I often say I know a ton of people, but have few friends. Over the years I have zipped through and ‘Cleaned House’ numerous times. I firmly believe that the people you choose to surround yourself will affect the way you view yourself, your life, your choices and your overall attitude towards well, everything. As we grow older we somehow get the notion that our friends and those around us have less of an influence on our behavior. We associate our 12 year old selves with being young and impressionable, but our 32 year old selves as somehow magically immune to the behaviors around us.
“Only hang around people that are positive and make you feel good. Anybody who doesn’t make you feel good kick them to the curb and the earlier you start in your life the better. The minute anybody makes you feel weird and non included or not supported, you know, either beat it or tell them to beat it.” – Amy Poehler
This quote has become a life rule for me. In general I’m pretty flexible, and tend to let a lot roll off my shoulders with a shrug and a “whatever”, but there are certain hard rules that are the bottom line. They do not get crossed, and if they do there’s no returning. Shitty friends, family members, co-workers or associates is just one of those things. Over the years I have quietly deleted away (both in person and online) people I don’t feel bring anything positive to my life. While there have been many people who have been removed who I sometimes miss – when a particular song comes on and brings back dance party memories, book sharing or hilarious road trips, at the end of the day I am comfortable with my choices, and know that because of my curb kicking my life is filled with only the best for me.
This time of year I tend to see a lot of status’ updates and picture shares on my various social media sites about surrounding yourself with wholesome people. I have no doubt this is in association with everyone’s New Year’s Resolutions for this year to be the year; the most stellar of all years. But all of these proclamations has got me thinking. Why have these people have spent the past 12 months putting up with crappy people and/or their crappy behavior. Why, as we enter the new year, now suddenly they feel like only positive people should be in their lives. I personally feel this should be a 365 days a year type of a deal. Emotionally cleaning house is a continuous process, and it’s not always a fun one. But sometimes the best things come out of being a little uncomfortable.
Having this type of outlook means that I am particularly picky about who I share my life with. One could say I have a commitment problem, and they’d probably be right. I cautiously work my way into relationships, and don’t feel guilty if one doesn’t work out. I view making friends like dating – you need to test the waters, and can’t be suckered in to feeling obligated to be someone’s friend. I certainly hope I would not date someone because I felt bad, and I’m not about to be a friend for the same reason.
Quality over Quantity could also be considered a Life Rule for me. I’ve realized over the past few years that this rule of thumb has unintentionally been put into play in pretty much every area of my life – my closet, make up drawer, kitchen cupboards and most importantly relationships. I feel you will be far better off having a couple really great, amazing people in your life who are supportive, encouraging, make you laugh, smile, cry, push your boundaries and bring out the best in you (and vice versa) than you will be having a social calendar filled up every night resulting in you spending time with a lot of less than perfect for you people. Sure, this means I do spend more time alone than I would if I had lower expectations, but I also genuinely appreciate and love the people I do spend time with. I come home from spending time with my current friends feeling pretty damn good. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about?
A couple nights ago while driving home from TOPS with a friend, she was telling me a story about a kind of shitty friend she has – always blowing her off, not returning texts unless he’s in the mood to etc. etc. And I told her to just stop talking to him. I say this because what results in being blown off, or feeling constantly let down by someone is you end up blaming yourself. The frustrations you feel towards that person end up turning into self doubt. What’s wrong with me? Why wouldn’t they want to hang out with me? What did I do wrong? And really, as much as you might like someone, or find them hilarious or fun to be with, at the end of the day you have to look at the big picture. And the big picture of these kinds of people is that they just aren’t that good for you.
Years ago I broke up with someone I was dating, and not because I didn’t genuinely love spending time with this person, or no longer liked them. In fact, I really liked this person. The issue was they weren’t willing to make time for me, or make me any sort of priority, ever. Which left me feeling pretty crappy. So matter how much I liked this person, at the end of the day I just liked and respected me more. While I’ve always associated this thought to a romantic relationship, it can easily be translated into friendships, or any sort of relationship you embark on.
It truly is impossible to have a healthy and happy life, or be completely satisfied when the people around you are toxic and leaving you emotionally and mentally unhealthy. So, if you’re one of those people who has decided to emotionally clean house, it will be the best thing you will ever do. If you’re someone who already has, good for you. Life is way too short to surround yourself with anything except pure joy.