Relationships that serve us are inspiring or energising and we need to nurture them or we’re missing an opportunity to grow and have fun! But we can also outgrow a friendship – when we evolve and they don’t.
Just like any healthy relationship – a friendship will have rough patches and we shouldn’t discard a friend simply because times get tough. But if your gut is telling you to move on, that this person isn’t right for you, it may be time to pay attention and let go.
So, how do you know if a friendship is serving you or not? Well, the big question is, after spending time with your friends, how do you feel about yourself? Do you feel energised, inspired, happy, supported or encouraged OR do you feel drained, discouraged or somehow worth less?
Try these 5 Steps to Review, Declutter and Detox Your Friendships:
- Make a list of the 10-20 friends and people you spend most of your time with.
- Then, for each one ask yourself: “How do I feel after spending time with this person?”
- Then to make this exercise really helpful, add a score from +5 to -5 to represent how you generally feel after spending time with them. Obviously – scores mean you feel somehow less or negative about yourself and your life, and the + scores represent feeling better about yourself and your life.
- Now, reviewing your list, think about how much time you spend with each friend. Are you spending more time with the ‘pluses’ or the ‘minuses’? Do you have friends that energise and inspire you – the +4s and +5s on your list? What about drainers – the -4s or -5s?
- Look at your plus friendships: If you’re not already, find ways to spend more time with them. Don’t have any +4s and +5s? You may want to think about developing some friends that will be that support and boost in life!
Looking at your minus friendships: Just because the friendship is a low score doesn’t necessarily mean you should dump your friend – there may be a wound or grievance that needs to be brought into the open and discussed. Or it may be that YOU have some ‘processing’ to do because YOU feel less around them – but it’s YOU doing the judging and not them. AND it may be that you do need to simply spend less time with them or to change the ACTIVITIES that you do with them. For example, if you can’t bear to let go of a friend just yet, you could go to the cinema with them instead where you’ll interact less…
Friendship is important – and having the right friends is crucial to your development. Almost EVERY success book will tell you that WHO you spend your time with impacts your life – if you want to be successful, hang around with like-minded people.
So, in summary – and back to Valentines and Friendship Day. It’s a great opportunity to review and reflect on which friendships are serving us and which are not. For those that are no longer serving us, we may have some difficult choices to make.
And for those friends that are fabulous? For those friends who are there for you, who support, encourage and inspire you – find a way to recognize them! What is it about them that you love? And then whether it’s a heartfelt thank-you with a hug and appreciative words over a cup of coffee or glass of wine, a letter, email or a spontaneous gift – make sure THEY know how much YOU love and appreciate them!
“A friend is a gift you give yourself.” Robert Louis Stevenson
Other Useful Self-Coaching Tools & Resources around Friendship:
- For help with reviewing your friendships, check out our “Detox Your Relationships” Self Coaching Exercise
- And you may also like our *FREE* Self-Coaching Tool to help find new friends
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