Last weekend, my friend Susan* discovered she had lost some of her friends. Somehow, over the past 12 months, as she became absorbed more and more in her purpose and life in general, her friends began to pull away. Then over the weekend, Susan experienced a ‘friend break-up’.
‘It would be great if you could write a blog about how to deal with that!’ she said. So here it is.
Susan has done a lot over the past year or so. She’s had a baby, established a not-for-profit and organised fundraising events that delivered valuable and much-needed outcomes for those in need. Put simply, she’s been following her heart and purpose to make the world a better place.
Unfortunately, some friends have decided not to support Susan’s journey. For whatever reason, they never ask what she’s up to, they don’t support her fundraising events and they don’t care about the path she has chosen. They don’t get it and now deliberately isolate her at social events. The situation felt like schoolyard bullying and, as she felt hurt by their behaviour, Susan decided to ask them what was going on.
Their reaction wasn’t positive and included statements like ‘All you ever talk about is you’, ‘You’re never free when we want to see you’ and ‘You didn’t come to my party.’
Some of her friends’ complaints stretched back to August last year. But when Susan asked, ‘Why didn’t you say something back then?’ they had no response.
Now, while Susan has been engrossed in various activities and could probably do with more ‘balance ‘in her life generally, she definitely hasn’t been making it all about her. She’s been juggling a baby, work and trying to make the world a better place in the only way she knows how. Susan has been busy but also made an effort to stay in touch with her friends. However, her commitments meant she wasn’t as available as she used to be. Meanwhile, her friends aren’t interested in what she’s doing and want her to be the way she was before.
But Susan isn’t that person anymore and she can’t go back.
‘What do I do?’ she asked with tears in her eyes. ‘I’m doing my best but they’re not interested. They don’t want to know.’
Breaking up with friends is hard but we can’t stay in one place just to make other people comfortable. In life there will be moments when you realise you must leave some people behind. Life is like that. Some people will always be in our lives, others will stay only for a certain period of time before going their own way. Then there are others who will leave and return when the time is right. That’s just how our soul contracts with each other work. We support and learn from each other, then move on when the contract is done (read Sacred Contracts by Caroline Myss if you’d like to know more about this).
Our relationships, platonic, familial and romantic, do require work and commitment. However, sometimes you are simply moving in a different direction and must let go. And that’s okay.
My advice to Susan was to seek out those friends who support her journey; the ones who ‘get’ what she’s trying to do.
‘Seek out the ones who help you feel lightness in your soul and encourage you to live the life your dream of,’ I said. ‘What would that feel like?’ Susan’s smile was all the answer I needed and I felt her spirit lift at the thought.
Some people are only in our lives for a season. Others will remain connected over long periods to teach us lessons or support only certain parts of our lives. And then others will return when we believe the connection is broken, because that too is what’s needed. The challenge is to protect our hearts and know it’s okay to let go when the contract is done.
*Names changed and story published with Susan’s approval.
If you’d like to me to respond to one of your questions, please comment on my blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org