When Relationships Run Their Course

Ugh!  Truth told, today’s topic makes me a touch uncomfortable.  Generally, we enter relationships – both personal and professional – for the long-haul, not actively anticipating their demise.  But, let’s face it, from time-to-time, relationships simply run their course.

In some cases, a cataclysmic event takes place – a perceived slight, some sort of sabotage, a broken confidence, a simple misunderstanding.  In other cases, we just move on – perhaps one or the other person changes jobs or companies, moves to a new city, gets involved in other activities, has overwhelming personal obligations… the list goes on.  In still other cases, there is no great reason to pinpoint for the loss of interaction – the relationship just fizzles out.

Believe me, I’m not advocating for abandoning relationships – far from it!  But, I do think it makes sense to understand that, in certain situations, when relationships come to a sensible conclusion, it may just be time to let them go.  We don’t always know the reason why a relationship runs out of steam – whatever you do, don’t conjure up falsehoods about what went wrong.  And, definitely, use caution!  There is no need to burn a bridge – you never know if the relationship may come back around someday.

Take these ideas into consideration:

  • Think happy, not sad. Whatever happened between the two of you, life is short.  Try to remember the good times you had, the positive interactions, the times your contact was particularly helpful.  By recalling the individual fondly and letting go of grudges, you will likely continue to benefit from the early days of the relationship and certainly from lessons learned along the way.
  • Always say nice things. Irrespective of the way things were left, when your former friend’s name comes up, always be positive (or, never be negative… whichever works for you).  Don’t have anything nice to say?  Then don’t say anything at all.  Do have something nice to say?  Be an advocate for him/her.
  • Be open to reconnecting. If you run into your former contact, receive a call or email from them out of the blue or are reintroduced by another mutual friend, be open to the idea of welcoming him/her back into your life.  You may not do business together or write him/her a letter of recommendation, but you never know if there might be an opportunity to once again add value to one another’s life.

  • Become “holiday card friends.” Over the years, I have had good, strong relationships lose steam simply because our personal or professional endeavors shifted.  That said, in many cases, I want to maintain some semblance of contact with the individuals.  As such, we have become “holiday card friends,” meaning that we send one another birthday or holiday greetings to simply say “hello” and remind the person that they still matter!
  • Don’t wait to be invited back. As old friends go, if you have occasion to reach out to say hello, to share information, to ask for a favor, etc., you are more likely to be welcomed back into the fold than completely shut out.  So, don’t delay!  No need to wait for a formal invitation to re-engage.  Instead, simply make contact and anticipate the best!

Do you have a story to share of friendship either lost or rekindled?  The CLC Community could benefit from your insight.  Please take a moment to comment at CoffeeLunchCoffee.com.

2 thoughts to “When Relationships Run Their Course”

  1. You never know how life’s journey may create a reconnection in the future. Keep doors open, and never burn a bridge. The longer I’m in business, the more reconnections I have made. Its okay to let some relationships slide to the very back burner. Just don’t push them over the edge and lose them behind the stove.

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