We all arrive at a point where we understand that not everyone in our life has a permanent place there. The friends we have when we are younger are not always by our sides when we are older, and that’s okay. There are friends we drift apart from slowly over time, and ones we intentionally leave behind. Remember that losing friends along the way isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can just be a step in moving on.
Sometimes it’s not personal… and sometimes it is.
Maybe you simply grew distant from someone you cared about. Each journey is different and we can grow together or separately in different directions. Sometimes these people can stay in your life if they ’re on a growing path. If they’re not, however, you will naturally distance yourself because you don’t have aligning views and values. As humans, we never stop growing, learning, or evolving. It is only natural that our priorities change as we get older, and those priorities don’t always match those of our friends.
Some people are only meant to be in our lives for a reason or season. We learn what we’re supposed to learn from them, from life, from the circumstance, then we move on. There is a chance these people can resurface later in life, but for now, you’ll both drift like the wind in different directions.
Or maybe it was a falling out. Perhaps they did something to hurt you, betraying trust and love. With great betrayal, you usually must leave them behind, because the reality is hurt that is too deep. The pain you will suffer is real, whether from their betrayal or just grieving the dissolved friendship. The important thing to remember is that forgiveness is key, but it doesn’t always mean you should forget. When I hear “forgive and forget,” what I really hear is forgive and neglect. Neglect how that person treated you because by forgetting, you show that their actions were okay. Do not neglect yourself in the spirit of forgiveness.
The time will come to walk away from people who never take responsibility for hurting you. They won’t apologize because it’s too difficult to fix their mistake. Instead, they take advantage of your grace and forgiveness, avoiding the issue altogether. Relationships and friendships require work, and that’s too difficult for certain individuals. The harsh truth is this: when someone chooses to not put work into your relationship, you are not as important to them as they are to you.
You have the power to move forward in life clearly and positively, choosing people who choose you. So choose the people with whom you have a balanced relationship of give and take. The people who put effort and honesty into your friendship, the people who genuinely care about you. Fight for the loyal people who have your back and reciprocate your love. Choose these people and never take them for granted.
To the friends we lose along the way, both accidentally and intentionally, say thank you. Thank them for the lessons and the memories that have enabled you to move forward in your own positive direction. Thank them for the hurt because healing your heart has made you stronger and more aware of human nature. Thank them for the opportunity to experience and share your lives with one another, even if it ended sadly. Thank them for showing their true colors and for the end coming when it did. Wish them well on their journeys and continue down yours, harboring no resentment. Knowing that you have forgiven them if needed, but have not forgotten the lessons learned.
For the good and the bad, thank them… then say goodbye.