We have many reasons to keep a friendship past its expiration date. We think it’s better to have expired, sometimes even toxic relationships than none at all. We’re afraid of being alone because we don’t want to feel like losers. Sometimes, it feels like a badge of honor—social proof to your childhood bullies that you defied the odds.
If you’re finding it difficult to attract quality friends, chances are you may have too many expired friendships weighing you down. Relationships are energetic, and energy takes up space. Our body is a container of energy, and we can only hold so much. If you hold on to a relationship that isn’t working for you anymore, that’s energy occupying your real estate—you won’t have room to attract the people you deserve.
When I began my healing journey, I realized I needed to cleanse myself of friendships that should’ve died two, five, or even 10 years ago. It was a difficult decision—I had a lot of fears. What if I didn’t attract more friends after this? What if I attracted more toxic people into my life?
I was committed to doing the work and ultimately followed through on purging many connections. If you’ve made it this far, so are you. How will you know when it’s time to let go? Here are 5 signs that may help you.
1. If your friend displays behaviors such as gossip and sharing off-handed judgmental remarks about you or another person, they may be projecting their problems onto you. Sometimes calling them out wakes them up, but if the behavior is consistent, that’s a red flag. You deserve to be more than someone else’s emotional punching bag.
2. Conversations have become dull. Riveting conversations are reduced to “hello’s” and “how are you’s.” They go nowhere. If talking to them is starting to feel like a chore, that’s a sign that perhaps both of your interests have diverged and you may not have room for each other anymore.
3. Plans keep falling through. Every time you plan to meet or catch up, something always gets in the way. If this happens more than three times, perhaps this is a cue from the Universe. It could be a matter of poor timing, but regardless, this friend is not meant to connect with you at this exact moment.
4. Your friend becomes unresponsive or you feel like you’re the only one trying to keep the relationship alive. It’s nothing personal—your friend doesn’t start their day thinking, “I’m going to ruin Emily’s life by ghosting her.” They have different priorities, and unfortunately, sometimes you don’t make the cut. That’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with you. Wish them well in your heart, then let them go.
5. It doesn’t feel right. Being around them feels more tiring than exciting. You sense a shift, and you can tell something’s off. This explanation lacks logic, but on an intuitive level, you just know. Sometimes friendships naturally fade with no explanation other than, “My gut said so.” Trust your intuition. It knows more than you comprehend.
It’s okay to check in on friends you’ve let go once in a while. A kind gesture can go far. It could even revive the friendship, but remember, just like the seasons, people change, and so do you.
What once was the perfect recipe for the perfect friendship no longer is. Just like how we don’t keep food that’s expired or clothes that don’t fit us anymore, sometimes it is necessary to let go of old friends.