As we grow and go through different phases in our lives, things change: our makeup and skin care routine, the way we nourish our bodies, how much sleep we get.
Those things are flexible; we are okay with bending and weaving our routine according to our needs. When something feels off, it’s usually because it is, and most of the time we love ourselves enough to make the necessary adjustments even if it takes a few tries (or years) to get it right.
We find our way and realize things like eating a pepperoni pizza at 11 at night isn’t worth the heartburn and nausea we feel as we’re trying to get some much-needed sleep.
The same goes for our friendships. Women need friends even if their circle isn’t huge. It doesn’t matter if we find it in a sibling, someone we’ve only talked to online and never met in person, or our next store neighbor — we need it.
We also know what we need in that friendship — we need to feel validated, heard, and loved. We also need someone who isn’t going to blow glitter up our butt because it’s what we want to hear at that moment. We want the real deal, someone who loves us enough to be honest and speak up if they think we are being an asshole.
The thing is, you realize you might not need the same type of friendship at this time in your life that you needed in the 7th grade. And sometimes that means you need to move the friendship to another shelf in your life. Maybe you go from meeting every week, to a weekly phone call, to the occasional get together. It’s okay not to always have the same intensity in a friendship — it means you are both changing and have different priorities.
You might look over at someone you’ve shared a lot with, maybe they’ve been a longstanding friend, maybe they were in your wedding, and maybe right now for whatever reason, you feel like it’s time to let the friendship go a bit. It certainly doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” type of situation, but it can be if that’s what feels right for you.
And if that’s the case, there is nothing wrong with honoring that.
Maybe you feel like you’re the one always reaching out, putting in the effort to get together, and they’ve cancelled on you four times in a row.
Perhaps you sit across from them during lunch on afternoon and realize every time you do get together, they always talk about themselves, never ask you how you are, and if you try and re-direct the conversation, you see their face go blank until the subject returns to them again.
It could be that drama follows them and you’ve tried to help them but they want nothing to do with your advice, even when they specifically ask for it, and you are exhausted and so over wasting your breath.
You may be questioning if the friendship is worth saving, because of course some of them are. Is it more than the two of you going through a rough patch, being at different places on your life, or having a disagreement?
A friend who doesn’t support you or talks behind your back no matter how long you’ve shared a friendship isn’t really a friend — it’s important to take our time and realize when a friendship is worth trying to work our way through it, and realize there’s no saving it.
Listen, you don’t have to save something that doesn’t feel right, so let go of the guilt.
We all know what it feels like to be cared for, to be seen, to be heard. I’m not talking about a perfect friendship here — just like a perfect marriage, there’s no such thing. I’m talking about healthy friendships.
If you let go of someone who doesn’t feel like a friend any longer, what do you really have to lose? Maybe your phone will be a bit quieter. Maybe you won’t have someone to ask about carpools, or to lunch every other Tuesday. And yeah, you will probably feel a void and there will be feelings of loss.
That’s okay. Because when we let go of those who aren’t holding space for us anyway, we are able to make room for people who will meet us where we are.
And once you find your “squad,” you will be able to feel the love of a true friendship and you won’t have the desire to settle for half-ass friendships any longer.
We all grow and change — sometimes that means growing apart from each other. Sometimes that means growing out of friendships. Sometimes that means walking away from a friend who makes you feel like you have to shrink parts of yourself in order to make them feel comfortable.
Stop doing that.
The beautiful thing is, there is someone out there looking to meet you and be your friend and tell you when you are being an asshole and when you are being too hard on yourself.
You are allowed to make space for that person, and for that friendship, by letting go of someone else.