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Written by Sally Kellett from Mirosuna

With the Marie Kondo method of de-cluttering sweeping the world since its launch six years ago, and Australia slowly moving out of isolation, could now be the perfect time to apply the Marie Kondo method to our friends?

One thing that I’ve realised during the past year of living with Covid restrictions and lockdown measures, is that meaningful connections are more important than ever, particularly in terms of looking after our mental health.  As humans, we crave contact and connection – but we need to ensure that the connections we have are positive.

As we start to come out of self-isolation, it might have become clear to us that we keep some of our friends out of sympathy or by default, and some of these friendships actually make us feel bad about ourselves.

So, now is the ideal time to do a friendship audit, Marie Kondo style and only keep those friends in our lives that spark joy.

Sometimes it’s difficult to cut a friendship that you’ve had for a long-time. So, how can we decide if the friends we’ve had all along are still valuable relationships to keep?

Ask yourself – is the friendship mutual?

We’ve all that those friends where it feels as if it’s only ever you who reaches out to organise all of the catch-ups. You need to ensure that the friendship is mutual and that you are both adding to each other’s lives and that it’s not just a one-way street. You want to develop friendships where both parties are investing and nourishing the friendship. Friendship requires continual effort and both parties to always be adding to it. Otherwise, you will wake up one day and realise how far you have drifted apart.

Ask if they make you a better person

If you have friends that bring out the worst in you instead of making you a better person, then you may choose to walk away. Positive friendships will leave you feeling happiest, and honestly, there is no point in being in each other’s lives if you are no good for each other.

Walking away does not mean you are giving up on them – it simply means that you’re creating space for change.  Creating space so you both can lessen your negativity and become a better person when you are not in each other’s company.

Look at all kinds of friends

We have people in our lives that we can confide in, friends that we work with, others with who we have fun, and friends with common interests.

We don’t need to paint a picture of the ‘perfect friendship’ and only have friends that fit that definition. We have different friends for different reasons so before you Marie Kondo your friends, remember this!

Once you’ve decided to Marie Kondo your friends, here are my tips for letting go of friendships mindfully:

Always do it with love

If you are phasing out a friend, always wish them the best and be open to them coming back into your life. People change over time. Friendships drift apart, but they can also come back! You want to always be kind, loving and open to whatever will be. 

Handling the guilt

It’s not easy to decide to distance yourself from someone, especially when you once shared a beautiful friendship. Instead of seeing it as ‘cutting them out, see it as you’re doing what is best for you both right now and that right now, you do not need each other. People grow apart and that is OKAY! They might be feeling the same way about you!

And to foster better friendships and connections post isolation, don’t shut yourself off to new friendships. Sometimes, the best people come into our lives when we least expect it. So stay open-minded and you might be pleasantly surprised to find that you have a new friend that will enrich your life.

Also, nurture the friendships that you have post-isolation. Give them a little more focus and do organise catch-ups, whether it be over Zoom or face-to-face when we can – because connection really does help us feel valued and loved.

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