As you are considering reorganizing your closet, probably every weekend or once in a month, and it could also be an annual exercise, you may also like to take a closer look at the people in your life and see if those relationships could need some pruning.
In a viral tweet, Twitter user @pariahcar3y shared the four-point checklist she uses when assessing if a relationship is worth holding on to.
These four points look potent and may be useful as a friendship audit of sorts.
My ‘spring cleaning’ relationships q’s:
1. would we still have a good relationship if i didn’t reach out first?
2. how do i feel after we hang out?
3. have I established healthy boundaries with you? if so, do you respect them?
4. how do we show up for each other? is it balanced?
Psychologist Andrea Bonior, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, noted that, although these questions are a strong starting point, when answering them you should think about the relationship in a larger context.
Consider why this person might be a subpar friend at this time — perhaps because of something happening in his or her personal life — while also taking your history with them into account.
“Sometimes a friend may be going through a difficult phase — for instance, after the death of a parent — or a transition — for instance, having a child. Or even just going through depression or anxiety issues that prevent them from being there for you,” Bonior said.
“So, even if the friendship seems a little off-balanced, it’s important to have a distinction between what might be a brief, understandable phase where you should still hang in there for the person versus a longer-term issue that means that the friendship may not be a good fit for you.”
If you have a friend who is, indeed, a negative or toxic force in your life, how do you “break up” with them, so to speak? We asked experts to share their advice.
How to know if you should end a friendship
The simple fact is that not all friendships are meant to last forever, and that’s perfectly fine. So no one is suggesting you casually discard friends over minor slights or squabbles. But you can give yourself permission to move on from certain people when the relationship no longer serves you.
“You don’t need to stay friends with anyone who isn’t walking the same path as you or lifting you up while you’re striving to accomplish your goals,” therapist Deborah Duley said.
Outgrowing each other is a normal and natural progression as we continue to grow and change as people.
I bet you don’t want to stay friends with anyone who isn’t walking the same path as you or lifting you up while you’re striving to accomplish your goals. It’s draining.
If a friend is self-absorbed and demanding of your time, attention and support but doesn’t offer the same in return, it might be an indication that it’s time to shift your attention elsewhere.
Another sign? when you start feeling exhausted by the idea of just hanging out, or you dread seeing them when you used to feel excited. Maybe they’re engaging in behaviors that are against your moral compass and you’re starting to wonder if you even want to be friends with someone who does this.
How to break things off with a friend
When ending a romantic relationship, a slow fade is generally regarded as a callous move. But psychologists say it may be permissible in the context of a friendship.
If you want to repair the relationship, then airing your grievances makes sense. Otherwise, don’t feel like you need to give specific reasons as to why you’re not making an effort to spend time together anymore.
However, if this person is a close friend and you feel like you owe them an explanation, or if you have unresolved feelings you want to voice, you may fix a hangout to talk things out.
Just let them know that you’re feeling you have outgrown each other and it’s better for everyone if you just stay in touch periodically. In this case you must be prepared that they might feel hurt or angry, so having a script in your mind about how to handle that will help you navigate it.
And keep in mind that a slow fade is a lot different from suddenly cutting off contact with this person — effectively ghosting them.
Experts advise that you don’t leave the person hanging if they don’t seem to be backing off as well. In that case, you owe it to them to have a more direct (if awkward!) conversation about how you see your life moving in a different direction.