Medicine. Food. Beverages. What do these have in common? They're all necessities and they all have expiration dates. In fact, everything has an expiration date. However, not everything has an expiration date label that everyone can see.
There's no label on our homes, vehicles, clothes, shoes, electronics, etc. that tells us when those things are going to expire. And there's definitely no label that tells us when relationships (e.g. family, friends, spouse, acquaintances, work, etc.) will expire. We have to figure that out on our own. How? Through experiences, growth, and observations.
8 signs a relationship is expired or will expire soon:
1. Lack of communication: It's not essential to speak to someone everyday—unless you both don't mind. However, there should be frequent communication whether that's once, thrice, or five times per week via phone call, in person, text, FaceTime, etc. Conversations don't always have to be long either. It can be short and simple as in “I just wanted to say hello and check in to make sure you're still alive.” If there's a constant lack of communication, then your relationship might be expired or will expire soon, especially if that lack of communication doesn't faze you or them.
2. Negative energy: We're supposed to feel good around the people we interact with. That doesn't mean things are going to be peachy all the time, though. It's normal to have disagreements and sometimes there are misunderstandings, but it should all be handled in a mature manner. If the person you associate with refuses to handle situations in a mature manner, is always grouchy or complaining about something/someone, and constantly kills the mood, then it's probably time to cut ties with them.
3. Disrespect: Notice how I said disagreement instead of argument in the previous paragraph. That's because there shouldn't be hurtfulness involved when there's a disagreement. There should be open communication and open-mindedness instead. There should also be respect in general. People who deliberately ignore your feelings, take advantage of you, and don't value your time or presence don't deserve to have you in their lives. Know your worth.
4. Unsupportive: We should be able to talk about our goals and dreams with the people we associate with. We should also allow room for constructive criticism when doing so, but don't confuse constructive criticism with pessimism. There's a difference between someone suggesting an alternative route to accomplish your dreams/goals and someone discouraging you from pursuing it at all because they don't think you're capable of being successful. The only exception to allowing someone to discourage you from your goals/dreams is if that path is harmful to you and others. Their discouragement shouldn't be based on their underestimation of your capabilities.
5. Lack of effort: This is probably the most obvious sign. You shouldn't always be the first or only person to start a conversation, to make plans, to go through with plans, etc. or vice versa. Someone who genuinely cares will put in effort into the relationship no matter what. There's no such thing as too busy. It's all a matter of priorities.
6. No common ground: Everyone has at least one thing in common with the people they associate with: beliefs, values, hobbies, etc. These things can change over time, but there should still be a common ground regardless.
7. Valueless: Every person we associate with should add value to our lives. That value shouldn't be based on tangible things though (i.e. how many material possessions we receive from them). It should be based on intangible things: love, comfort, honesty, support, kindness, selflessness, etc.
8. More harm than good: If a person draws you away from Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala and His religion (Islam) or constantly tries to, then it's best if you stay away from that person. Don't compromise your deen or relationship with Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala for someone or something below our Creator, unless your life depends on it. If that's the case, then seek advice from a scholar first to determine how you should go about certain situations. If that's not the case, though, then keep calm and move on 😎.
We shouldn't hold onto expired relationships, and we shouldn't try to maintain ones that are close to running its course. If it's time to let go, let go. I was best friends with someone for eight years. After having an overdue heart-to-heart with waterworks in between, our friendship ended in February. It wasn't easy to have that conversation, but it was necessary and thankfully, our friendship ended on a good note. Other friendships I've had ended naturally/effortlessly:
“Did you notice? How they slowly disappeared? How the connection weakened and the texts you sent them became bearable if they were left without a response? The conversations slowly dried out. And you've gotten to a point where you can't even remember why they were so significant in your life. Did you notice how the feelings aren't as strong anymore? Did you notice how you've accepted it? And when they left, you didn't break down. You didn't feel empty. Not this time. It pained, but not as much anymore. More importantly, did you notice? How God prepared you for their departure little by little?” — Nashiha Pervin via Instagram
People who aren't meant to stay in our lives forever will eventually leave when their purpose has been fulfilled. Until then, enjoy the blissful moments together, tackle the challenges collaboratively, and be brave when it's time to move on to the next chapter—for there's something even better in the next.