I’m working on my next book – working title Rethink Retirement to be published by Routledge next year. This post is a draft to include in the chapter on relationships.

Now could be a time to review the people in our lives. Some, like family, have been there for much of our life, others we met along the way. Some are supportive and energise us. Others are energy vampires and drain us.

Just like sorting through our clothes now and putting some clothes away for next year, and others to go in the charity/sell pile, so it could be helpful to take stock of the people in our lives. Here is an idea you can use to review.

Imagine you are in a play, in a large theatre and you are the central character. Or on stage at a festival and you are performing on the main stage.

Now, think about the people in your life.

Some have the AAA (access all areas) lanyard. They know the real you, you don’t need to put on an act for them you can show your real self. They see you when emotional, vulnerable, in crisis mode. We need these people.

The next group get the front seats. So close they can almost touch you. These are good friends; they see you at your best and not so good times. They see the emotion on your face, but they don’t see everything, you hold some things back.  Should any of these get the AAA lanyard? Should some get moved to the back of the stalls.

At the back of the stalls are your acquaintances, these are people you know through work or a club and society, you and they know some things about each other but you don’t fully open up, and neither do they to you. It’s worth spending time thinking of these people. Are they are in the right position, should you be moving them forward or back to the Gods, so far back you are just a spec in the distance.  

At the very back, in the Gods, are the people you meet but currently are not close to, but they are part of your wider circle. Should you be spending more time with them or is now the time to allow the relationship to end?

It’s also worth thinking about the amount of time you spend with the people currently in your life. Are you filling your friendship bank by making sure that you are there for them? A lop sided relationship isn’t balanced and may end. You want them to share your happy experiences, not just to be there when you have need for them. We need to have balance in relationships.

Think about the people with the AAA lanyard – do you also have the same for them, and if not have you thought why you are vulnerable to them, but they aren’t to you. Might be worth talking about it, and for now being aware is helpful.

And you may want to make room for new friendships.

When I became single I didn’t have a single friend, and it was hard work to make friends, but I did it and I make sure to meet them on a regular basis. Now in a long term relationship it’s still important to spend time with my friends.

Does this resonate, anything to add to this section? I’d love to hear from you.