Do some relationships have a “sell by date”? If so, what should you do?

I was reading an excellent blog by Rob Brown on why you need to recalibrate your network from time to time. In this blog, Rob quotes Darren Hardy:

The people we spend our time with determine what conversations dominate our attention, and what observations, attitudes and opinions we repetitively are introduced to.

Rob also talks a great amount of sense, when he writes:

Relationships often develop (and deteriorate) over time, you often don’t know how useful or hindering they can be for you.

This blog got me thinking, and I was able to relate to the advice given by Rob both in my personal and professional life. The problem is with most networking advice you read is that it is all about finding, building and maintaining relationships. Never do you hear advice about deteriorating – or even consciously letting a relationship decline.

Do you review your network?

However, I strongly believe that you should regularly review your network and contacts and ask yourself, as Rob suggests, “is the juice worth the squeeze?”

Very often, you know in your heart of hearts that the ‘juice isn’t worth the squeeze’. For example, I recall a situation where I had given up an evening and driven over to someone I considered a friend to lend her my bike. In the process I had knackered my back and was in considerable pain. However, when I arrived, I had been stood up. There was literally no-one at home, or even a phone call to alert me to the fact that we needed to reschedule our meet up.

After this incident, I took the time to reevaluate the state of this relationship. I realised that I had done a huge amount of running around after this person, but received very little in return. It was amazing how many of my friends, when I voiced my doubts, explained that they had exactly the same thing happen to them. I didn’t need another second opinion to let that relationship decline.

Is it always that easy?

However, not all relationships are that clear cut. For example, what about the contact who never returns your calls or emails but is extremely warm to you in person? Or, the network of people you want to break into, but something just doesn’t feel right? Or the person you have been getting closer to, but you have a niggling doubt about them?

For me it’s all about the energy you put into a relationship. Is there a similar amount of give and take? Do you both feel good and supported in each other’s company? Are both of you happy at the level of intimacy in the relationship? Do you feel helped or hindered by this person?

Whilst it may feel tough to start to distance yourself from people in your network, you owe it to yourself to take the plunge. Going back to the quote at the top of the article, do you want your attention and attitudes influenced by people who don’t make you feel good? You deserve it to surround yourself with people who make you feel supported and happy.

How liberated would you be if you could remove the toxic relationships from your network?

I’d love to hear your feedback and comments on this article.