Another good article by Susan Charney, LCSW from June 2010 issue of Scottsdale Health magazine.
I have been going to the same hair salon for 15 years. The time spent there gave me the opportunity to develop friendships—I consider my colorist and stylist my friends. There is a sense of familiarity and comfort going to the same place. I know what to expect, and so do they. Both have been very patient with all the questions I ask each time I see them.
But something happened that is now making me develop new friendships at another salon.
The old salon did not offer a new hair method that I wanted to try. After much thought and investigation, I decided I had to switch–which meant I had to leave those relationships. As much as I like the people, my needs changed. I know that with their skill, my leaving will not force the closure of their salon. There will always be other customers to fill their chairs.
As hard as it was for me to leave, it was time. Relationships/friendships can follow a similar pattern. While there are some lifetime friendships, we also connect with people for different reasons at different times in our lives. Contrary to general views, when relationships “disconnect,” it does not always require the stereotypical hatred that the word “divorce” symbolizes. It just means that for many reasons, new needs require moving on. In friendships, things change. Your interests could change, or you could lose respect for someone (or they for you), or you could experience something terrible in the friendship. The commonality is the need to leave the connection. Leaving the “familiar” means the exploration of new endeavors and the unknown. It involves taking risks and trying to trust one’s own judgment. It is also sometimes requires time spent alone for personal reflection.
Many of us stay in the same relationships/friendships because the process of being alone and figuring out the next step is scary rather than exciting and challenging. Personal growth has its difficulties, but if you don’t move on, you’ll never know additional opportunities in life. There can be an “empty” chair just waiting to be filled with a new person.
Susan Charney, MSW, LCSW, psychotherapist, has a private practice in Scottsdale. She provides counseling services for individuals, families and couples. Additionally, she handles Employee Assistance programs associated with any trauma or changes in the workplace. Charney also works with people with chronic illness and their families to help them find balance in their lives. 480.467.0223.