As we change over the course of our lives, so should our relationships. Sometimes that means they need a bit of dusting off, while other times that means we need to cut them loose. As a psychiatrist, Rohima Miah MD often has these conversations about growth in relationships with her clients. Just as with objects around your home, ask yourself which relationships in your life spark joy and which are doing a disservice. Fostering toxic relationships can not only affect your personal life, but it can also be driaining professionally.

Where to start

Starting from the outer-most circle and working your way in toward family is the simplest strategy for cleaning up your relationships. Consider your acquaintances first. Are there any relationships that you would consider toxic, draining, or negative? If so, this is where to reflect on the situation at hand and move forward accordingly.

After acquaintances comes friends. After friends comes close friends and extended family. After that, evaluate your closest relationships with family. This layered approach will help you build confidence as you make progress through the levels. Close family is inevitably the most difficult.

How to clean up a relationship

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for spring cleaning a relationship. It will vary from person to person and from relationship to relationship. However, there are a few strategies you can try.

The first strategy is to repair or invest in a relationship that has gone sour or negative. This approach is worth executing if you feel there is something to really salvage from this relationship. Try investing time in the relationship to see where things went wrong, perhaps you two have grown apart and just need quality time to re-spark a valuable relationship. Try having an honest conversation to let the person know what is bothering you or to ask them what is bothering them. But if you already know the issue, an apology may be needed to move forward.

The second strategy is to cut the relationship loose. This is the best plan if you know the relationship is toxic in some way. If you believe this person is a narcissist or an energy vampire who will always drain you, it’s time to create some boundaries. Limit your time with this person. Be honest with them, if you can, that this relationship is not healthy for you to continue.

The mess left behind

Growing through relationships can stir up a lot of emotions. When growing out of a relationship consider offering some breathing room to process those emotions. Even still, sometimes it’s a lot to handle and a therapist is a good idea. A therapist can help you determine whether a relationship is healthy, how to set appropriate boundaries, and how to accept the end result.

For Rohima Miah, it’s important to evaluate the relationships in your life and not just leave toxic situations to fester. The input of energy required to accomplish a relationship purge will be well worth the final result–a life filled with joyful, healthy relationships. For more information about navigating relationships, visit Rohima Miah’s website!