Victor Frankl once wisely stated that, “When we can no longer change a situation, we must change ourselves.” Indeed, it is a mistake for any human being to wait until New Year’s to adapt and evolve each year. Similarly, if our lives change too quickly throughout the year—or the years—maintaining some friendships can be impossible, and all it takes is for one person’s life to change to throw a wrench into the friendship as a whole. Yet, even if one person or both people work hard at the friendship itself, sometimes it eventually becomes evident that the friendship just wasn’t meant to continue (or can’t).
It’s useful to contemplate the phrase, “Take what you need, give what you can, and forgive the rest.” Even though a friendship might not be what it once was—and never can be again—it may very well be possible to form and maintain a different kind of friendship, or a different kind of relationship. It’s not always necessary to feel a sense of deep loss, even though sometimes this will be inevitable regardless of whether the entire relationship dissolves or not. Please continue reading to gain a better idea of the best steps to take when a friendship begins to transform into something else.
#1: Be grateful and forgiving.
It’s never reasonable to expect people to understand precisely how we feel, or to expect them to act exactly how we want. All human beings have personal challenges and problems to manage on a daily basis, even though many of these are unknown to most people—even best friends. Be sure to recognize the unique positive aspects to every relationship and friendship, and also be sure to forgive as many negative aspects as possible. In other words, value what people have to offer you, and try not to devalue them for what they’re unable to offer you.
#2: Don’t be unreasonably selfless.
Friendships shouldn’t feel as though they are necessary or mandatory, and neither person in a friendship should constantly feel guilty for not wanting to devote more time, energy, or honesty to the other person. Always be reasonable when committing yourself to a friend; oftentimes, if they know that you’re unavailable mentally or emotionally, they won’t want to inconvenience you anyway.
#3: Keep every good memory.
There is no reason to attempt to erase an old friend from your memory or to avoid talking about them or thinking about them altogether. In fact, even if a friendship ends badly, it’s still usually beneficial to think of the good times you had together whenever the thoughts happen to materialize. And if you find that this happens fairly regularly, there’s certainly nothing wrong with contacting the other person no matter how much time has passed since the last time. Just as people’s lives change in ways which make some friendships impossible to maintain, so too can people’s lives—and people themselves—significantly change later on in life which could make a meaningful friendship possible again.
*This content was inspired by an amazing article that can be found here.