You may think it’s a bad thing to grow apart from some of your relatives and friends, but you should stop feeling this way because it’s natural to grow apart from some of them. As time passes, you can begin to see differences between some of your relatives and friends that are not just simple differences but are differences that are incompatible with the core values and principles that define you. While you may have tolerated things they have done in the past that are conflicting with the core values and principles that define you, time may unveil to you that you need to separate from them. I would argue that you made a serious mistake in tolerating them in the first place and never should just simply tolerate people who you claim you love. However, we all do make mistakes and the best thing we can do is acknowledge our mistakes, learn from them, move on, and progress.
Although you may disagree with people on many political, social, cultural, and economic issues, it is ultimately their core values and principles you should be more concerned about than their political, social, cultural, and economic viewpoints. You should assess your relationship with people by who they are at their core. You should ask yourself the following query: What kind of human being is this person? Is this the kind of human being I want to be associated with and who is or can be a positive force in my life? Does the good outweigh the bad with this person? If you don’t like what kind of human being this person has become, then you should peacefully sever your relationship and ties to this person. If you don’t believe that the person is the kind of person you want to be associated with and isn’t a positive force in your life, then you should peacefully disassociate yourself from the person. When the good does not outweigh the bad with this person, then it’s time to disassemble the relationship.
Of course, you should not simply discontinue a relationship with some of your relatives and friends without making serious efforts to engage them and talk to them. You cannot worry about how other people will perceive the reality that you no longer associate yourself with these people. There’s no need to go into great details about why you are no longer associating yourself with certain relatives and friends. One of the best explanations is it’s natural for people to grow apart from one another.
When every little aspect about a person begins to irk you, then you know it’s time for you to either take some time away from this person and/or resolve whether it’s time for you to sever your relationship with this person. Far too often, we delay the inevitable when we already know the relationship is really over.
Relatives and friends who disassociate themselves from one another don’t have to become enemies. You can still be peaceful to one another. You certainly shouldn’t just maintain a relationship with one another out of fear of personal information and secrets you know about one another. If those secrets and personal information come out, then just deal with this reality but don’t let fear of those things keep you in a miserable relationship.
Always give your relationships an opportunity to work, but do know when it’s time to end them or modify them. We are all human beings and we all do change. The changes that happen with us may cause us to no longer be connected with others anymore. Accept this natural development and do what is necessary to appropriately respond to this natural evolution.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison