by Sweta Vikram
IN THE last week of December 2019, I saw several posts on Instagram about people’s reflections about the decade. A majority of the posts mentioned ending of friendships. My own core circle of friends has been the same for over 25 years. We have all grown up in different spaces, but evolved in relatable ways, for which I am eternally grateful. But, like many others, I have seen a few of my friendships fade away. Some were old connections where we had spent time in each other’s homes, while others were fairly new and ended because what kept us together, be it graduate school, a mean boss or wine indulgence, had run its course.
Friendships ending didn’t come easily to me, even when they weren’t good for me. Growing up in an Indian home, I was taught that endings are bad. You are asked to maintain relationships even if you can’t relate to the person. I took endings as a reflection of something I had done wrong. Guilt, remorse and sadness are coded in my DNA. We were never taught about the importance of self-care or the need to build boundaries to protect ourselves from toxic people. We weren’t told that some relationships serve their purpose and are done. Yoga taught me about the importance of compassion towards self and authenticity. Friendships are supposed to be easy; you shouldn’t have to overthink, justify or make excuses. There needs to be implicit trust and mutual respect. Tennessee Williams once wrote, “Friends are God’s way of apologising to us for our families.”
Honestly, the few friendships that have ended in my life didn’t come as a surprise to me. Even though there was no drama, anger, badmouthing or resentment, at least from my end, I could smell the decay in the dynamics. In some cases, the friendship was one-sided where one person was taking up all the space in terms of need or constantly manipulating others or expecting others to lie for them. In other cases, there was nothing nourishing about the time spent together. Be it life mantras, morality barometer or aspirations, we couldn’t relate.
I have learned that endings can lead to beautiful new beginnings. They create a space for new blooms. Sure, it stings when old friendships fall apart. It’s like losing a part of yourself, but growth comes at a cost. Accept that people and their values change with age. We, as individuals, transform based on our experiences – where we live, the people we surround ourselves with, what we do for a living, the kind of partner we date/marry, the passions we follow and so on. All of that impacts who we become.
I’d rather make room for a few quality, dependable friendships than hang on to familiar friendships where there is nothing in common and too many facades. Life is too precious to drag on anything, let alone friendships.
Sweta Vikram is an international speaker, best-selling author of 12 books, and Ayurveda/mind set coach committed to helping people thrive on their own terms. Sweta is a trained yogi, on the board of Fly Female Founders and holds a Master’s in Strategic Communications from Columbia University. Twitter: @SwetaVikram and www.swetavikram.com