The Hardest Part of Friendship; When It’s Time To Say Goodbye ft. Erin Falconer

Episode 05

We’re back with our “For the Love of Community and Friendship Series, and this week, we delve into an area of friendship that all of us may face, but inevitably dread. It’s that moment when you know a friendship has run its course, or perhaps has become toxic, or you’ve just drifted apart–and you don’t know how to go forward. When life changes, when we change, and a friendship no longer serves us, how do we gracefully (and honestly) communicate about it? Our guest this week, who is here to walk us through this touchy topic, is writer, former standup comedian and political consultant Erin Falconer. Erin’s written a book called How to Break Up With Your Friends: Finding Meaning, Connection and Boundaries in Modern Friendships. Lest you think this is just a conversation on how to wipe your friend slate clean, stick around–you’ll hear Jen and Erin talk about how to create and maintain the healthiest friendships through all the seasons of our lives in order to avoid the painful friend breakup. 

They also discuss:

  • Erin’s “Six Pillars of Friendship” that help us take stock of who is in our life and how we’re serving each other
  • What to do when we see a friendship has run its course or needs to shift or change in some way
  • How to keep the source of joy going in our adult friendships, and minimize the pain

It’s tough to grapple with the complexities of friendship breakups, but it all starts with building healthy relationships from the start. 

 

Episode Transcript

Hey everybody! Jen Hatmaker here, your host of the For The Love podcast. Welcome to the show. We are in a series that essentially the community has asked for and it’s called For the Love of Community and Friendships. This is just a deal in the community and I tell my guests this right out of the gate–modern adult friendships are just a unique space that every one of us deals with, but not a lot of people are talking about. First of all, we are just women who are changing. I’ve changed monumentally from my twenties to my thirties, from my thirties to my forties, and I know for sure I will change more in my fifties and beyond, and the things that are impacting me will as well. Our priorities and our lives just evolve.

Subsequently, and a thing that we don’t talk about a lot is; that means a lot of our friendships will too. As we get a little bit older, what we need becomes more defined, or it might shift. We may lose or gain friends depending on what season we’re in or what season we left. I have found personally that my core friend group has gotten smaller the older I’ve gotten, but with the strength of a bond that I definitely didn’t have when my circle was wider. This is a little bit different, the older that we get, for me, and I’ve noticed and I’ve seen the changes. 

On top of that, I think outside of just the natural shift of friendships–which again–because people don’t talk about a lot, it leaves us feeling adrift like: is this right? Have I done this wrong? Did something go wrong in a friendship that meant a lot to me 12 years ago, and they’re now a person that I don’t talk to very much anymore? 

We attach a lot of emotion and even merit or morality to shifting friendships. But the truth is, in a lot of ways, those are really normal. That’s a really normal evolution in relationships as we get older. Then there’s another category, which is friendships that are unhealthy, that either always were or have become that way and we’re not super great with boundaries here at all. By the way, on that note, if you haven’t already, please go listen to my first interview with Nedra Tawwab back in our For the Love of Reconnecting series on this very topic, I’ll put the link up. Setting boundaries with friends is not something we always want to do, but absolutely necessary to keep relationships functional, healthy, and connected. 

This week’s guest, Erin Falconer is such a good person to talk to about the ever-shifting adult friendship landscape. So she’s written a book and don’t be put off by this title, which she talks about in the interview: How to Break up With Your Friends: Finding Meaning, Connection and Boundaries in Modern Friendships. I promise you this is not just a conversation or a book about how to wipe the table clean of everybody you have; it’s an intentionally provocative title, but an incredibly eye-opening read. Primarily this is a discussion on creating and maintaining the healthiest friendships at our ages and as we evolve. Erin is so interesting. She’s had a varied career. She’s originally from Canada and she’s in L.A. now. She’s done everything from writing screenplays, she’s been a standup comic and a political consultant, and she’s in the online writing world now. She’s really fun.

She’s been the editor and co-owner of Pick the Brain, which is one of the highest-regarded self-improvement communities on the internet. So she’s a really great guide here and brings a lot to bear to this conversation. She’s gonna walk us through what she calls the “Six Pillars of Friendship” and share everything from taking stock of who is in our life to how we are serving each other. A big conversation on taking stock internally, is a bit of a self-eval (which is where this starts) and some of the most meaningful of all the work here. Then we talk about what to do when we see a friendship has run its course or needs to shift or change in some way. This is a really great conversation, one that I wish we were having so much more because I know from my community, as we’ve had this conversation internally so often, which is; adult friendships are the source of so much joy and also so much pain at our age. Thus the reason for this entire series. I think you’re gonna find this conversation so eye-opening. Please enjoy this discussion with the absolutely wonderful Erin Falconer.

 


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE: 

 

For the Love of Reconnecting ft. Nedra Tawwab

How to Break Up with Your Friends: Finding Meaning, Connection, and Boundaries in Modern Friendships
by Erin Falconer

Marie Kondo

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