Ending a friendship….

by Rod Smith

“Is it acceptable to end a friendship and to tell someone you don’t want to see them anymore? I am not talking about a romantic relationship. I am talking about a lifetime ‘friendship’ that has always been one-sided, always been draining for me, and I end up feeling like I am being used. Please give me permission to make a break. My family is full of distorted loyalties.” (Transcribed with permission from conversation)

Time to negotiate...

Time to negotiate...

Of course you may end a “friendship” that has held little reward for you. It is quite acceptable to desire friendship to be a two-way street. What might stimulate growth for you, and possibly for your friend, would be a conversation, or a series of conversations, where you are able to let this person “see” your experience.

Of course there are situations where one party does all the giving (helping a friend through an illness, a loss, a divorce) and the other does all the receiving, but these periods ought to be short-lived.

If any adult-to-adult relationship it is not mutual, respectful, and equal, some negotiation is required – and sometimes, even termination might be necessary.

Scotland

Scotland

Yes, it is acceptable to end a friendship, romantic or otherwise. It is not only acceptable, it is sometimes necessary to do so, especially when you feel used and drained. I want to ask however, why have you stayed so long? You say that your family is full of distorted loyalties; can you describe the distortions, and then give yourself permission not to follow them? You giving yourself permission is much more powerful and life-changing in the long run than someone else permitting you. What else is there that distinguishes you from your family? The more you can define yourself, your values, your likes and dislikes, the less others will be able to dictate how you do life. Being different from family, and yet staying in relationship with them is hard work; you have lived their way until now, but it sounds like some healthy change is on the way.

Midwest, USA

Midwest, USA

A friendship by definition is not one sided. It is built on a mutual appreciation and a sharing of life. It is important to enjoy the company of a friend, help when needed and get support in the struggles you are going through. It doesn’t seem like this is a friendship where both of you are benefiting. Since it has been a lifetime ‘friendship’ you may want to talk about it before you end it abruptly. Honesty is always the best solution as it allows open communication and the ability for each party to take ownership of their role in the ‘friendship’. If you are able to do this you may find that you learn new things about yourself and create opportunities for change. Remember you choose your friends.

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