How to say goodbye to friendships the Marie Kondo way
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How to say goodbye to friendships the Marie Kondo way

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How to say goodbye to friendships the Marie Kondo way

Do you know Marie Kondo, the Japanese tidying guru? According to Marie, the question we should ask when tidying, is: ‘Does it spark joy?’ This question might be applicable to more things in life. If you’re not sure about your friendship, the Marie Kondo way can be helpful. 

You probably know them, too: people you once were really close to, but not so much anymore. If it happens in a love relationship -you’re growing apart-, it usually results in a breakup. Friendships, however, are not monogamous, so you don’t really need to ‘end it’. The relationship keeps muddling through and before you know it, you’ve collected several friendships that hardly offer you anything anymore.

Andrea Bonior wrote the book The Friendship Fix and recommends people to really think about what you want and expect of your friends. Someone who’s a good listener, someone who makes lots of fun with you, someone who shares your hobby? In an ideal world, your best friend has it all and all your friends bring out the best in you. In reality, it’s different. Because someone is really emotionally dependent. Or because they bring up the nasty, gossiping side of you. The more time you spend together, the more difficult it is to be the best version of you.

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Sounds like you? Then it’s time to unfriend people using the Marie Kondo method. This is how.

Don’t end it overnight

Which friendships make you happy? These are the ones you should hold onto. With regard to the other ones, it’s quite simple: if they bring out a negative side in you, it’s better to end it. This might sound a bit harsh, but when push comes to shove, both you and your friend benefit from honesty.

You don’t have to ‘break up’ overnight. Just get in touch less often and see how it feels and what happens. The other person may have noticed the same as you, and they may be fine with more distance. They may also ask you what’s going on. If they do, it’s best to explain in a friendly way that your life is going in a different direction than it used to, Bonior advises.

If your friend asks questions, don’t leave them hanging, but take the time to explain how you feel about the friendship. You don’t owe them to be their friend, but you do owe them a fair answer.

Remaining friends within a group or not?

For some people, big groups of friends work really well and they don’t really mind if a one on one friendship disintegrates: within the group as a whole, the connection can still be there. However, this is about your needs. If you feel that it’s time to let go of the friendship, there’s your decision. If it’s fine with you to see each other every once in a while when there are other friends around, that’s OK, too.

When it comes to friendships, it’s pretty much the same thing as tidying up. Some people are fine with a bit of chaos. No problem, according to Marie Kondo herself: ‘There’s nothing wrong with a chaotic house if that is what you want. However, I would advise to create a spot for every belonging, and to have some sort of overview. That’s how you make sure your aware of the situation and that’s the most important thing.’ It works the same with friendships.

Text: Eline Hoffman – Photo: Kalisa Veer

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