I feel like this wedding is putting me through a reality of life crash course. I am learning valuable life lessons all at once. And, it’s great. But, it’s also a lot.
I have been learning to edit my life ruthlessly. Let me tell you what I mean…
I am letting go of “friendships” and being highly aware of how I’m spending my energy, physically but mostly mentally. This involves massively purging my social media channels and letting go of people I thought I was more than acquaintances with.
I have had trouble with friendships my entire life. Over the years, I have done a lot of work to recognize and take responsibility for the ways I haven’t been the best friend to people. My own mental health journey had me so wrapped up in my own story, I wasn’t able to show up for my friends as I should have. While this is the case with some friendships, there are other instances where the effort I was putting into relationships wasn’t reciprocated.
After high school, I essentially took a friend break. I had no close friends. I felt incredibly burnt from the disappointment I was facing with friends and had a lot of personal work to do. I was prone to getting emotionally invested in people, and this leads to a lot of upset. I needed a break to work through not only how I was showing up in these relationships, but to also recover from the pain some of these friendships caused.
After four years of this, Riley came into the picture. I believe one of the main reasons I was naturally drawn to Riley was because of his ease in social situations. He is a very social person. He loves to do things with friends. At first, I hated it. Now? I’m the one who’s asking what we’re doing that night and with who. I don’t know what happened, it was like a switch flipped and all of a sudden I loved spending time with other people. As a couple, we love to meet up for dinner and drinks (allll the virgin drinks for me) with friends of Riley’s who then go out afterward. We love it because we love food but also enjoy having early nights. It’s the best of both worlds. With the warmer weather, we also love to have people over bike rides and board games.
I had started opening myself up to meeting new people and fostering deeper friendships, outside of Riley and I’s relationship. While I have a wonderful group of girlfriends now, the wedding planning has been eye-opening for me. I realize where I sit with some of the people I have mentally labeled as friends. And, it’s definitely not in their friend category, even though Facebook says we’re friends. Or, in some situations, they consider us friends, but they’re not making an effort to show up for that friendship.
This blog post isn’t about complaining that no one likes me. We’re adults. People have every right not to want to be my friend. We’re all busy. We have our own stories going on. That’s totally okay. That being said, knowing my tendency to be easily hurt in friendships, I’m taking this as an opportunity to be ruthless in who I consider being apart of my life and who I want to give my mental energy to.
That’s an important thing to note… Riley and I talk about this all of the time. He’s noticing friendships falling away, too. But, he’s not concerned because he’s not seeing these people often in the first place. But, it’s not just about your physical energy. You can be expelling mental energy towards these friendships, too.
I can’t even count the number of people I’m supposed to be grabbing coffee or lunch with. When they fall through, I mentally keep track of that. When I’m told that someone wants to go for coffee with me, I hold onto that, and it takes up mental space. Again, I’m trying to work on showing up better in relationships, and that requires mental work to be self-aware.
So, what am I doing about it?
While a lot of this ruthlessness involves mentally cutting ties and letting go of expectations, some outer boundaries are being set, too. There’s a lot of social media list purging. While I don’t spend a lot of time on my feed, if we’re not friends, I don’t want to take up the energy of seeing your posts mentally. This isn’t mean or selfish. You’re not friends with this person, so it doesn’t make sense to spend time scrolling through their feed. To this, Riley would say that it’s not a lot of energy. And sure, you’re right. But that’s why I call this RUTHLESSLY editing my life. I could easily get away with keeping people on my friendship and not thinking much about that. But, there is something to doing something physically to let go of that friendship.
With some friendships, your hurt feelings may be worth bringing up. That is to say, if you’re looking to save the friendship. This isn’t to say you’re going to blow up at the person. Or blame them for all of the feelings you’re experiencing. It’s important to explore why you’re having such a strong reaction to the way they’re treating you in the first place. But, in some situation, it can be helpful to let this person know that you’re hurt by them bailing or not showing up. They may not even know that’s what’s happening. True friendships foster an atmosphere of growth. But, for that to happen, it’s important not to attack. And it’s important to only engage in those conversations if you’re actually looking to WORK THROUGH the situation. It helps no one to start a fight simply.
When it comes to mentally letting go of these friendships, expectations really need to be mentioned. Expectations essentially ruin life. We put expectations our partner, family, those we work with, friends and ourselves. Expectations often end in disappointment. So, the best way to avoid that disappointment? Stop putting expectations on people, and yourself. While some expectations should remain (that you are respected, mentally, physically and emotionally), expecting people to show up in a certain way is hard. Throughout this process. When I have been disappointed, I take the time to reflect on the expectations I put on these friendships in the first place. From that, I have acknowledged my role in this and then moved on to letting go of the expectations, and in some case, the relationship.
Another part of letting go of these relationships is taking the time to recognize the relationships that you do have. This wedding process has shown me where I stand with ALL of my relationships, including those who actually value our friendship. It’s been amazing to see how incredible the people in my life are and how I can trust these friends to show up for me. I feel so fortunate to be able to celebrate with these incredibly humans, and that’s what I am actively choosing to focus on moving forward.
Here’s to a few of those incredible people…
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