Monday, June 9, 2008

Letting Go Of Dysfunctional Relationships

Have you ever wondered whether or not to remain friends with certain people?

Well, you may know that I DO maintain a huge network of friends and associates. My circle of closest friends and associates is held to a short-list of desired traits and qualities. I only keep people in that circle who support certain principles. If a friend starts to exhibit less-desired traits and qualities, or fails to support these principles, after a period of prolonged and sustained behavior that no longer fits my list, I cut them out of my life.

It may seem harshly simple, but I view it quite a bit like how sales leaders view their sales team: If you keep dead weight on the tree, it is difficult to bear healthy fruit. I've seen sales managers fire salespeople who weren't performing for months on end because they felt those salespeople would hinder the performance of the team. It is much the same with our interpersonal relationships.

Do you have a list of traits and standards for your inner circle?

My own list of desires attributes, traits and standards for my friendship circle includes the following guidelines:

1. They support my highest good.
2. I can support their highest good.
3. They add value to my life and I add value to theirs.
4. They posses values I seek: generally loving, artistic, fun, smart, and spiritually healthy.
5. They maintain healthy communication with me.
6. They are loving, positive, and generally supportive and happy to be with me.

There are times when certain friends fail to stop meeting this list. When this happens, I take proactive steps to 86 the friend who doesn't meet my standards. I think this is a positive thing to do. Now, don't get me wrong. I don't usually write them "Hey, you're not my friend anymore." I only do that when someone had communicated they'd "always be there" but then made a consistent practice of being rather rude to me, and I wanted to make it clear that their behavior was unacceptable as a friend. Otherwise, I just move on.

A computer crash and cell phone hard reset dump - a gift from angels?

If you ever have a problem with your computer or cell phone, this is actually an excellent time to review your criteria for friendships and make sure your inner circle is healthy and supporting you the best you deserve.

I've recently had my cell phone crash and a computer virus destroy my database of contacts on my cell phone. I had the option to reload the cell phone with all my old numbers, but chose instead only to put in the current "active" friends with whom I've spoken and who met my list of standards over the past year. This created a much shorter cell phone database directory and allowed much more space for new growth in friendships.

Questions to ponder regarding your own inner circle of friendships:

Have you recently performed housecleaning on your Rolodex of closest friends?
Are any relationships clinging to you that block new love?
Are all of your friendships supporting your highest good?
Can you support their highest good?
Are they communicating in a healthy way with you?
Are they exhibiting the traits you wish to emulate and attract in your life?
Are they all loving, positive, and generally supportive and happy to be with you?

If not, consider scrubbing them out of your database and creating room in your life for people who bring about "yes" answers to these questions. Perhaps you need to create your own list of attributes, traits, and standards for your own friendships. I encourage you to do so.

Now, when releasing someone who no longer supports you the way you prefer, always show love, gratitude, and respect for them in parting ways. If you don't want the confrontation, just stop calling, sending text or instant messages, emailing, or visiting - it sends a strong message they will likely understand. When friends stop calling me or returning my emails, I remove them from my database of inner friendship circle. I'm sure others would do that with you, too. There is no way to maintain a relationship without healthy, regular, two-way interaction.

You will find that by maintaining a healthy inner circle of friends that you will produce more "fruit" in your interactions with people in your life. Always be grateful for the inner circle of friends who love and support you. Maintain a healthy "friendship tree" and you'll bear more healthy fruit from your relationships year after year.

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