People come and go in our lives. We like to think there’s a reason for the connections we make, the relationships we enjoy.

When to Let People Go

Our friends touch us in many ways but when that way is bad its time to let those people go. But sometimes, they touch us in ways that are detrimental to our spirits. Or maybe they have lasted long beyond their natural time. Maybe some relationships are meant to last forever and others have expiration dates.

We are taught that we should be persistent. We should never give up. We feel we must be brave enough to tough it out when relationships get rocky, when, in fact, maybe it’s braver to let go and move on. Maybe it takes more courage to make a change and embrace the unknown. Sometimes we hold on for fear of not finding someone else. But in holding on, we may actually be impeding our efforts for finding someone who is better suited to us.

We are taught to make new friends and keep the old. That’s all well and good until the old hurt us in some way. When someone damages our spirit, hinders our happiness or even threatens our health, it’s time to call it a day. Here are some examples of people you may need to let go:

1. One-Sided Susie

She used to connect with you in meaningful ways, and you really admire her wit and intelligence. You have always known she was a bit lazy, but you overlooked it. Through the years, though, you have noticed that you are always the one to initiate the call, send the birthday card, ask to meet for lunch. She seems genuinely delighted to see you, but she never makes an effort. And this just gets old. You’re not angry; you’re just growing a bit apathetic about this friendship. You connect less and less frequently, and she still doesn’t pick up the slack. Finally, it’s time to let go.

2. Flip-Flop Freddie

You thought you knew where you stood with him. He professed to really like you—maybe love you. But he makes a little snide remark about your housekeeping in the company of friends. Or he betrays a secret you were sure he should have known enough to keep to himself. Then he tries to make it up to you with some thoughtful gesture, which delights you until he betrays your trust again. You need someone with whom you can share your deepest thoughts, and Freddie isn’t it.

3. Mary Quite Contrary

You thought you had some basis for a friendship, but as you get to know Mary better, you realize you have very little in common. Worst of all, some of her philosophies are offensive to you. Maybe she’s a bigot. Maybe she’s a snob. Maybe she’s a mean spirited gossip. You realize that there’s very little you agree upon. Some people are worth some disagreement—you can’t agree on everything with everybody. But is Mary worth it? If not, it’s time to get out of the relationship.

4. Toxic Tom

Your relationship with Tom has evolved over time from making you happy to making you miserable. At some point he started to belittle you in front of friends. You feel constantly on guard that he’ll embarrass you. He doesn’t seem to care about you and goes about in his own life without any thought or regard for you or your feelings. It should be a no-brainer to walk away from this negative person, but a Toxic Tom can make you believe you don’t deserve better. He can make you question your own worth. Pretty soon you start to believe you couldn’t find anyone better. You may need some professional help to find the strength to walk away from Toxic Tom, but that’s exactly what you need to do.

5. Daphne Drifter

Stuff happens. People grow and change. And sometimes that means they grow apart from you. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just that you want different things and have new interests that don’t include the other person. You may have the instinct to cling on to this person long after you’ve really drifted apart. You may even try to restore the relationship to its former glory. But this requires a lot of energy to bring back something that may have never actually been there to begin with. Sometimes it’s the courageous thing to recognize reality and let this person go.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: Contact Us