Grow into a better equation in a relationship but to fit into your friend or partner’s version of whom you should be and not how it should be.
It is my personal experience that to continue with a friendship or relationship with a negative person — who either blames you, becomes aggressive at the rise of any miscommunication, can never control themselves when excited or agitated and generally be the first one to misunderstand (an issue) rather than make an effort to understand — is a losing proposition.
With a slew of only good friendships and equations behind me, I find it hard to cut off a friendship chord easily even when a relationship is not going positively. Part of me always works at it to salvage it, thinking it a challenge in working things and not copping out. But the smarter way to unclutter life is to weed out these ‘toxic relationships’. Just like you edit your wardrobe and storage, with every year of growing older, you need to edit life fearlessly in order to become lighter and free up time for life investing pursuits.
So what are toxic relationships and how do you identify one? You definitely don’t want to give up on a friendship which might be encountering minor hiccups in long innings. Minor rapids are okay in long-term friendships, but when but you feel depleted every time you spend moments with your friend or partner; when you feel like you're defending yourself or justifying yourself too often; when there is that sense of losing who you are in trying to change too much for a friend or partner, then it’s time to relook at the equation and gear to move out and away.
One has to realise that a friend or a lover is not an ‘asset’ but a part of life and of shared experiences which must be happy fulfilling ones, for the most part. When it is no longer about mutual caring, upping the game in terms of growth and learning with each other, or becoming better individuals then let go.
Grow into a better equation in a relationship but to fit into your friend or partner’s version of whom you should be and not how it should be. When a friend looks for reasons to catch you out or blame you, when it is no longer about finding reasons to laugh and share but about catching out each other; when you find that more often than not a friend is fussy, resentful, exacting, critical and complaining, have the courage to let go.
Letting go is not easy, especially when you’re a committed friend or lover. You reproach yourself at giving up. You feel a lacuna before it’s even happened. You feel you will lose out and feel that sense of fear. I’ve realised that over time that there is nothing wrong with admitting to yourself that a relationship is done with and you should be moving on big time.
Today, I let go of a sour-bitter girl whose general peevishness I’d overlooked very consciously — always making excuses for her. It’s PMS, I would tell myself. She’s dieting too hard, maybe I should have called her earlier and other such escapist excuses for not taking a stand and walking out. A few hours before penning down this article, I finally took the plunge and told Preeti where she gets off.
We were gyming together. I walked out and away at her last tantrum today, decided upon closing that door forever. As I arrived up into the locker room of the gym, a sunny warm friend walked in. The timing was prophetic — it was like the universe telling me that my decision should have been made a year ago than drag it out with vindications and the desire and hope to work it. Two things became clear to me at this landmark moment. Firstly, the well-known saying is true, that if you don’t close one door another doesn’t open.
Secondly, that there are so many lovely people out there and we just have to be picky and choosy about whom we invite into our hearts and homes. It is common to err, given the plethora of choice around, but then correct your mistake before making long-term investments into relationships. Because that’s what they are. Friendships and relationships involve time, effort and investment.
The writer is a columnist, designer and brand consultant. Mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org