When enough is enough (in all relationships)

We are social beings; no matter how much we tell ourselves that we prefer to be alone. Though, the fact that we are “social animals” doesn’t mean that we have a built-in guide to be good at relationships. While we are social beings, we are also innately selfish and that can clash with our management of good relations (whether it be with friends; parents; children; a significant other or work colleagues). 

Relationships are a two-way street; there needs to be benefits for each party. One party may benefit more than the other but ultimately we need to know that we are getting some kind of value from relationships. 

I’ve found out recently that it is difficult to make friends sometimes. Most of my friends you could say I acquired organically through school (high school and university) and maybe even work. I didn’t have to work very hard to cultivate these relationships. They just happened. But, when I went to study abroad that changed things a bit. I knew I needed friends but had no idea who to approach or how to approach them. Like, how do you even tell someone you want to be your friend? I was totally lost, and going through this new “process” of creating friendships made me appreciate all my existing relationships. 

We need meaningful relationships, but when is it okay to walk away?

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Lori Deschene in this piece talks about the black, white and grey of relationships. The article outlines that we usually want to see either black or white - yes or no; but that we’re missing out on connections when we are not also thinking about the grey area. The fact that humans can make mistakes and can change. Where it becomes tricky though is knowing how much of this “grey area” to allow; will you just end up making excuses constantly? 

There are three (not so) little red flags she warns us to look out for in any relationship:

  • If their actions frequently don’t match their words: they do the opposite of what they say, all the time.

  • If you frequently make excuses for them (to yourself and to others): you’re constantly apologizing for their behaviour.

  • If they make you feel like their actions are your fault: you made them react this way.

Now, while these may be simple things that we face in relationships everyday we have to trust ourselves to know when we’ve made it to a point where the relationships is no longer valuable to us and has become a burden. 

You have to listen to that voice that tells you it’s not okay to be treated like this; the voice that tells you that you are no longer happy; the voice that tells you that walking away is difficult, but necessary. The voice that tells you that you deserve to be happy; that you deserve more. 

In this article, Rania Naim outlines some signs that it is time to let a relationship go; I found the following complimentary to the red flags Lori told us to watch out for:

  • You keep living in the past: reminiscing about happy times because you’re presently not making any happy memories in this relationship.

  • You overextend and never feel appreciated: the relationship has become one-sided you’re doing everything to satisfy the other party and neglecting your own happiness.

You will know when things aren’t going right and when they’re not. You need to determine whether it is more valuable to you to walk away or to try and repair the relationship.