One of my favorite pieces. I wrote this one a year ago, and it has become timely for me once again. I needed the reminder today. This must be something that we all struggle with, because this is one of my posts that is found most often via Internet searches.
There are times when we need to walk away. Different situations and relationships reach their inevitable conclusion, and we must determine the best way to extricate ourselves. We need to keep in mind that how we choose to exit impacts both us and those we leave behind.
Make a graceful exit from the workplace. Most of us will switch jobs at least once in our lifetime. You may receive a better offer, you may find you can no longer tolerate the environment, or you may be seeking to find career alternatives. No matter the reason, I advise you to proceed with caution in how you exit. (Yes, this is the voice of experience speaking.)
Upon handing in your resignation, thank your employer for the opportunities the company provided you with. Even if you feel you are leaving a toxic environment, resist the urge to point out all of the things you think are wrong with the company. Once you are gone do not speak ill of your former employer. It serves no purpose other than to breed animosity and to provide fuel for gossip.
Chances are you will continue working in the same field. Remember that thanks to social media and networking sites the people in your profession are likely linked by common relationships. You do not want to say anything negative that can make its way to a prospective or new employer as it will not cast you in a favorable light. Additionally, you may find that a former employer can help you in the future. If you leave a job to pursue new opportunities it makes sense to keep your prior boss as an ally.
How to exit counterproductive interactions gracefully. We all know that social media sites are teeming with vicious people seeking to incite and escalate arguments online. I have learned that it is best to avoid these leeches and the pages they visit altogether. However, we can be drawn into conversations or debates with friends or online acquaintances, and this can lead us to areas that exceed our comfort level. There are times when you need to withdraw yourself from a situation without leaving bad feelings behind.
As most people do, I have strong opinions on a variety of topics to include politics, abortion, religion, and law enforcement. I prefer to limit sharing my thoughts on “hot button” issues to my closest friends and family. However, there are times when I find myself engaged with others on these subjects. When this happens I am open to a dialogue taking place as long as it is conducted in a polite manner by all parties.
At times a conversation reaches a point where it seems futile, or it becomes too emotionally difficult, to continue. When I am ready to close out a topic in an inoffensive way, I find it works best to thank the other party for participating in a respectful manner and for providing me with a new perspective to consider. More often than not I receive a similar response, and I am open to having future interactions with these people. There will be those who will try to prolong the discussion by ignoring your hint. In those situations it is best to simply shut it down and walk away. You do not need to have the last word. Sometimes saying nothing is the most effective way to make your point.
You can make a graceful exit from an unhealthy relationship. Not all connections are meant to last a lifetime. Some run their course naturally with both parties drifting off in different directions. At times we hang on in situations that are clearly not benefiting us, and in some cases may be harming us emotionally. When we feel that we have given far more than we have taken from a relationship it can cause stress, sadness, and resentment. We need to give ourselves permission to step away, be it from a friend or even a family member.
You can choose to end a friendship without drama. You are allowed to distance yourself from a relative. You do not have to make a scene or create animosity. If a relationship causes you more pain than happiness it is time to reevaluate its worth. If your attempts to revive it are unsuccessful you may need to consider the reasons.
The hard fact is that the person on the other end of the relationship may have already moved on. They may have priorities that do not include you. As painful as this realization is, do not cause yourself further damage by lashing out with hurt feelings. Odds are it will not end well, and it will close a door that cannot be reopened. If you need closure consider writing the person a letter or requesting a meeting. Be honest without being confrontational. If you do not receive a positive response it is in your best interest to move on, but do so in a way that allows for future reconciliation.
Knowing when to walk away is not easy. When the time comes, though, you can put your best foot forward. Just as you want to make a good first impression, so should you aim to make a good last impression. Graceful exits leave us free to make grand new entrances.
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