Do you currently have the friendships that you want in your life? Do you regularly spend time with amazing people who you love being around and who make your life better? If not, then maybe something is off—maybe you feel lonely; maybe you don’t have the quality of friendships you want; maybe you’re not connecting to people on a deep level; maybe your friends all live thousands of miles away. If you are unsatisfied with the relationships in your life for any reason, then stick around, because today we’ll be discussing how to create meaningful friendships that will bring increased satisfaction and joy to your life.

This is an area that a lot of people struggle with. When you don’t have the kinds of connections you desire, life can feel very disappointing. I know this because nearly every client I meet with admits to wanting to create deeper, more authentic relationships in their lives at one point or another. It can be very frustrating, however, to try to cultivate these connections when you feel alone and don’t know where to start.

So, how do we go about engendering relationships that affect us on a deeper level? To begin with, you have to get clear on what you really want.

As we go through life, we write these stories in our minds that make it difficult for us to be honest about our desires. One is that we must keep every friend we make for life—we believe that it’s wrong or heartless to let go of a friend who no longer fits well in our lives. While it’s true that loyalty is an honorable quality, it’s also the case that hanging onto something that doesn’t serve you can be very unhealthy. In the same way that it’s necessary to leave a failing romantic relationship for the benefit of both individuals, you also need to feel justified in leaving a friendship that isn’t bringing you the joy it once provided.

Fact: people change. They grow and evolve and find themselves altered by life’s circumstances—sometimes that means that they’re not able to interact with certain people in the same way they once did. They’re not doing anyone any favors by belaboring that failing connection.

One of my clients recently came to me with this very issue: he had a friend from high school who he didn’t feel as if he gelled with anymore, yet he continued to meet this person every two weeks for lunch, even though it gave him no joy. His issue was that he didn’t know how to break the connection kindly. Now . . . just because you may want to cut ties doesn’t mean you have to do it with a Samurai sword—you can simply become slightly less available (in this case, cutting the lunch dates down to once a month or even once every six months or so). Eventually, you will either decide that this new arrangement is satisfying to you or it will become clear to both of you that the effort is no longer worth the reward.

Either way, you have to get clear on what it is you want.

If you want to free yourself of a draining connection, do it! If you want to upgrade to relationships that feel fulfilling, do it! Who do you want to surround yourself with? What kind of relationships do you have time for? Take stock, and be honest about what you want.

Personally, I don’t have time in my life to spend on people who don’t bring me joy. I’ve got two little kids, a wife, and a business—in the few moments of free time I get per week, I want to surround myself with people who are energized, excited, passionate, and open-minded. Why would I choose to give one precious hour to anyone who drains my energy or makes me feel unappreciated?

We all need friends. As human beings, we need to make connections and be social. But if you’re anything like me—and most modern professionals are—then you have few precious slots open for friendships, and you should not feel bad about unapologetically filling them with people who resonate well with you.

When you imagine the perfect friendship, what qualities spring to mind? For me, it’s laughter—I want to hang out with someone who has a great sense of humor, share a few laughs, and then dig in and talk about real issues.

What are your requirements? If you’re not getting them met, don’t be afraid to make shifts in your expectations and demand what you need for your life.

That’s what part two of this video is going to be all about: the steps you can take to make this valuable shift in your life and how to put them into practice.

First thing is first, though: Decide what expectations you want to have from now on and write them down—when we write down our goals, we solidify them in our minds and communicate the importance of them to our subconscious. Try it out, and then join us for part two of this exciting topic!

As always, I invite you to subscribe or leave a comment below about what you’ve learned. What fears or challenges have you faced in dealing with fizzling friendships? How can you begin to get clear on the kind of friendships you want to create and the kinds of friends you want to attract?

Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.