So I got an e-mail from someone who I’ve known for years , (and considered a friend )informing me that she was ending the friendship of two years, because she felt that we no longer had anything in common. This was someone who I had grown pretty tight with, occasionally treating for drinks and discussing various movies we had seen. We often spoke about our work our personal frustrations and our goals. She shared (with me )her anger over losing her most valued client and I shared resources and referrals with her to help her recover(often my suggestions were met with resistance). Since then our conversations had become more strained and less light- hearted. So when after a few months of not communicating I got the “Dear Tony” e-mail, I wasn’t entirely surprised. It’s always a bit sad when a relationship comes to an end but when it does I feel it’s important to wish the other party well and move on. But it got me to thinking about the warning signs of when a (business/personal)relationship is near its end.
1. When your conversations become confrontational, accusatory or belligerent. I’m never one for needless confrontation,however I won’t back down from an argument I think I can win. I tend to deal in facts. Over emotional conversations tend to turn me off completely. So I’m more likely to tune out when conversations turn nasty.
2. When one isn’t listening – Sometimes you can hold a conversation with someone but get the distinct impression that they aren’t listening to you. It comes off as ‘nothing you have to say is worth listening to’. Never a good thing.
3. When there’s no longer a common goal- This can happen both in personal and professional relationships when there’s a feeling that ‘we no longer have the same goal’ then it’s time to put a cork in it.
4. When there is a total lack of respect. This is a big issue for me. Particularly in my line of work as a consultant. One needs to feel that all parties have mutual respect if not admiration for the other. I have a rule after 30 years in the industry and nearly 5 decades on this earth. I never work with someone I don’t like and won’t spend time or energy on someone that doesn’t wish me well. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become less tolerant of BS and have absolutely no problem letting someone know that I think they’re full of it.
5. When you really just don’t want to have anything to do with someone . Or when their energy is consistently negative. I call these people 'emotional vampires'. They take up all of your energy and time (if you let them) and give nothing back to the relationship. Business acquaintances call this billable hours. Personal acquaintances think it’s about letting them gripe about whatever today’s problem might be.
Ending a relationship is never easy and should never be taken lightly. If you’re considering ending a relationship remember the following....
A. Be kind when you do it. There’s nothing to gain by being nasty. Even if the other person deserves it.
B. Be gracious and tell the person that your relationship has come to an end and why. Perhaps they don’t know that there has been an issue. Wish them well.
C. Try to work out any issues by stating that there is a problem before ending the relationship. Offer possible solutions and don’t be quick to terminate a relationship.
D. Have realistic expectations. Perhaps you tried turning an acquaintance into a friendship when it should have remained an acquaintance. Or perhaps a business relationship should remain an acquaintance . Remember not everyone you talk to or meet is someone you want to do business with or even want in your life.
So when is the best time to end a relationship? When it no longer serves you in a positive way.