Friendship politics are incredibly delicate. While romantic breakups are painful, at least everyone understands the need for them. Unless you’re polyamorous, you have an understanding that you’ll just have one partner. If that relationship isn’t doing great, you end it. However, with friendships, it’s different. There isn’t a true need – at least not an obvious one – to end a friendship, because it’s not like you must get rid of one friend to make room for another, the way you do with a romantic partner. That could be the reason so many of us hoard old friends to whom we no longer feel close in the same way we hang onto clothes we no longer use: “It’s not harming me to keep them around. Maybe someday they’ll come in handy.”
While it may not seem like you need to sever ties with one friend to make room for another, you actually kind of do. Each of us only has so much emotional and mental bandwidth to utilize, and every person in our lives takes up a little bit of it. Don’t you want to maximize your emotional and mental real estate by filling it with the right people who energize, inspire, and motivate you? A few really close friends are worth so much more than tons of acquaintances, and yet, we often let friendships fade into associations without even realizing it. When that happens, you take a more passive role in those friendships, going through the motions to keep things alive rather than really nurturing the relationship. Here are signs that’s happening in one of your friendships.
You plan, cancel, reschedule, repeat
You talk about making plans with this friend often. You have a cycle, by which you text one another to make a plan, say you need to check your schedules and get back to one another, take a long time to do that, make a plan, cancel it as the date gets closer (for a silly reason), reschedule, cancel that, and eventually, put a pin in it. You can do this over and over again, and suddenly realize you only see each other a few times a year. Maybe less. However, all of that communicating about potentially seeing each other gives the illusion of being in one another’s lives.