When I was younger and more idealistic I assumed friendships and romantic relationships would go on indefinitely. I am not sure if this belief was due to being naively loyal or old fashion idealistic, most likely an intoxicating speedball like combination of both. The fact is in the real world most relationships have a shelf life. Resisting this truth or wishing things were different will not change this fact. Deep family ties excluded, most relationships are based on proximity, similar interests, and mutually satisfying interactions. When these factors change the relationship changes as a result.
Originally, I was going to title this post relationship failure analysis but that sets the wrong tone and jousts vs. the concept that relationships have a shelf life. Whether it is family, business, friendship, or romantic relationships, a changing relationship status can only be considered a failure if it was destructive, one sided, contrary to your aspirations, or you continue to repeat mistakes. In technology related fields system failures are analyzed post mortem to document the facts/timeline of the event, what caused the failure and what corrective measures need to be put in place to prevent future recurrence. A similar format can be just as useful to learn from your past and present relationships. Relationship Change Analysis can be a disciplined approach to reflect on relationships good and bad and determine changes you need to make to become happier and more effective in reaching your goals. Too many people live like the movie Groundhog Day and keep approaching every relationship the same without learning from the past. Give this process a try so you are not one of them.
Relationship Change Analysis Template
Length of relationship:
What was/is your goal for the relationship? :
What is the current status of relationship? :
High point of the relationship:
Low point of the relationship:
Typical experience while in the relationship:
Was the relationship beneficial to both parties? :
What caused the relationship to change? :
How does this relationship compare to similar relationships of the same category from the past/present (ie family, friend coworker, romantic etc.)? :
Thing(s) you liked most about the relationship?
Thing(s) you liked least about the relationship?
Things you would do different to have changed the outcome of the relationship?
Things you would not do different to have changed the outcome of the relationship?
How did close friends/family/associates view the relationship?
What are the most important things you learned from the relationship?
How will you approach a relationship of this type differently next time to reach your goals?
What are your goals for the next relationship you experience of this relationship type (ie family, friend coworker, romantic etc.):
This process can be useful for relationship resurrection or self reflection depending on your goals. Remember relationships change and it takes both people to make a relationship of any type so just because you want something a certain way does not mean the feeling is mutual. Self reflection is good but wallowing in the past is not so this process is meant for your personal growth and to help propel you forward not to beat you up for past mistakes. Make your next days your best days and your personal Golden Age.