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This information can also be helpful for a mentor, addressing similar issues from a different perspective, but also in helping your mentee end your mentoring relationship.

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Was it something I did? Now what?

It is important to remember that every mentoring relationship ends at some point in time. In Fact, your mentoring program may set up a limited amount of time for your mentoring relationship. Besides, it’s normal for relationships to change over time.

Sometimes you grow away from people, and sometimes friends may talk less, but that doesn’t mean the relationship was a failure. If your formal mentoring relationship is ending, you can try a few things to make the situation go as smoothly as possible.

IN GENERAL

Talk about it. Even if the relationship is ending for positive reasons, one or both of you may still be feeling hurt or sad. Be thoughtful as you and your mentor share the feelings you are having.

If you want, invite your mentor to continue to be in your life. You may not see each other as often, but offer to write letters, visit her and invite her to participate in future milestones (a recital, game, graduation ceremony). Your mentor may be thrilled to be invited.

Talk about what you found most important and satisfying about your relationship with your mentor, and encourage him to do the same.

Try not to completely cut yourself off from your mentor after the formal relationship ends. Continue to let your mentor know how much she has meant to you through ongoing calls, letters, notes, e-mail messages, and visits when appropriate.

Let your mentor know how much he matters to you. Thank him for the opportunity to get to know him. Let him know how he has helped you change for the better.

IF YOU ARE THE ONE WHO NEES TO END THE RELATIONSHIP

Make sure you are certain that ending the formal mentoring relationship is the only option that will work. Talk to your mentoring program staff about options to reduce the number of visits or other ways you can work in visits.

Be honest but careful. You might be more comfortable talking about this issue with staff from the mentoring program there to help you. If your busy schedule is causing the need for change, don’t leave your mentor thinking you don’t have time for her. Instead, talk about the good things you like about your mentor, the changes she has made in your life, and the responsibilities that are taking your time (homework, school, other activities, time with friends and family).

 

IF YOUR MENTOR INITIATES THE ENDING OF THE RELATIONSHIP

Remember that sometimes it is healthy to outgrow a friendship and move forward.

You may feel bad, but remember that this is not your fault. Even if it hurts right now, you’ll grow through this tough time.

Always remember that you are a worthwhile person with gifts and strengths, and there will be other people in your life who will see these qualities too.

From Mentoring for Meaningful Results: Asset-Building Tips, tools and Activities for Youth and Adults. Copyright 2006 by Search Institute, 800-888-7828; www.searchinstitute.org