Relationships come in all shapes and sizes. Some relationships we’re born into and others we choose for ourselves throughout our lifetime. The decision about which relationships we work to keep going and which ones we let fall by the wayside are ultimately our decisions to make. Although we have the capability to make these decisions they are often not easy to do.
Let’s start with the relationships that are going well. These are our type A relationships. There must be a few people in your life that you feel are amazing and whom you would be lost without. What’s even better is that you know they feel the same way about you. These people are typically our significant others or best friends. We chose them and they chose us. These are the easy relationships. Easy does not mean that you never fight with these people. Easy means you know you can fight with them and tell them how you feel while they do the same. There’s open communication and honesty in these relationships. This is the person you can be angry at and know you’re going to get through the fight. The best part is that when the fight passes the result is that your relationship is even stronger than before. Even though the people who fit in this category are wonderful it is still important to keep them in mind and remember how grateful you are to have these relationships. It helps to express the positive feelings to these people simply because you want to tell them how much they mean to you.
The next category is type B relationships. Here are the people you feel you need to keep in your life but sometimes you are unsure how to do that. This category may include family members or friends you’ve had since a young age. You have loved these people forever but sometimes you don’t like them very much. They might give you their opinion without being asked, they might offend you often by doing so, they might be unpleasant to be around, or they might be a tad bit mean. Some people might have a breaking point where they can’t handle it anymore and cut ties completely. Before getting to that point there are alternative actions you can take. Since you care deeply about these people you probably want to preserve the relationship in one way or another. Express your feelings to these people before a huge argument ensues. You already know what your problem is with the relationship so discuss it now with them. You have every right to tell them your opinion too. If you differ on views and they feel the need to tell you how they’re right then you can calmly explain to them that you see things differently. Recognize their opinion and ask that they recognize yours too. Then end the discussion. There’s no use arguing with someone who sees the color blue when you see the color orange. Allow them to see blue and make sure they know you’re allowed to see orange. If you feel strongly about maintaining this relationship you might have to sometimes be ready for battle. Remind yourself you’re doing this because in the end you rather have this person in your life than not.
Type C relationships are ones where the relationship is not excelling but it is not blatantly failing either. Sometimes this relationship feels like an A and other times they feel like an F. Most likely these relationships involve friends whom you enjoy being around but do not feel the closest attachment too. These relationships may be varied depending on the moment. This is the person you tell your feelings to when they have disappointed you and after multiple back and forth conversations you still feel as though they never truly understand what you’re saying. Since you have fun with them you try not to get too involved and maybe keep the relationship at a more surface level. What’s important about these relationships is watching where they land on the scale and assessing how much it matters to you. If you are overwhelmed with work, family, and close friends this is not the type of relationship you should be focusing on. If you have spare time and want someone to go out and have fun with then give this person a call. Recognize this relationship for what it is, one that wavers and one that may not ever become the type A relationship even though at times you wish it was.
Then there are the relationships that deserve an F. These consist of people who outright treat you badly. Of course there are reasons they have remained a part of your life but there comes a point when you have to let them go. These are the people who you are too afraid to tell them how you feel about anything. It’s okay to say good-bye. Think about all the good and bad you have gotten out of this relationship and then focus your attention on everyone else who fit into the above categories. There is another type of relationship that fits into this category as well. I’m talking about the people who have just cut you off because one incident or argument happened and they could not tolerate being hurt or angry. It is important to think about their point of view and evaluate for yourself what happened. Then let it go. Most likely this is a person who does not even want to think there is a viewpoint other than his or her own. You will constantly be fighting for this relationship and it will wear you down.
No matter what type of relationship we’re talking about it’s important to keep this in mind:
It’s better to forgive someone for who they are rather than fight for who you wish they were.
We can’t change people. This does not mean we can’t express ourselves to others and discuss what’s happening in the relationship. Sometimes we must recognize that our expression of feelings won’t change the situation. Ultimately, we need to accept them for who they are and then make a decision about what category they fall into and how we want to proceed. There is no right or wrong answer. Ending a relationship does not have to be mean spirited and we do not have to hold onto grudges over the relationships we let go. What is most important is that we understand the relationships, which make up our life and focus on having most of them be type A relationships.