Letting go of a special person or relationship in your life can be hard. But staying in a friendship or relationship that isn’t working can be even harder.
Breaking up and leaving that person behind can be an extremely difficult and confusing decision. You may second guess if you should really cut your ties, or if you should give them another chance. If the relationship has been hurtful, you may even question your own feelings and wonder if you’re being “too difficult”.
The truth is, it is entirely okay to let people go, and this can even be a natural part of your own growth and progress. Someone who you were compatible with at one point in your life may not be compatible with you anymore, especially as you continue learning about yourself and what you need.
But if you’re still not sure if it’s time to let them go, here are five signs to look for:
1. They disrespect your boundaries
Boundaries are necessary for healthy relationships with anyone and everyone: romantic partners, first dates, parents, friends… And a relationship where your boundaries aren’t respected is a relationship worth letting go of.
There’s a simple process for setting boundaries. First, decide what you aren’t comfortable with or can’t tolerate. Then, share this with the other person and explain where you draw the line. Clearly state what actions or conditions you’re not okay with, and make a request for what you do prefer. If the other person is unable to respect your boundary and request, and especially if they pressure you to change your boundaries or to do things you don’t want to do, the relationship is better left in the past.
2. You feel drained after being with them
Ask yourself: is my relationship giving me energy or draining it? If you consistently find yourself feeling mentally exhausted after spending time with someone, consider letting them go.
By contrast, think of your best, most trusted friends and people in your life. How do you feel after being with them? Chances are, you feel happier, lighter, and more energized. Prioritize people who energize and inspire you. When you spend time with people who drain you, on the other hand, you have less energy and vibrancy for the things that matter most to you. So remember, choose the people who energize you, and let go of those who drain your energy.
3. Your values aren’t aligned
Values are crucial in guiding us to make better decisions and live the lives we truly want. And having someone by your side who supports this is important, too. [Suggested Read: Why You’re Dating the Wrong People]
For example, if one of your key values is generosity, while your friend couldn’t care less about giving back, it can become extremely hard to see eye-to-eye. And this is especially true when those clashing values directly impact the relationship. If one person is giving to the other, while the other simply takes advantage of their generosity, this can create a toxic pattern, where each person is guided towards entirely different values and never meeting in the middle.
This isn’t to say that you must share all the same values as the people in your life. But it’s important to be able to respect and make space for each other’s values. If you’re struggling to do that with someone in your life, it might be time to let go.
4. The relationship is one-sided
A relationship takes two people. But if only one is invested in it, it’s probably best to end it now.
There are multiple reasons why one-sided relationships might occur, and perhaps the most concerning are those based on different priorities. When one person truly isn’t that committed to the relationship, the relationship can feel very unfulfilling and painful for the other. If you realize that you have a relationship where one person prioritizes the relationship, while the other doesn’t, now may be a good time to let go.
5. Their words and actions don’t match
Sometimes, we continue relationships with people because they say what we want to hear – yet in reality, they never follow through. It can be easy to get caught up in the promises, well-intentioned words, and compliments. But the truth is, words are not enough to build a healthy friendship or relationship.
Instead, people’s actions – at least usually – should match what they say. If you see a pattern of someone saying something, and then doing something totally different, let go. At best, this person may just not be clear on who they are or what they want, and they may need time on their own to figure this out. At worst, their empty words may be manipulative and intentionally dishonest. Either way, it’s time to let go.