Lately, I’ve been seeing new friends walk into my life and some of the ones that I thought were solid life-long connections are surprisingly and sadly beginning to fall away.

I’ve been thinking a lot about those friends. What makes that special bond stick with some and feel like sandpaper with others?

Vibration is part of it. Sometimes, we just aren’t on the same frequency. After a while, we let go because it becomes too painful to hold on. But those friends who travel fluidly along the same waves with us become people we can’t imagine humming on without.

These days, my truest friendships are about meeting each other in a place of love and compassion—holding space for one another as we reinvent and become our greatest selves.

One of the gauges of real flourishing friendship is picking up just where you left off when you haven’t seen one another in a while.

There’s an effortlessness in friendships like that. The connection is free from judgement, worry and stress. There is laughter and love. Sometimes, there’s accountability delivered with love as well; a true friend will call you out in a way that makes you feel supported. A mutually nourishing connection where I hold you and you hold me. We can cry and laugh equally—holding all of the joy and the sorrow of life—like a slip knot. Strong when bonded together but easily untied. That’s the other thing—the ease of friendship. It has to be easy at this stage of my life. If not, it’s just not worth the strength and energy it takes to maintain the status quo. When that happens, It’s time to assess whether it’s time to let go.

Here are the signs I tend to lookout for when it may be time to allow a friend to fall away:

  • The friendship is one sided—you are always doing the listening. There is little or no back and forth in your communication.
  • He or she calls and you don’t have the time to answer. You look down and get the same feeling as you do when you look in your closet and wrinkle your nose at that blouse you hold onto but don’t want to wear.
  • There hasn’t been anything fun you’ve done together in a long time. It’s all about venting or the advice he or she needs from you. You play the role of therapist.
  • Your connection feels like “work.” It no longer nourishes your spirit.
  • There is a feeling of obligation rather than the experience of adventure.
  • You just don’t meet with your minds and hearts any longer. You’ve grown past the territory that you traversed together. You have moved on to higher ground and your friend has altitude sickness. Maybe, they’ll catch up at a later date?

It’s hard to let go of a friend. I’ve never been very good at it. In fact, I really do my best not to ever cut ties completely and to leave the door open. To force the door closed indicates a real betrayal of some kind and, thankfully, that has been rare.

To my friends,

I love you. You are my chosen family. You have been my life vest in stormy seas. You have been a web of love and support. Thank you with all my heart for holding my hand and for being a safe place to land. With true flourishing friends, I am living my most vibrant life—and you are too.

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