Detox Your Relationships: Cleaning out your relationship closet

Now, here’s a confronting idea for you:

To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose. To throw away what you no longer need is neither wasteful nor shameful. Let them go, with gratitude. Not only you, but your things as well, will feel clear and refreshed when you are done tidying.

This quote is from the Marie Kondo’s super-popular book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying‘ which transformed my – and my husband Snowy’s wardrobes and household cupboards for the better.

The key question when you contemplate letting go of what you no longer need being “Does it spark joy?” – if not, let it go. It reminds me about letting people go too, if your relationship with them doesn’t spark joy. It’s cathartic and gives you precious time for those you do truly cherish…

It’s easy to assume that just because you’re in touch with someone, because you’ve been friends ‘forever’, that it should, or has to, stay that way. Well, it doesn’t.

When I left my corporate life 15 years ago I had lots of work friends. Loads. And yet, instinctively I knew I’d probably only keep in touch with, hmm, maybe 3 of them. By in touch I mean really connected rather than “oh we must meet some time” friends (who only really have the old days to discuss with you). In reality it’s actually only 2.

It can sound brutal to share with you this too. After 17 years of marriage, when we look at our guest list of 120 people, less than half of them would be invited if we were to do it all over again! Some are no longer alive, some are no longer together, some have fallen off the radar and others have either let me/us go or we’ve let them go. Literally, let them go.

We’ve made tons of new friends in that time too. Friends we’d love to share that day with now. It’s not better. Just different. So are we and so are you.

It’s cathartic to tidy up, as Mari Kondo shares and I believe this is just as applicable to our social networks too. Some of your friends will be with you, and you with them, forever. Others are transient and that’s OK too.

In my fifties with, as my friend Steve Cozart shared with me “more of your life behind you than in front of you” I’m fierce about who I choose to invest my precious life energy with.

I’ve learned you have:

  • Friends for a reason– a difficult time, shared interest, a lesson they have for you – you’re fond of them and yet the tides of your lives have changed. If it’s feeling an effort that’s onerous, the reason isn’t strong enough anymore;
  • Friends for a season– a spell which passes and your bond isn’t so strong so it fizzles, you let go or – as happened to me recently – they unceremoniously ‘fire’ you for their own reasons. They’re best let go of anyways;
  • Friends for life– people you know you want to stick with, who want to stick with you and who you forgive (vs fire) if they trip up – or you do.

You don’t get time back and we must choose wisely how we invest it and with whom. Do they deserve your precious, finite life energy? If so great. If not – you know what to do. It’s all good.

As Marie Kondo says, “when we reduce what we own and essentially ‘detox’ our house, it has a detox effect on our bodies as well.”


I’d love to hear what you think. You can leave me a comment or a note here. Here’s an immediate and practical Gift of you!  A complimentary copy of “Do You Have Trouble Saying NO?”

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About the author

Kay White is our Show Up & Sparkle blogger. Known as the Savvy & Influential Communication Expert for Ambitious Women in Business, Kay shows professional women how to attract promotion, recognition and rewards at work without feeling they have to ’sell their soul. Kay shows her clients, who are corporate career women at all different stages of their careers, how to naturally attract more income and opportunity all while being true to themselves. Combining strategic moves with influencing skills plus compelling and assertive language and powerful mindsets, Kay draws on her own 20+ years corporate career in the very male-dominated world of London insurance broking. She started at 18 as a Secretary and left as a Director to start her own business. Hosting an annual 3-day Event for corporate women “Show Up; Sparkle & Be Heard LIVE” Kay encourages and shows women how to be the best, most valuable version of themselves. Kay is author of the Number 1 Best-Seller “The A to Z of Being Understood” and you can connect and find out more from Kay at :

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