5 Rules for Cutting Negative People Out of Your Life (and, More Importantly, Never Looking Back)
I don’t like drama. Who does? Unnecessary cattiness in real life is not fun after college for most people.
Fun fact: If someone tells you they’re against, allergic to, or just straight-up not OK with drama within the first five minutes of meeting them, they’re lying to you and are the exact opposite. I have met one or two people EVER who are the exception to this rule, but they are few and far between.
There was a woman I worked with when I first arrived at my new job this past October, who was also fairly new. Let’s call her Karen.
The first day I met Karen, she was friendly, outgoing, and bubbly. We shared an office, and I figured we’d get along fine (and, for the most part, we did). But one of the first things she told me was, “Ugh, I HATE drama! I have two kids and I’m just SO busy with them, like, who has the time!?”
Guess who was let go a month and a half later for her BS? Spoiler: It wasn’t me.
Not that I am anywhere near perfect. I have my fair share of negative thoughts and outbursts, and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone has cut me from their life because I just didn’t jive with them.
But I’ve also learned in my almost 30 years what I’m willing to tolerate and what I’m not. And I finally reached the point where I’ve had to cut out a couple people because they’ve contributed more bad than good to my life. It’s difficult, because generally I’m not an asshole, and I think people come into our lives for reasons and shit. But when you can look at yourself and be like, “I’m not a bad person, so why do I feel that way?”, attribute it to a single person or group of people, and you realize it’s something that happens more often that you’d like, something’s gotta give.
I’ve been there, and after going back and forth for a while, I think I’ve finally conquered it. So without further ado, here are Jen’s five tips for trimming the fat from your life without letting it consume you:
1. Evaluate your relationship.
First and foremost, step back and think about why you’re considering cutting contact with this person. Some questions I’ve asked myself are:
- Has this person truly wronged me, or am I taking their words/actions to heart when I shouldn’t?
- Is there something going on behind the scenes that may be affecting our relationship (i.e., is this a newer issue that could have nothing to do with me)?
- Is this an issue we can work out together?
- Can I trust him/her to keep my best interests at heart?
- Does he/she respect me (and vice versa)?
- Do I really think he/she enjoys taking digs at me/making me feel bad?
- How do I feel about myself when connecting with him/her?
- What does he/she contribute to my life that I would be lost without?
It’s also important to consider your physical relationship. For example, I’d never personally cut off contact with anyone in my family unless they REALLY did me wrong, like started a petition to stop Ferrero from manufacturing Nutella. Luckily something that serious hasn’t happened, but if it did I might reconsider. Think about how long you’ve known this person, what they might be dealing with internally, and the pros and cons of keeping them around.
2.Trust your gut.
Sorry to get all Mr. Feeny on you, but the one person who knows yourself best is you. Even on days when you’re not feeling at your best, you know more than anyone what will make you feel better and what’s bothering you in the first place. If you feel like someone is toxic to your well-being, that’s enough. You don’t have to tell anyone your reasons for not wanting to be associated with someone. All the justification in the world will not change that, in the same way that someone who is seemingly perfect in every way still isn’t the one for you if there’s no chemistry. You don’t owe anyone anything, and you deserve to have peace of mind and a positive environment devoid of people who bring you down, deliberately or not.
3.Don’t just unfriend or unfollow -- (and stick to it).
Social media can be such a bitch. It’s so easy to passive aggressively say whatever you want and then say, “Oh, that wasn’t about you! Omg I’m SO sorry you thought that!”
Back to #2: Trust your gut. Do you feel like something was aimed at you? Regardless of whether it was, do you feel like the fact that it might be is personally affecting you? Guess what -- real friends won’t make you feel that way. Ever.
The block feature exists for a reason. Use it. Even if the issues you have with the person you’re cutting out aren’t social-media related, it’s not worth the annoyance of seeing something that person posts. Facebook, especially, is passive-aggression heaven. Blocking fixes that easily.
Also? When you’re done, you’re done. You made the decision to make your life better, and you turned that decision into an executable action. So don’t snoop around and ask how that person is doing, what they’re up to, etc. It doesn’t concern you anymore (and that’s OK).
4. Confide in people close to you…and be prepared to lose other friends in the process.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I mean, you’re allowed to talk about it. Letting go of a relationship, even a bad one, is difficult — especially if you’re ripping it off like a Band-Aid. Talk to people you love and trust if the process is difficult for you. They will support your decision.
Also keep in mind that you might see some unfriending, unfollowing, etc. that you might not expect. That’s obviously a very surface-level depiction, but other people will drop off the face of the earth (or, as I like to think of it, move over and make room for better relationships).
It might be hard at first, but do your best to separate the character of the person you’re cutting out from why you’re eliminating their presence in your life. Honestly, there are most likely a ton of awesome things about that person, and bad-mouthing them or insulting their character is going to get you nowhere except back into a negative state of mind that cutting the person out was supposed to help free you from in the first place. Name-calling, eye-rolling, gossiping, etc. defeats that purpose. Just nod politely if the person is mentioned. Remember that you’re taking care of yourself first and foremost, and that is what matters.
Have you guys ever had to cut the cord on someone? How did you handle it? Looking back, was it the right decision?