Sometimes friendships drift apart (or together) because of the
way your life goes, as I’ve just mentioned in the last Rule.
Sometimes, however, you find that a certain friendship just
doesn’t work any more and it’s time to move on.
Perhaps you’ve changed or maybe your friend has. They might
have fallen in with a bad crowd and you don’t want to be a part
of it, or maybe you’ve taken on responsibilities and matured
while they’re still acting like a teenager. Or they’ve had children
and you haven’t and their new life doesn’t really mean a lot to
you. You don’t understand their worries and you can’t empathize
with the things that matter to them. And probably if they’ve got
a new baby, you can’t fathom why they’d want to spend half
their life preoccupied with someone else’s bodily functions.
Maybe these things are temporary and it’s worth sticking it out.
Perhaps you reckon your friend will realize before long that
these people aren’t worth hanging out with. Or you’re planning
to have children soon and then you’ll really appreciate their
experience. But sometimes you can see that things aren’t going
to change and that this friendship isn’t right for you any more.
Maybe your friend has got religion and keeps preaching at you,
or is into drugs and wants you to try things you’d rather not.
Perhaps they’ve become obsessed with money and you don’t
think in the same terms. Sometimes a friend even turns on you
for reasons of their own.
When this kind of thing starts to influence your friendship, it’s
not a matter of drifting apart without noticing. Sometimes you
need to make a conscious decision to separate yourself from this
T H E R U L E S O F L O V E
Know when to let go
F R I E N D S H I P R U L E S
person. They’re no longer contributing anything positive to your
life, and nor are you to theirs, and that state of affairs is looking
The important thing is to recognize that this is happening. Don’t
keep fighting the tide if it’s not going to have any effect. You
need to let go, move on. It can be upsetting when a good friend-
ship dies, but you’ll only make things worse if you keep trying
to hang on to something that has gone. Far better to make a con-
scious decision to end it.
You may find that you need to talk to the friend to explain that
you feel the friendship isn’t benefiting either of you. Don’t have a
fight with them and tell them they’re being a rubbish friend. Just
let them know that you don’t see any future in spending time
with them. Or you might find it’s easier just to back off and let
the break-up happen naturally. After all, your friend may well be
thinking exactly the same thing as you and not put up much
resistance. Friendship is a two-way thing and generally if it does-
n’t work for one of you, it’s not really working for the other one
either, even if it’s taking one of you longer to see it. There are so
many potential wonderful friends out there, don’t waste your
time or your energy on a friendship that’s over.
DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME
OR YOUR ENERGY ON A
FRIENDSHIP THAT’S OVER