Candace Ganger
October 05, 2015 12:51 pm

I’ve always had a hard time with goodbyes. In fact, I’d rather just leave things open-ended to avoid the whole mess. But sometimes, letting a relationship fade away either isn’t possible or causes more hurt. Over the years, I’ve learned a few hard lessons in saying goodbye, whether it’s to a relationship, friendship, or even family member. The warning signs may not be as black-and-white as you might think, meaning, there may not always be one clear reason it’s time to cut the cord. It could be a feeling in your gut and the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to listen to that feeling.

You don’t see each other as much as you used to

The older we get, the harder it is to make time for people who may not dominate your life (spouse, children, boss). There’s a plethora of things that may leave you hard-pressed to carve out a spot for an old friend like you used to. I get it. Even if you prioritize, sometimes it’s not in the cards to meet up with people you once had weekly Dawson’s Creek marathons with. It doesn’t make you bad people. It just means you might be at different places. While seeing each other less doesn’t have to mean the demise of everything you’ve built, it can be an early warning sign you’re growing apart. That’s OK. Friends can be friends even if they see each other only once in a while, but if you want to make sure that person stays in your life, be sure to tell them so.

The time you do spend together is uncomfortable or forced

So you pencil in some one-on-one time with your once bestie and once you’re together, realize just how hard it is to connect. What happened to the days it felt easy? Granted, both relationships and friendships have ebbs and flows but if you notice your time feeling like a constant struggle, it may be time to let go.

You’ve found a new go-to

We’re destined to meet new people here and there but what happens when you find someone you really jive with and he, or she, isn’t the BFF or partner you usually run to? Many of us go through different friends or partners through the years that reflect where we are at that point in our lives. When one of my friendships took a sharp turn south, I noticed at the time, we’d both found other people we preferred to confide in. What I know now I didn’t know then is, that’s okay.

Thinking of this person causes physical stress

Some personalities are just plain toxic and sometimes, it’s not always so obvious. Maybe they make you feel bad about yourself with little jabs in conversation or they have a way of convincing you to do things you don’t want to. Maybe when you think of spending time together, it’s a struggle and you wonder why you’re friends at all. This is probably the hardest type of relationship to let go of. Clearly this person has redeeming qualities or you wouldn’t have been close at all. But saying goodbye could also mean freeing a much-needed weight off your shoulders so you can make room for friends, or relationships, that lift you up – not tear you down.

You’ve evolved

The truth is, some relationships just run their course. It’s a natural part of evolving and a lot of times, some people we’re close with at one point in our lives just aren’t the people we see ourselves with at the next part. It’s okay. Saying goodbye means letting go of the past so you can move forward.

Saying goodbye is never easy. Trust that doing so will open up the doors to new relationships and experiences. It doesn’t mean erasing all the good times you had with the previous friend or partner, it just means you respect those memories, and this person, enough to let them go before it ends in disaster.

[Image via Fox]

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