship
Ending a friendship can be hard — but it can be rewarding too.

STARRE VARTAN
July 4, 2014, 1:04 p.m. 1.9K 52

Why can't we be friends? (Photo: Romrf/Shutterstock)
There are 7 billion human beings on planet Earth, so if you are friends with someone who makes you feel crummy every time you're in their presence; directly (or passive-aggressively) insults you; is a racist or sexist; a liar; uses you for your work position, financial ability, rides, or any other aspect, it's time to get rid of them. As research has shown, who you surround yourself with matters — you take on at least some of that aspects of the people you spend time with, so if someone is negative and mean to you, it's not only bad for your mental health, it could lead to physical issues too.
At the same time, as you get older it can be difficult to make new friends (though not impossible; I wrote earlier about how to make friends as a grown-up). So how do you know if it's time to say goodbye to a friend — and how do you do it? (And I feel like I have some real bona fides giving this advice; I've separated from three very good friends over the years. Remember, that just makes room for positive, good friends in your life!)
Fights are OK, not listening isn't: A good, honest friendship between two adult human beings is bound to be fraught at times, so if you generally have a good relationship with your friend, and have occasional blowouts, realize that's perfectly normal — and it's pretty great that you and your friend can speak openly and honestly. As with any relationship, it's great to talk it out (and reconnect) after a fight, once you have cooled off. But if you routinely argue with your friend, and he or she refuses to listen or acknowledge your point of view, or the friend repeatedly brings up topics about which you always disagree simply to provoke you, or talks over you (basically talking at you but not with you), that's disrespectful. There's a difference between honest agreement and provocation.
Lying is not OK: If your friend lies to you — whether it's about who she is, her job, her family, or other aspects of her life, get out now. There are a surprisingly high number of liars in the world, and if a friend can't be honest about who they are with you, they have bigger mental health issues than just lying. Liars need people in their life who will listen to their stories, and a friend in this instance is just someone who will listen to and believe their stories. But that's not a real friendship. Of course, I'm not talking about white lies here — how much you spent on your vacation, or whether someone's butt looks big in a pair of pants (though if your good friends can't tell you that stuff, who will?). If you find yourself in a relationship with a liar, that's reason enough to end the friendship.
Demeaning you is never OK: It should go without saying, but if your friend is abusing you verbally — that includes insults, snide comments, and saying negative things to other friends or coworkers — end it, now.
Using you is not acceptable: If someone is only your friend for the benefits it brings them — access to certain places or people, money, rides, or freebies (food, yoga classes), they are not your friend; they are using you.
Not acting like a friend means they're not your friend: If you are constantly doing things for your "friend" — meeting at their place or taking them out, calling or emailing flying to see them, sending them gifts on their birthday — and they don't return those things in any similar way, that isn't a real friendship either.
Sometimes some of these things can be hard to see clearly, but if you are feeling uncomfortable about a friendship, take a close look and ask yourself if one or more of the things above are happening — after being friends for a long time, these instances might be hard to see. That was the case with me and two so-called friends that I had known since childhood and high school, respectively. Once you are honest with yourself about the fact that your friends aren't really acting like people who love and care for you, there's only one thing to do: break up with them.
How?
The only way that works is being straightforward and concise. I ended one of my friendships in person (messier than I wanted it to be, but effective) and another via email. Keep it simple. Tell the person you want out of the friendship. I wished both of my friends the best, but told them that we weren't cut out to be friends anymore. After a minimal back-and-forth in both cases (via email and in person), I cut the discussion off. And I refused any kind of contact for months (and in one case almost a year) later.
Once you've had your conversation, be strong — it's tempting to go back and explain yourself. Don't. We all have the right to end relationships that are hurtful to us for no other reason than that they are hurtful. You don't need to justify moving on.
How do you know you've made the right decision to break up with a friend? For me, immediately afterwards, I felt an overwhelming sense of happiness and freedom. The relief was overwhelming — though I did feel some guilt too, and that's normal. But when you make the right decision, you'll know it.

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Letting go is one of the hardest things to figure out in life. As your emotions usually cloud your logic, and because your feelings make it harder for you to concentrate, it seems like the art of letting go can be confusing and complicated.
“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them.” ― C. JoyBell C.
Should you let go of a particular person, of your current job, of your past feelings or of your resentment? Or should you hold on and let them consume you altogether? These 11 signs tell you to let go and let yourself live:
1. You’re expected to sacrifice your personal values and change into someone you’re really not.
In this life, your personal values and your vision are the things that make you who you are fundamentally. If your job or your lover or your friend forces you to be someone you’re not, let go. You are never going to be truly anyway.
2. Your trust is continuously broken.
You’re vulnerable when you’re in love with an idea, a person, an event, or an accomplishment. They say that loving is letting the other party hurt you, but you’re trusting them not to do this, right? Well, if your lover consistently hurts you, or your loved ones consistently don’t care about your feelings, let go. You’ve already been hurt countless times; what makes you think the pain will stop if you continue holding on?
3. Staying in it always makes you feel broken, depressed and frustrated.
You truly dislike your job, your lover or your business. You don’t even know why you entered this in the first place. You hate who you’re with or what you’re doing. You’re not motivated to continue with it.
4. You feel inferior.
Your self-worth is always under-appreciated. It seems like you never feel good anymore. You’re always taken for granted. Everyone expects you to show up, but when you’re already there, you’re not even respected! When it seems like you’re the only one doing the chasing, please do yourself a favor and just stop. Doing this is like beating yourself up everyday—just let go.
5. You justify that it’s worth holding on, when it’s really not.
“Oh, he forgot my birthday because she was busy…”
“He never introduced me to his friends because he tells me they’re not his real friends anymore…”
“My business partner didn’t mean to get us bankrupt; I’m sure he has a plan…”
“I love my job even though I’m always stressed and I never get a chance to spend time with my loved ones…right?”
Look at yourself and really listen to what you’re saying: do you honestly believe yourself? No. So let go.
6. You can’t remember the last time you were happy.
When was the last time you were truly happy—as in really content, really satisfied and really comfortable with yourself? Don’t force yourself, my friend. If you really can’t remember, it’s time to let go and move on.
7. You find that you’re always the one making sacrifices.
Are you always the one who has to give up more time? More money? More input? Are you consistently the one who experiences more pain? More frustration? More anxiety? Go ahead and do yourself a favor and stop chasing.
8. Express yourself—when was the last time you did that?
If you find that your opinions are always suppressed and your feelings are never acknowledged, why are you still holding on? You know you’re better than this.
9. You refuse to acknowledge the present because it hurts too much.
Instead of facing the present situation, you choose to live in the past because in the past, happy memories are there to comfort you. You live in a delusion and you try to fool yourself into thinking that everything will work out in the end, even though every fiber in your being knows that it’s not.
10. There’s inconsistency. Every single time.
When the person you’re dealing with has a gift with words, it’s so easy to take the back seat and allow yourself to be swayed. However, keep in mind that not everything can be fixed via words. If he’s saying one thing and then acting another way, it’s usually a bad sign.
Your business partner says he’ll fix it but he never makes an effort to do so? Let go.
Your lover promises that he’ll never cheat again, but he does. Let go.
Your loved ones promise that they’ll act according to what makes you happy, but they don’t? Let go.
11. You’ve already exhausted all your efforts but everything stays the same.
When you’ve done everything that you could, when all the promises that were made are just empty words, when it’s not worth your time, your money, your tears or your frustration anymore…
Let go.
You’re not living in a fairy tale. People break promises. Lovers hurt you. Your business partners can fool you. Not everyone out there is looking out for you.
Remove the toxic thought that holding on can change things.
Let go and let live. You know you deserve to.

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