January 23, 2016
We’ve all seen that quote, sometimes attributed to Meryl Streep or another actress of a certain age. It starts out “There comes a time in life when you walk away from all the drama and the people who create it.” Nice sentiment and all. But easier said than done. We cannot always turn our backs on a person who is related to us or who is an integral part of a larger group to which we belong. Then there are those among us who feel obligated to help, like it’s our role to reach out and understand the difficult individual. Perhaps it’s even our job.
I’ve had friendships like that. One in particular that was forged when we spent time together every day. After several years, circumstances changed and the friendship required more effort to compensate for the distance. I tried. And I tried some more. A few more years passed. My feelings were hurt when this friend failed to respond and missed an important event in my life. Finally, with a heavy heart, I made the decision to walk away. The feeling was not one that I liked and I struggle with it, still. I felt like I had failed somehow.
But there was a lesson to be learned: Do not over extend yourself to create a relationship where there isn’t a mutual commitment and desire. These days, I walk away sooner – before I suffer the consequences. Maybe it’s not all about me. But it should be partly about me! Friendship – or any relationship – is about give and take. If you’re doing all the giving, then you might need to reevaluate. You might need to walk away.
What if you can’t walk away? The ‘friend’ might be a colleague or the member of an organized activity in which you participate. My guess is that the relationship will return to coworker or mutual membership rather quickly once you step back. You might be surprised to learn that’s all it ever was. More importantly, you might learn that that’s okay!
Life is too short. Like cheap wine, unhealthy relationships are just not worth it. Surround yourself with people who support you, people who make you laugh. Stop doing all the work. Believe that you’re worth it!