I spent most of my teenage years being a people pleaser, surrounded by lots of “friends” that constantly argued, back-stabbed and hated on one another. I thought that to be happy I had to be surrounded by lots of people, so I desperately clung on to the friendships that I assumed were as good as it was gonna get.
It was only as I hit my 20s that I realised happiness isn’t relative to the quantity of friends that I have, it’s enhanced by the quality of the people that I choose to pursue friendships and relationships with.
In the past I’ve been a bit of a pushover, dealt with friends that make digs at me, workplaces that make me feel undervalued and people that take so much from me but give nothing in return. These are all valid and totally acceptable reasons to cut someone out of your life.
WHAT DO I GAIN?
In any kind of relationship, there’s only so much you can give without receiving something in return. I like to think that I’m a giving person in most respects – time, gifts, support, advice, food (maybe, if I love you) – and I don’t give because I expect someone to do the same. However, there’s people that I’ve come across in life that I’ve classed as good friends, who have used me as a shoulder to cry on, borrowed money for lunch, ranted down the phone to me for hours. And this has been totally okay with me for years, until I needed the same, until I’m the person who needs support and love.
I’m sure most of you have experienced this situation, when someone doesn’t really care for what you have you say. You tell them you’ve had a bad day, they go on to agree with you and tell you all of the reasons why their day sucked, and don’t bother to ask you what’s wrong. You ask them for advice with a problem you’re facing and they’re too wrapped up in their own world to listen to you. CUT THEM OUT. Don’t let someone make you feel that you’re not worthy of their time and friendship like they are to you. You’re better than that, and there’s plenty of people in the world who will want and deserve you in their lives.
AM I A FAILURE?
Ever had a friend tell you that you look too chubby to wear something, that they don’t like the amount of makeup that you wear, that you’re stupid because you don’t know as much as them? I have. Ever had someone make you feel so bad about yourself that it has a negative effect on your physical or mental health? I have. Or have you ever had someone tell you that you’re never going to achieve your dreams because you’re not talented enough, skinny enough, confident enough? People like this deserve 0% of your life. I’ve tried to hold on to relationships with these kind of people for years because I thought they were right about me. How STUPID is that? Surround yourself with people who lift you up, not drag you down.
ARE WE A GOOD FIT?
Opposites attract – apparently. While this is true in some cases, it’s often hard to maintain a good relationship with someone completely different to you, or someone that you’re not compatible with. Now there is a difference between being similar to someone and being compatible with them. You can be compatible with an individual even if you’re complete opposites, but your differences have to compliment each other. For example, I have a friend that doesn’t drink alcohol, dislikes going out and would much rather stay in with a glass of warm milk (Larnie – I’m talking about you yes). While at uni, me and my other close friends loved to go out for drinks and a dance, so we would. We made our differences work because we’re compatible friends. We enjoy each others company and love one another for our differences. So we’d often end up drinking lots of wine in the flat while Larnie sipped on her warm milk, and then she’d head off to bed and we’d catch the bus into town. It worked. And five years on, we’re all still friends. And that’s because we never pushed Larnie to step outside of who she is. We love her because of her differences, not despite of them. Never put up with someone trying to change who you are to make you more like them. If you’re happy with yourself, don’t change because someone thinks their way of doing something is better. If the friendship doesn’t work, don’t force it.
It’s also okay to cut someone out of your life because you’ve drifted apart and the friendship no longer works. Maybe a couple of years ago you were the best, most compatible friends, but now you feel like you’re trying to force what you used to have and it just isn’t there anymore. We’re constantly growing and evolving, and just because you were a good fit for one another previously, doesn’t mean it’s always going to be like that. This doesn’t mean go and delete all of your phone contacts that you haven’t texted in a week. I’m suggesting that if you feel like you’re wasting your time and energy trying to make a relationship work, that just isn’t what it used to be and doesn’t have the potential to get back there, make room in your life for new people and new adventures.
There’s a million other reasons why it’s okay to get rid of the negativity in your life and fill it with people that bring out the best in you, these are just a few that I’ve experienced over the past couple of years. I feel like I’m at a place where each person I spend my time with brings happiness to my life, and I no longer feel the need to fill my time with as many friends as possible. Quality over quantity, always.
How do you feel about this topic? Do you cling onto toxic people?