This is a collaboration blog by Erika Del Sordo and Meredith Kimmel, ACC.  This blog can also be found at

People come into our lives. Some stay, some go, and some stick around for far too long (because we let them).  How do you know when it is time to say goodbye to a person who has stuck around for far too long?

This is what Erika, and I would like to discuss in this blog post.  A few weeks ago, we discussed the importance of communication. In that blog post we discussed the importance of open and honest communication.

But what happens when the communication breaks down, and there is no going back in the relationship? It’s time to let that person go.   This is not a failure in communication, in fact, it is important to have honest communication with the person as you are dismissing them from your life. 

Note that in this blog post, I use the definition of “relationship” very liberally, meaning any kind of relationship, friendship, family, romantic, work, or otherwise.

How Do You Know When It Is Time to Say Goodbye to A Relationship?

The simple answer is you just do.  Your intuition, gut feeling, or however you want to describe it will let you know.

Unfortunately, life is never this simple and we have feelings and emotions attached to our relationships.

Again, to ask this question, how do you know when it is time to say goodbye to a relationship?

  1. When you sense something in the relationship is off.  Listen to your gut.
  2. When you can no longer be your authentic self in that relationship.  If you must walk on eggshells, tiptoe around topics, or be someone other than yourself to make the other person happy.
  3. If you realize that you aren’t happy when you are with this person.
  4. If you find this person draining on your time and energy.
  5. If you feel wronged by this person, and you address it and you don’t get anywhere with them.

If you experience any or all of these, then it is time to exit that relationship.

How Do You End the Relationship?

This may not necessarily be easy, but it is important.  Your happiness and authenticity are the most important.  If you aren’t happy or feeling authentic in the relationship, then it is up to you to try to salvage the relationship or say goodbye. 

If salvaging the relationship is not working out to fill your needs, then it is time to say goodbye.  This is where honest communication comes in.  So often we hear of ghosting.  This is not the appropriate way to end a relationship.  The appropriate way is to have a conversation.  This may be difficult or uncomfortable, but it is important to have the conversation.

Our aversion to having this conversation may be why we let people stick around for too long. 

Before handing this blog over to Erika, I’d like to leave you with these thoughts.  If you are feeling in any way negative about a relationship, you need to address it.  You have a right to be happy.  You have a right to be authentic.  You have a right to let whoever you want in and out of your life.  You don’t need to be a people pleaser.  If a relationship is toxic in your opinion, you have the right, and obligation to say goodbye.

That person is no longer meant to be in your life, and you are empowered to let them go.   

I’m now going to turn this blog over to Erika, so she can give you her thoughts on saying goodbye to a negative relationship.

Thank you, Meredith! And, as always, very well said.

I’m going to make this very simple, while also taking this in a slightly different direction.

You have one life to live. You get these years on Earth to live your best life. Why would you live these years unhappy? Why would you live to “try” to make someone else happy, when all they do is bring you to tears? And at the end of the day, if you’re working THAT hard to make someone else happy, they must be miserable.

NOW, this does not apply to your children. This is the exception. And by the way, there is a fine line with that, too. Spoiling a child to the point of no return only sets them up for failure in life when they finally realize that the world doesn’t always give in.

So, What If You Need to Say Goodbye to Family?

Letting go of a friendship, most times, is easier than family. Think about that for a moment. Some of you might say, “No it’s not. I have this toxic family member who I don’t speak to anymore and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

I don’t mean a distant relative. I’m talking about immediate family. And what I specifically mean is that, even though you no longer ‘speak,’ there’s a strain that may even be silent. You don’t know it’s there until you reflect on certain things that have been bothering you and then relate them back to your separated relationship.

When it comes to friendships that need to be set free, lovingly set them free. When it comes to family, sometimes you just need to ‘distance’ yourself. Keep certain people at arm’s length.

IF the family tie is too toxic though, say due to drugs and/or alcohol, then by all means, setting them free means setting your life free. And yes, there are other times when circumstances are unforgiveable. But there are moments when you just need to keep peaceful boundaries. Narcissistic personalities are also a good reason to distance yourself from family and friends who possess those qualities.

There Is a Fine Line Between Saying Goodbye and Keeping Arm’s Length

Learn to decipher between the two. Is the relationship in question something that needs to be ended forever? Or is it a relationship that needs to be maintained at arm’s length? This comes down to your decision. Your decision. That’s the key word. Decision. Once you decide how you want to peacefully live your life, choose which best compliments this one life you were given.

Do not let anyone compromise your joy. Ever. So, say goodbye to the irreparable, life-sucking relationships and lovingly navigate at arm’s length the relationships that require maintenance. (Think immediate family.)

With that said, start fresh today to take back your joy. Figure out how that needs to happen and do it. And if you need help, contact Meredith or me and we’ll lovingly guide you.