Ways to distinguish yourself #199 – Exit gracefully

I have always believed that there are only two kinds of relationships – those that are “long term” and those that are “very long term”. Yes, I am exaggerating a bit but when you approach your relationships and put them into one of those two boxes, your perspective on relationships shift.

In reality though, some relationships have to end in the short-term.

Let us look at one such situation:

Yes, you want to build long-term relationships. But the other person may not want that. If you are building a relationship with someone who thinks “every relationship is there only for his or her advantage” then there is trouble. Unless you want to be “taken advantage of”, maintaining a long-term or very-long-term relationship with this person would be meaningless.

What do you do when this happens?

You can end the relationship kicking and screaming or you can exit gracefully. Most people choose the former approach as they want to “get even” and ensure that the other person “gets the message”.

If you think and stop for a minute you will realize that more often than not, the above logic of “getting even” does not make sense. You have already decided that there is no point in maintaining a long-term relationship with the other person. So, how does it matter whether the other person “gets the message” or not. The time you spend “getting even” is throwing good money over bad money. The other person’s biggest loss has to be you and your relationship in the future. If the other person is reasonably smart, he or she will recognize that. If the other person is not smart enough, trying to teach him that will be even more costly for you anyway. How much time do you want to spend on something that is totally ‘past’ you?

Time is the ultimate scarcity for everyone. You are no exception. When you exit gracefully from a relationship, you just found yourself some “extra” time on your hand. You can decide to use that time however you want. When you decide to keep going back to the past (whatever be the reason) you lost some precious time. Time that you could have used to invest in someone with whom you want to build a long-term relationship.

You are smart – so you make the choice!

Note 1: For links to the other 198 entries in the “Distinguish yourself” series, please visit my Squidoo lens on the same topic:
Squidoo Lens: Distinguish yourself

Note 2: The first 25 entries in the series have been packaged in a ChangeThis manifesto that was published on September 07, 2005. You can download that manifesto here:
ChangeThis Manifesto: 25 Ways to Distinguish Yourself (PDF, Free)

Note 3: My latest manifesto on ChangeThis was published on August 6, 2008. This is a photographic manifesto featuring 15 of my mini sagas (stories in exactly 50 words). Here is the link:

ChangeThis Manifesto: Mini Sagas – Bite Sized Lessons for Life and Business (PDF, Free)