Friends without benefits
A reader wonders how to end a friendship
How do I end a friendship? I have a friend who is a nice person but extremely boring. Spending time together is frustrating. We just don’t connect anymore. I find myself nodding along during conversations, but rarely listening. I’ve wanted to end this friendship for a long time but haven’t been able to take action. How can I end a friendship gracefully?
Detach your desire to end the friendship from your assessment that your friend is boring. When you do, closure becomes simple. Here’s why: Labeling your friend a bore allows you to justify letting go. But it also makes you feel bad. Try adjusting your perspective to see things from your friend’s point of view. Like this: Maybe you can’t maintain the friendship because your listening skills are slipping. (Yes, I’m laughing out loud, and hope you are, too.) With the possibility of your own shortcoming in mind, you’re ready for a conversation. Tell your friend you are no longer able to be the confidante he or she needs. Then give yourself permission to accept that friends come and go. That’s the natural rhythm of life. Be grateful for the closeness you once shared, and then let go. Doing so allows someone new to enter your friend’s life, and yours.
I love my job except for one thing—my super-clique-y co-workers. Yesterday three of my female coworkers were standing near my desk. I was walking toward them with another woman I’ll call Jen. The three women said hello to us and then one of them invited Jen to a weekend getaway they were planning in Tahoe. I was standing right there and no one invited me, or even acknowledged my presence other than the initial hello. After a few minutes, I excused myself and went to my desk. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t even enjoy the weekend away, I’m not very social really, but it seems rude to so blatantly not invite me. The worse part is that I can’t get this experience out of my head. I feel really bad about myself. Should I have said something to them? If so, what?
“I’ve already seen Mean Girls so I’m going to hang out at my desk?” No, you shouldn’t have said that. Actually, you handled the situation perfectly. You noticed how the situation made you feel, you excused yourself and went to your desk. You also acknowledged that a weekend slumber party with co-workers is not your idea of a good time. The problem is you also felt rejected. Were you? Well, your co-workers greeted you, but they’re not obligated to invite you to their soiree. And here’s the good news: You’re not obligated to take their behavior personally. Yes, it would have been nice if they weren’t so oblivious. But isn’t it helpful to have a glimpse of their true nature?
Let’s take a peek inside your mind. It’s frustrating enough when something happens that’s emotionally challenging, but looping the story in your head is equally stressful. Instead of allowing your mind to rerun the episode, stop the film. Whenever your thoughts suggest things you could have said or done, start narrating whatever you’re doing in that moment. For example, “I’m driving my car down Fair Oaks Boulevard.” Establishing yourself in the present is healing. Obsessing about your co-workers’ behavior would mean you did something wrong that requires fixing. Not true. You handled a difficult situation very well. Feel good about that.