I have a confession: I have a tendency to overthink things. No really - it's true. I will frequently get lost in my own head thinking about things over and over. I often lose sleep due to the practice. It's because of this last part that I have tried shifting my focus lately to the WHY instead of the WHAT. "Why am I killing myself over this one little thing?" "Is it something worth losing sleep over?" The answer to that one, more often than not, is no.
Now, before I lose you, let me tell you that something I have lost a lot of sleep over throughout the years is friendship. I have always had only a few close friends, yet countless acquaintances. That small clutch of friends has changed over the years. At times, I've had a surprising number of people I considered close; and, at other times, that number would dwindle down to perhaps one. The number of close friends, for me, has been declining rapidly over the past year. Some endings were my decision, some not. This is what I want to talk about, because here's the thing: I'm losing a lot less sleep over it, these days.
Facebook and other social networking "apps" have given us a new illusion of friendships, I think, in a few different ways. First, I think they have given us a false sense of friendship and of "popularity" (as if this should even matter at our age). There are those who judge their own self-worth by the number of friends they have. I am not even going to get into this because I don't understand it. I am not one of these people.
Second, I feel they have given us an unrealistic expectation of our friends and friendships. Here we have this technology that will allow us to be in contact 24-7 and, therefore, "if I don't hear from [insert name here] more often, then something must have changed and he/she doesn't like me anymore." The truth is that we're adults and have our own lives. We end up judging one another from hundreds of miles away based on a lack of information. It's not fair to them, and it's not fair to you.
Third, this "networking" has actually given us access to new people with whom we may have more in common and who can meet our individual needs better than others - maybe even better than people we have known all our lives. We hang on, however, to friends who do nothing for us. This is the essential question to me - WHY? Is it loyalty? Is it stubbornness? Is it the inability to let go for one reason or another? Why do we torture ourselves? Maybe it's time to start making decisions for ourselves and stop losing precious time by fretting over other people's motives.
So here's another question: Do you have a "friend" over which you are losing sleep? If the answer is yes, then I am giving you permission, right now, to go delete them from your list. Let them go. Give yourself permission to be happy and guilt-free.
Friends sometimes grow apart. Needs change. Circumstances change. Know that everyone comes into your life for a reason, but that reason isn't always permanent. Being friends with someone shouldn't be hard. It shouldn't stress you out or bring you sleepless nights. If you've done something intentionally, then yes, you might lose some sleep; but asking for forgiveness from a true friend shouldn't be difficult. True friends love unconditionally. There are no limits. If a friend has put limits on what they are willing to do for you or with you, maybe they're just an acquaintance after all. Maybe their purpose in your life has been fulfilled, or yours in theirs. It is OK to let go.
I think it's time for reflection and discovery. Think about what you need in a friend. Think about what your friends need. Maybe that friendship that is stressing you out is a result of you not being able or willing to meet their needs anymore. And that is OK too. It happens. The person who can meet their needs may already be in their life. The person who can meet your needs may already be in yours. And holding on to this old relationship may be the only barrier in both of you moving on and meeting those people. I will repeat myself again here: it is OK to let go.