What is relationship minimalism?

Relationship minimalism and two friends lie on a car to chat

Minimalism does not mean living like a monk or having no furniture.

Rather it’s about prioritising and being intentional, to bring the good stuff into focus.

If you simplify your life and cut away the excess, what’s important is able to shine through. Quality over quantity.

And that’s not just for stuff but also commitments and relationships.

Relationship minimalism – friendships

Do you have some childhood pals you have grown apart from?

How about someone who latched onto you during a particular period (a job or trip) and now it all just seems a bit stale?

Go through the following checklist with each questionable person in your life:

  • Do you look forward to catching up with them?
  • Do you enjoy your time together?
  • Do you come away feeling energised (or drained)?

In short, does this friendship spark joy?

Friends come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. It’s okay to recognise this and move on.

Relationship minimalism – family

This might sound brutal, but just because someone is related to you doesn’t mean you are forever committed to them. This is especially relevant if you have suffered abuse at the hands of a family member. Or maybe you’ve just got a toxic relative. Again, ask yourself whether the relationship is healthy or harmful.

Relationship minimalism – romantic relationships

YouTuber minimalist James Sweetland has decided to put a pause on dating, relationships and casual agreements for now. This may seem like a bold statement for a young man in our hyper sexualised society but choosing to focus your energy where it serves you is a wise choice. Dating is exhausting and the return on investment can be a bit lacklustre.

Relationship minimalism – where to start

Set yourself free from burdensome friends and family to allow time and energy for rewarding experiences, even if that means being alone.

Consider the Endowment Effect and ask yourself whether you would start from scratch and pursue this relationship if you weren’t already in it.

Applying minimalist principles to relationships doesn’t have to mean severing ties completely. You could choose to spend less time with certain people or reduce the effort you put into relationships that are draining.

Like your space, your energy is a finite resource. Use it wisely.

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