Almost exactly a year ago, I reached out to someone I never thought I would speak to again. This person was my best friend throughout high school. They had been there for some of the most fundamental moments of my life. Yet, the incompatibility of our paths after graduation drove us apart. So, after three years of leading completely separate lives, I sent them a message. I didn’t expect a response- I just needed them to know I had no bad feelings towards them. I acknowledged my faults in the situation and told them that, beyond anything, I hoped they were doing well. The closure I got from simply relaying that was cathartic, and it turned out to be exactly what I needed at the moment. 

We cut people off when they no longer add value to our lives, a principle we are all well aware of. There are some people who do nothing but bring us down by being manipulative and toxic. , those are not people that deserve our time and effort. ,  In this case, the best thing to do is to completely separate ourselves from people who harm us. However, there is a distinction between someone who is truly toxic and someone we don’t see eye to eye with at a given moment. 

Meaningful relationships take work. At times, they can be messy, complicated, and challenging. This does not mean we have to give up. Sometimes, working through our differences can lead to more growth rather than turning away from a difficult conversation.

The people who impact us most deeply are those that push us to consider other perspectives. Those who reason differently than we do allow us to expand our own thinking. After all, if we only surrounded ourselves with people who agree with everything we do, we would never challenge ourselves to grow as individuals. This allows us to consider the ways in which those close to us naturally handle situations contrast with how we instinctively react. 

I am someone who prefers confrontation, rather than leaving things unsaid or waiting for them to settle. Someone like my friend, on the other hand, does not tend to do well with confrontation and is often intimidated by it. This can create issues with communicating effectively. The difficulty in trying to adapt to unfamiliar communication styles t can discourage us from trying. 

In my case, this was exactly what happened. We were unable to find a way to actually express what we were feeling, so we simply stopped trying. I convinced myself that our relationship was toxic, and that cutting this person off was for the best. When I took the time to reflect, I realized that this was just something I told myself because I was unwilling to admit my own faults. My friend brought so much more into my life, surpassing anything we disagreed over. When I actually sat down and thought about it, I realized that I wanted to get rid of the weight of leaving things unsettled. Releasing something like that from my conscience made me feel so much better than holding on to any negative feelings possibly could.

Of course, there are instances in which the best thing to do is cut someone off completely. It is important to be able to distinguish between people who drag us down, and those that may just be taking us out of our comfort zones. When we are uncomfortable, we often want to escape situations as quickly as possible. It may be harder to actually confront the problem than it is to just let it disappear. However, confronting it and learning from it may be the most rewarding for ourselves.

My friend and I ended up getting coffee and catching up, and it was like nothing had changed. We were able to acknowledge how much we evolved in the past few years, and still talk with the comfort of having known one another for so long. Putting my pride aside and reaching out made me realize that cutting someone off can sometimes be a way to avoid the discomfort that accompanies self-reflection when you are actually in need of the opposite.


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