How To Know When To Let Go Of A Relationship By Chelsea Glover-Jordan, LCSW Picture By Canva

By | Apr 22, 2024

Sometimes we hold onto people because they feel comfortable and familiar. Often in those times, we fail to recognize the things that are no longer true within those relational dynamics. Whether you all have been friends since elementary school, you consider them fictive kin because of deeply rooted familial and generational ties, or simply because you once vibed hard with that person at some point in your life. In friendships and situations that resemble them, sometimes we forget to consider and continue to reconsider the evolution of humans, specifically, the evolution of ourselves. Because someone seems familiar, it can be difficult for us to become aware of the emotional labor that may need to be done to evaluate certain people’s positions in your life. Just because someone felt right for you at one point in your life, does not mean they fit into this particular season of your life. People change interests, they dream differently, and they move in different directions from those they were moving in even a year ago. Assessing and continuing to reassess your role in people’s lives and theirs in yours is essential to the growth process. Being intentional in this can intentionally align energies you expose yourself to on a regular basis. If one is not even aware this relational dynamic can and almost often will occur, we can begin to lose sight of evolving goals and directed ambition. In an effort to not remain stagnant in life, it is important to reflect on current relationships and whether or not they emulate mutually beneficial dynamics. Here are a few ways to become more aware of shifts within relational dynamics and if there needs to be something done about it.

1.       You feel drained after interactions with them. If a casual conversation on the phone with a good friend causes you to feel emotionally belabored, then that may be a sign that change needs to occur. It is natural for people to connect over discussing life and struggles that may come with it however, if you consistently feel like each time you speak with this person, they are complaining, never willing to share positive insight or good news, and you leave the conversation feeling worse than you did before the engagement, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship. A “Debbie Downer” is what this type of person can be described as. You have your own problems and to feel forced to have to listen to someone else complain about theirs with no level of reprieve will in fact negatively impact your mood. It is okay to vent and to be vented to however, if the positive, more light conversation show up less and less, this may mean that this person does not align with you values. Those values could resemble peace or gratefulness that are not being honored within the interactions with these types of people.

2.       They don’t seem to celebrate your wins even if you celebrate theirs. Do you feel guilty or uncomfortable with sharing your successes and good news with certain people? If so, why do you think that is? Pay close attention to how others respond to you in your winning seasons. Who shows up to your events? Who shares your social media content? Who asks you about how something went because they were not able to make it? Who do you feel genuinely wants to see you be the best version of you? Some people stick around in your life to hear about and watch the drama unfold for you. They outwardly are cheering for you, but inwardly not wanting you to succeed. This can be for various reasons like jealousy, envy, or even pure malice. Whatever the reason is though, don’t stick around to discover why. Revaluate what feels “off” within these dynamics and follow your intuition.

3.       They don’t have the same type of goals. It can be difficult at times to sustain meaningful friendships and relationships from childhood/adolescence into adulthood. Because people evolve so drastically (or at least are supposed to) throughout their development into adulthood, people can grow apart simply because of their interests and maybe even their access to resources. Some people are okay with staying in their small hometown of 1500 people after graduation, but others want to see the world beyond the confounds of what they grew up in. Both are okay, however, the differences between the two can create emotional distance within a friendship/relationship. People outgrow people because life may take them in very different directions. Oftentimes, this does not change the love and regard they have for each other, it just lessens connection based on unshared experiences and varying beliefs and values.

As you evolve, it is very important to understand your relationships do too. Expecting the same people to show up for you when you had no cares in the world to show up for you in your pursuit of success and wholeness is not always an easy feat. Let’s face it, a lot of people are not meant to hold the same place in your life for as long as you know them. This is okay. What is not okay is you hindering yourself mentally and emotionally to continue to commit to a person or situation that is not aligned with who you are at any given moment. Take the time to do a relational audit and see what you need more of, less of, or an evolved version of.


About The Author

3 Roads, a group private practice is owned by clinical social worker and therapist, Chelsea Glover-Jordan based out of Maryland and Washington D.C. Chelsea is dedicated to helping underserved populations, black women in particular. With a niche in maternal health, anxiety, and depression, Chelsea works hard to meet clients where they are. To Chelsea, self-care is super important and that is one thing she encourages with anyone she encounters. She implements mindfulness exercises and interventions such as CBT, DBT and EMDR to help clients in their therapeutic journeys. She considers herself a spiritual being who is always on a journey to balance all 7 of her chakras.

3 Roads was established because she wanted to make a career out of something she loves doing, helping people. She sees so much beauty in the art of living to one’s full potential and on her journey to enlightened spirituality, she hopes that her narrative and experiences can help others.



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