Relationships past their expiration date are never pretty.

I found this out in my late 20s when I ended a relationship with a woman I met in college. We came of age together and bonded over our love of music, fashion and Italy. I remember us twirling around campus one night dressed up like Madonna with lace gloves on and giant crosses around our necks. Yes, it was the ’80s! We made some great memories and remained close after graduation. But then we lost touch during a time when I needed our friendship most.

In grad school, I was on path to become a professor of graphic design. I had a crisis of the soul and was struggling to find my purpose. My decision to abandon this path required introspection. As a result, I had a tremendous growth spurt. I mean, I matured A LOT. But having your foundation shift beneath your feet can do that.

With greater clarity and a new direction, I made the first move and invited my friend to spend a weekend with me in Memphis. I laid it out for her! She’d come to expect that of me, and I fed into it. I had all her favorites and even arranged a photo shoot for the two of us and hired a glam squad and everything! She was the same old friend I’d known. But something felt off, because I was different. By the end of our weekend, I decided to break up with her. Not because she was toxic or high-level dysfunctional, but because she was low-key draining me. Once my eyes were opened to just how one-sided our relationship had always been, my more evolved self could no longer tolerate it.

It’s not just our spouse or intimate partners that we can grow apart from, it can also be friends we allow to occupy space in our power pack but contribute nothing. One-way relationships are like apps – even when you’re not using them, they’re running in the background draining your battery.

Letting go of a friend, acquaintance or business partner doesn’t mean either of you are a bad person. It just means that you’re evolving in different ways and the relationship no longer serves either of you well. So I told my friend that I loved her and would treasure our time together, but that our friendship didn’t work for me anymore, and I wished her well.

It was one of the most adult things I have ever done, and I never looked back. I released the energy I had put into a friendship that I had Band-aided for nearly 10 years and invested it in myself and in cultivating healthier, mutually gratifying friendships. I’m not suggesting that friends keep score. Just that the people in your power pack be growth enhancers, not growth inhibitors. That they give positive, reflective energy; expand your outlook as well as your thinking; and help you be yourself, and the best version of yourself, in every aspect of your life. That’s who you want in your pack!

Join me and a few of my power pack friends for the “Dish with the Divas” luncheon and a candid conversation about friends, work, love and life at the Grit + Grace Day women’s conference on March 22. Click here to register and use promo code POWERPACK at checkout to receive 25% off.

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