What to do when someone “quits” on you

Sometimes, people give up. They surrender and throw up their white flag in the middle of something (a project, relationship or business). When that something involves you, it can be a damn hard thing to deal with. Whether it’s an actual physical leaving or an emotional one, your friend, ally, team member, significant other just threw in the towel, and you're left feeling sad, frightened or angry. 

When this happens - and if you're reading this, it likely already has in your life - here's how to climb out of your rut. 

1. Take it personally - not in the "I'm a bad person" kind of way. Nope. What others do is because of agreements they have with themselves. It has nothing to do with you. I mean to say, though, take some time to reflect on your role in the situation.

Answer these questions for yourself:

  • How am I feeling right now? Process this – use all the words that come to mind. Write them down. Get these feelings out of you and onto something you can see more objectively.  
  • What did I learn about myself from the way this was handled? (i.e - the way it all went down).
  • How could this experience affect my other relationships? And, what can I do to promote that (if it’s a good thing) or prevent it (if it’s a not so great thing)? 
  • What did I really want out of this relationship? (What was my goal and can I achieve it - or parts of it - in some other way?) 

I had a long-time friend and business mentor suddenly call it quits on our business relationship today. She was my business coach, and I was her student. I was shocked and hurt, at first. I had no idea this was coming and I'm still a bit fuzzy on her decision to do so. Still, she is my friend, and it was her choice. (And I never want to be in a relationship where the purpose and goals aren't aligned.) When I first read her decision (it came via email at 3am), I was surprisingly calm. But for any of us in this kind of scenario it's easy to blame others or feel badly about ourselves.

"I'm an idiot for trusting them."

"I should have known better."

"He's a jerk and it's not my fault." 

None of these thoughts will serve you.

Get a handle on yourself here. Write it out, journal your experience and see your thoughts on paper. Write a letter to this person sharing how you feel and never send it. The letter is for you to clear your thoughts and find a way back to your focus, clarity and purpose. This may take some time, and it's not always as clear cut as we want it to be. But, I promise you this: the clearer you can be on how this has affected you, the stronger you will be when you...

2. Move on. Yep, I’m gonna urge you here to dry your tears or put down your battle ax and get to steppin’. When you've gotten a handle on your emotions and some clarity on what you truly desire for yourself (not your relationship with this person), make a plan to move towards that goal.

The best way I know to do that is: just do one thing. Write a plan, make a phone call to someone who can help you towards your goal...do something practical. Avoid the pitfall of reviewing the whole “quitting episode” over and over again in your mind. Life does not happen in the past…it happens in the now.

The act of making good (even in some small way) on the promise you've made yourself of achieving that which you desire will build momentum. You'll feel empowered, confident, and ready to take more steps. The traction you will gain from doing this one small act can and will set you on the path to recovery and freedom. And, yes, success! Sweet, sweet success!