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In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I return to the subject of friendship. This time the focus is on when someone, including us, opts to distance ourselves from or cut off a friend. Experiencing this can be incredibly painful. I felt it was crucial to address it from both sides as most people have found themselves grappling with this issue.

For details of my upcoming meetup in San Francisco, scroll to the bottom.

Some nuggets from the episode:

  • As humans, we make assumptions about why someone might react in a certain way, but also about who will be “more bothered” by the end of, for example, a friendship. Someone can have lots of friends, a partner, children, a loving family, and still feel devastated and bereft by the end of a friendship.
  • If a friendship is going through difficulty, one party might decide to do the slow fade. They don’t want to end the friendship, but they also don’t want to continue at the level it was before.
  • Sometimes distancing occurs in friendships, not because there’s a concerted effort or a particular reason, but because life has taken over. The rhythm that was previously established gets disrupted. For whatever reason, it becomes difficult to reestablish that rhythm because of whatever else is going on in their life.

  • I learned a vital lesson from having to distance myself from a friend: The distance that changed it from the friendship that it was before to what it is now was absolutely necessary.

  • Sometimes there isn’t a concrete reason for someone’s distancing. Nothing dramatic has happened, there’s no dislike; not hanging out as much or being in touch to the previous extent just feels right for where they’re at. This is something that most people will struggle with being on the receiving end of because it won’t make sense to us.We’d rather have done something wrong.
  • If you’ve chosen to focus on one particular friendship and they step back or get caught up in their life, you can feel at a loss. Sometimes we’re so hyper-focused on a friendship that we neglect our other friendships or even new opportunities for friendship.
  • It’s worth considering whether distancing or cutting off is our pattern.

  • If we’re in the habit of not addressing issues and always opting to distance, we don’t grow. If each time we’re in a potential conflict we go, “That person’s getting on my nerves…. OK… CUT! I’m just gonna distance myself from them”, we never get to understand why we felt that way because we’re not going to a level of self-enquiry.

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