I love spring. What a perfect time of year for fresh, new beginnings! It’s the perfect time to purge your pantry, for example. (Why is it that despite purging my pantry every spring I STILL find things that expired in 2014 every single time?)
It’s a great time to set goals for the coming season, or clean out your wardrobe. It’s when we make that transition from cold weather gear to warm weather gear. We get our cars serviced. We spring clean.
So why not also use spring as the perfect spring-board (see what I did there?) to clean out your friendships, too?
Since you’re already in cleaning mode, why not take the time to ditch people from your life that no longer deserve space in it?
I can see how that might sound harsh, but here’s the truth: not everyone you know deserves to know you. There are people who weigh you down, judge everything you do, question every decision you make, and you know who they are. Even as you’re reading this, names are popping into your head, amirite?
It’s a good time to take stock of who takes up space and who should no longer be extended that privilege. It’s also important to acknowledge that some of those people might actually be family members, so in some cases it’s easier said than done to ditch them. So how do we deal with them?
I’ll get to that.
But first, here are 6 people you should be ditching from your life: social media and IRL.
DITCH: The Eyebrow Raiser
The eyebrow raiser is constantly raising their eyebrows at decisions you’ve made. They’re essentially someone who doesn’t respect your choices.
Don’t confuse the eyebrow raiser with people who truly have your best interests at heart. This person doesn’t care what you’ve decided is best for you, especially if it inconveniences them, or doesn’t make them happy. That person has no room at your table.
Keepers: Friends who genuinely look out for you, so will genuinely ask questions to ensure you, yourself, are confident in the choices you’re making. People who may not always agree with your choices but will respect them because they recognize that your choices are your own, and they don’t always have a stake in that decision.
DITCH: The Energy Vampire
This is the person that takes a toll on your energy after most interactions. They can be someone who complains all the time, someone who only ever comes to you to vent. They can be someone who is really negative about everything, or never has anything nice to say about or to anyone.
Essentially this is someone that, whenever you interact with them, you come away feeling drained. You come away feeling tired, and like you need a nap or a mental pick-me-up. Someone that, when you see that message notification from them, you cringe a little.
No, not everyone is upbeat and positive all the time. You’ll have days, as will your friends, where you’re just in a bad mood. Or maybe you’re going through a tough period (a few days or even weeks, perhaps).
But energy vampires constantly drain you. All. The. Time. You can go back through chats or texts you’ve had and literally every communication is one where they just bitch about life, the universe, and everything. Cut these people loose, FAST.
Keepers: Friends who will check in when you are having a bad time, and who recognize it as out of character. Friends who feel comfortable venting to you, but also allow you the space to do the same…and then ask “so now what? Where do you go from here?” Essentially, keep friends who will allow you time to wallow, and then support you in moving on and keeping it all in perspective.
DITCH: The Guilt Tripper
Guilt trippers are very good at making you feel bad for putting yourself first.
Don’t feel like going out? Had a long week? Choosing an alternate activity? Guilt trippers are WONDERFUL friends … UNTIL they’re suddenly not the center of your social world. When you choose something else over them, they will make you feel bad for it, usually in a passive-aggressive way… even if they never put you first.
Maybe you’re thick-skinned and don’t allow them to make you feel bad. That’s great. But if you have friendships that require you to grow a thick skin in order to maintain them…my only question is “Why?” Isn’t that energy better spent elsewhere?
Keepers: Friends who understand that as your life changes, so will your priorities. Friends who support your evolution and are cheering on the sidelines for you. Friends who celebrate and encourage self care. And will still be your friends tomorrow.
DITCH: The One-Upper
No matter what you do, or how you feel, they always have done more / better / feel worse.
Had a sleepless night? They had a sleepless week.
Hurt your back? Their back hurts more. So does their leg. And their arm. And their left eyeball.
Had a great day at work? They just got recognized for something at work.
Happy because your kid started walking? Their kid is doing long division.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
When every conversation feels like a competition when you never intended for it to be, cut ties. The jealousy and inadequacy run deep with this one.
Keepers: Friends who celebrate your successes, and commiserate when you don’t feel great. Friends who don’t try to jack your spotlight every single time you interact. Friends who lift you up, and you feel happy to do the same. Friends who allow you the space to be the center of attention, and call you out when it happens a little too often.
If you have friends who agree with literally everything you say and do, agree with every point of view you have, and are always trying to please you…ditch them.
Healthy friendships are relationships where you can be honest with one another, ask questions and disagree with one another…in an open and mature manner.
They’re not doing you any favours by stroking your ego. And the pressure you’ll start to feel around these people doesn’t make it worth the energy.
Keepers: Friends who challenge you in a positive way. Friends who push you to be a better version of yourself by encouraging you to question your thought processes, your perspectives. Friends who help you to grow by calling you out on your own BS.
DITCH: The Committee Member
Committee members are exactly that: they treat their relationships like a committee. They’re the friends who feel like their advice is constantly required, whether asked for or not.
Committee members feel that all decisions should be made in committee. They’re the close cousins of the eyebrow raiser in that they rarely respect your choices, but will also give you advice without ever trying to understand your situation and circumstances.
You know, they know exactly how you should discipline your children when they’ve never raised a child (or raised their last child over 20 years ago).
They know exactly what you should do to lose weight, when they have no idea the personal challenges or health issues you face.
Their advice is one size fits all, and they’re usually the “one” it’s modeled after. Look hard enough and you’ll realize their advice is usually more about them than about you.
Keepers: Friends who make a real effort to understand your situation, your circumstances, your experiences, and (without judgement) will support you in finding solutions that work for you. Not anyone else.
So there you have it. This spring, do a thorough cleaning of not only your environment, but also your relationship space.
Wait, wait, wait…I promised to mention…
And what do you do when you have friends / family who fall into any of these categories and you can’t easily ditch them? You have a couple of options.
First, try to minimize your time with them. Set strict limits on how much interaction you have with them, either in real life or online. If online, unfollow them if you can’t unfriend them. Don’t comment on their posts.
If even that is difficult to do without causing drama, then make it a priority to spend time with “Keepers” after you’ve had to interact with them. If you truly can’t avoid them, make a deliberate effort to spend time with people who fill your bucket. Or schedule in time deliberately to do something that brings you joy or allows you to decompress.
Remember, NO RELATIONSHIP should ever come at the expense of your mental health and well-being. Happy Spring, everyone!
Is there anyone I missed? I’d love to hear what you think of this list! Leave me a comment!