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HAPPY NATIONAL UNFRIEND DAY! I feel like I could have made this “holiday” up myself. The last few years especially, I’ve been chopping people out of my life, deleting friends on Facebook, deleting old phone numbers, removing myself from situations I don’t want to be in, and so on and so forth.
I have learned a lot these last few years on this unfriending journey. I’ve done a lot of things right, I’ve done even more things wrong, so why not compile my mistakes and things I’ve learned into a post for anyone who might be ready to go on a similar journey.
ALSO, KEEP IN MIND that everyone has the potential of being a toxic asshole. All of the people I stopped talking to are probably just as much benefited from the removal of me as I am the removal of them. This post is not “I am superior and got rid of toxic people so now I’m amazing“. A lot of personal development and self-reflection has happened, too.
If we take it back to the beginning of this journey, I was in a very unhealthy phase of my life. My mental health was in shambles, my physical health was of no concern of mine, my emotional health was lacking, I was just an overall shell of a hot mess human. The first attempts at “unfriending” people in my life, while absolutely necessary, were handled poorly. Live and learn.
I might make this into a series because I feel like I have a lot to say on the subject of cutting people out of your life, but for today we’re going to stick with how to evaluate your relationships.
I am not an expert on any subject and would hate to even claim to be. Life would be so boring if we knew everything on a subject and there was nothing left to learn. That being said, take my advice as just that, advice, and go forward with your own big, beautiful brain to make this work in your own world. My situation and yours will never be the exact same, so my words will never be exactly fitting for everyone in the world.
I started cutting people out before I was a therapy-goer, but I would recommend finding a therapist, if you’re able to, when embarking on this journey. Having an unbiased person to discuss issues with is a truly invaluable thing, in my opinion. No one in your life is unbiased. Your mom is going to choose your side, so is your best friend, your coworker, or anyone listening to you. Maybe someone doesn’t even care to be listening to your drama and they’re just saying what they think you want to hear. That’s just another reason a therapist is a great thing to look into, again, if you’re able. One day I hope therapy is more available to everyone. Mental health is so important.
1. How do you feel before, during, and after spending time with them?
Shouldn’t this be a no-brainer? You’d think if someone made you feel uncomfortable, you would just instinctively not spend time with them. For me, this was not the case.
If you have a friend who you dread spending time with, who you find yourself making excuses to cancel on or just hoping they don’t follow through with plans, RED FLAG.
If you have a friend, that during the time you’re together, you find yourself feeling anxious, drained, uncomfortable, or ANY negative feeling on a regular basis, RED FLAG.
When you leave the company of a friend, do you feel exhausted, anxious, stressed? RED FLAG.
2. What do you talk about with them?
Most of my friendships were heavy on trash talk, gossip, negativity, and just straight-up mean and rudeness.
I’m telling you right now that if you’re a trash talker, the first thing you can do to help yourself is to stop it. Stop talking about other people, stop gossiping, stop it. It is so hard to stop this, actually. Especially if your social interaction with friends is mostly based on discussing other people’s choices.
Today, the only relationships I entertain are relationships where gossiping is kept to a bare minimum, and everyone in my life knows that. Again, this is a hard toxic trait to quit, so don’t beat yourself up if it takes a little to stick, but once you move past the constant human bashing, wow…it’s literally so freeing for your brain.
My general rule is that if it doesn’t affect me directly, there is almost never a point for me to be talking about it. If I find myself discussing something that has zero influence on myself or someone close to me, then that gets filed under gossip.
I was a BIG shit talker, folks, so I’m not condemning anyone, all I’m saying is to be aware of your conversations, and maybe stop talking about other people.
If you find that a friend cannot respect a gossiping boundary even after you’ve discussed it with them, they might be a person to limit interacting with.
3. How self-aware are they?
SELF-AWARENESS IS EVERYTHING.
Do they take responsibility for their actions? Are they aware of the role they play in other people’s lives? Are they able and open to having a discussion about things that might make them uncomfortable?
These things are all so important. For the people in your life, but also for yourself.
Are you able to discuss how their actions or words may have hurt you? And then have a constructive conversation about it without it turning into an argument?
If you can have an open, unaggressive conversation about these things with someone, that is so healthy. If you find yourself dealing with the opposite, it might be a good idea to reevaluate the relationship with this person.
4. Do they respect your boundaries?
Boundaries for everyone! Respect yours, respect your friends, and life will be peachy. I am forever grateful for learning about setting boundaries and honoring myself in this way.
If you have someone in your life who gets upset when you don’t do what they expect you to, talk about this with them. Talking is great (says the self-proclaimed Queen of Ghosting) but if you find yourself having one-sided, or going nowhere conversations, consider distancing yourself from this person.
Since putting a focus on my own personal boundaries, I’ve noticed my relationships are much stronger and feel much more rewarding than when I allowed myself to put the needs and wants of others before my own.
Saying yes to something to keep someone else happy, when you really want to say NO, is disrespecting yourself.
Friendships are amazing. I would truly be lost without my friends and would never sit here and claim to be a one-woman show. They are there to pick me up when I’m down, cry with me when I’m sad, they know the interworkings of my brain more than I probably do myself. I am not saying have no friends. I am not saying cut someone out at the first slightest disagreement. But you need to make sure you’re happy, feel safe and heard, and that communication is well received, or, in my opinion, the relationship is lacking.
Don’t feel shame for evaluating and removing people according to what you want and how you feel.
If there is something to learn from me, though, is that it is good to think things through a little bit before you act. My own personal development journey has shown me where I’ve made poor decisions, BUT, I do not regret a single thing that got me to where I am today. Everyone I cut out the last half a decade, I’d do it again. Just maybe not so messily, lol.
And it’s been decided, I’m making this into a series. Maybe an email series once I get that up and running again.
Happy UnFriend Day! I hope every relationship in your life is healthy, communication is thriving, and you feel secure with all of the people in your circle! If not, it’s time to say BYEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
Stephanie’s soap box on Social Media
Before I end this post on chopping out real-life people from your….real life, I want to take a moment to discuss SOCIAL MEDIA.
I love social media. Truly, fiercely and fully. But, it’s so damaging to mental health it’s insanity. I am currently on a social media hiatus and deleted my Instagram and Facebook apps off of my phone and it is PURE BLISS to not know what anyone else in the world is doing, besides the people who feel the need to make an effort to be in my life.
If you find yourself consuming a lot of social media feeds, it might be a good idea to take a little break. We were not meant to be connected to everyone 24/7. You can wake up at 1am and find a hundred new posts to read from the last time you opened an app, which sometimes is great and I love seeing what all my friends are doing, but taking social media breaks and taking a couple days, weeks or a month to just be social media-less is so refreshing.
Take photos because they make you happy, not for the sole purpose of posting on Instagram.
Spend that hour you’d be scrolling on your break to have a conversation with a human in real life. It’s wildly satisfying.
I personally notice a significant decrease in my anxiety when I set hard limits or totally stay off social media.
If you have healthy relationships in real life, maybe take some time on this National UnFriend Day to take a break from social media. I bet you won’t regret it.
I shall be back and heavily posting on my stories again in no time though. This is not a forever thing. Just a little brain break. Refreshing and necessary for happy and healthy brain function.
Do you have any relationships you feel you might need to evaluate? Are you going to take a social media break? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. And stay tuned on the series that is going to manifest out of this topic…..