A wise man once said “fuck a fake friend, where my real friends at?”
Ok, you got me. It wasn’t Plato, or Shakespeare. It was Drake. Whatever, I like his sentiment.
Do you ever find yourself in a conversation with a friend, only to realize you actually just don’t like them very much? Maybe they’re always boasting about how much money they spent at Ethan Allen last week, or about how perfect and cooperative their child is. Perhaps they’re serving you backhanded compliments faster than the server can refill your wine glass. Or, it could be that time has passed, and you simply have nothing in common, and you find your time together awkward and boring as dirt.
Over the past year, I’ve lost my tolerance for fake friends. I realized many of my friendships were ones I kept up with only because the friendships were long, so I felt like I had to keep them going. Until one day when I decided that I simply did not have time to devote to people that I didn’t enjoy being around.
While cutting ties with the people that I no longer felt connected to was a little uncomfortable, it was one of the best moves I could have possibly made, and I urge you to start getting cut-throat about who you allow to make it onto your schedule.
Life is too short to spend a single second with someone who is nasty to you, or someone who drains you so much that a conversation with them makes you feel like you just came off of a 72 hour bender (without any of the fun parts).
I’m not here to tell you to write off anyone that doesn’t always make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, because that’s not real life. Real friends should tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it. But it’s because they love you, not because they secretly kind of like knocking you down a notch.
I encourage you to take stock of the people you allow to take up valuable real estate in your life, and think about how each of them makes you feel.
If you genuinely feel a relationship has run its course, or interacting with someone has become emotionally draining, take a step back and let it fizzle out. I promise you’ll feel so better once you remove some of the dead weight from your life.
You don’t have to formally break up with them. I didn’t do that with anyone. I just got really “busy”, and stopped reaching out, and they got the picture.
But what about those people that you can’t just stop texting? That family member you are forced to see every Christmas, or the friend of your boyfriend that you’d rather stab yourself in the eye than spend five minutes with?
If the relationship is one that you want to attempt to improve, it’s time to get real. Talk to the person about your feelings, and let them know that you’d like something to change. Be sure to have specific examples, and make the conversation about yourself. Try something like, “I feel like you are always making snide comments about me, and it really makes me uncomfortable. I’d love to be able to be in a place where I enjoyed your company, but right now our exchanges are totally frustrating to me. Is there anything you would like to address with me? I hope that we can get to a place where we both enjoy one another’s company!”
Next, expect them not to get it. Call me a cynic, but I believe most people are too clueless about the way they come off (and too into themselves to admit they are in the wrong) that they won’t understand what you’re talking about. There is a good chance they will get defensive, and nothing will change. But hey, at least you know you tried. Plus, there’s always the chance that they do take what you say to heart, and your relationship mends. Which is awesome!
If being honest doesn’t work, or you simply don’t care enough to fix the relationship in the first place, just let it go. Learn to be ok with the way the relationship is, and just be respectful to the person without engaging with them much. Don’t be surprised when they let you down or get under your skin; it’s time to start calling a spade a spade. Once you are away from them, don’t spend an hour talking about the dumb thing they did or rude thing they said. Don’t spend a single second thinking about them. They’re not important enough for you to ruin your day dwelling on. It’s all about learning to control your own thoughts and feelings, when you’re faced with a situation where you have zero control over the actions of someone else.
When I decided it was time to make some cuts to my roster, I thought about each of my friends and thought, “if I never saw her again, would I miss her?” If the answer was no, I decided right there to stop investing time or energy into the friendship.
Cutting back on your friendships might seem drastic. Cold, even. But think of how much more wonderful your great friendships would be if you devoted more time to the people that treat you well, or how happy your kids would be if you spent more time playing Sorry! on the floor in the living room, because you weren’t squeezing in a draining dinner date with that crappy friend of yours!
Imagine how freeing it would be to live in a world where you were surrounded by positive people who loved hearing about your success, and were always there to hold your hand when things got a little messy.
You deserve so much more than fake smiles and smack talking.
If I see one of the people I decided not to invest time into at the grocery store, I greet them with a smile and ask them how they’ve been. Then, I walk away and go about my business. I still will send some of them Christmas cards, and comment on a Facebook post once in a while, and will look back on the good times and smile. Then I smile even wider when I think about how happy I am not to have to hang out with them anymore.
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