Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cut. It. Out.

While Uncle Joey may have always used it as part of his comedy routine, sometimes it comes to mind for me (don't make fun) when I realize that there's something in my life that shouldn't be there.

Have you ever made the decision to cut something out? Or even someone? I'm sure we've all made those New Year's resolutions to stop biting your nails, stop eating so much ice cream, or get rid of that loser boyfriend/girlfriend already. I know I have, at several points in my life, decided that it was time for something unhealthy to go. Unfortunately, for me most of those times it's been a toxic person in my life. Have you ever just realized that someone is no good for you? Sometimes cutting those people out is easier than others, it all depends on the connection you have. Co-workers, a little harder to cut out. But most people, even close friends, can be cut out over time if need-be.

Here are my criteria to determine if it's time to cut someone out.
  1. Do I care? Sounds silly, but honestly, do I? Would I feel a loss without this person in my life? Even if the answer is yes, it might still be healthier to cut the person out. If the answer is no, then you're on your way to a clear decision.
  2. Is the relationship mutually caring and respectful? Do I care as much as they do? Do they care as much as I do? Do I respect this person? Do they respect me? In my opinion, if you don't respect someone -- or if they don't respect you -- it's not a friendship. Cool it down to acquaintance at best, and move on with your real friends.
  3. Is the relationship mutually beneficial? Are both parties enjoying being "friends"? I use quotes because it may not really be much of a friendship at all if you're considering cutting the person out. But there should be a mutual benefit to the friendship. If you get nothing out of it (and I'm not talking about presents, more so if your life is enhanced by this relationship), and especially if you feel as though you give/contribute with no return, call it what it is, not friendship.
Seeing as that I'm not a certified/licensed anything, do not take this as my telling you what to do. That was simply my own criteria that I use when evaluating a friendship. That said, when I've decided it's time to cut someone out actually doing it is the easier part. You gradually stop answering phone calls, stop returning messages, make fewer plans together, avoid the same hang-outs and groups of friends, and before you know it, it would be just plain weird to call that person because you haven't done so in months. Does that guarantee an effective cut of ties? Not necessarily. Depending on the person it can take more or less time. They may get after you for not calling or responding to messages. Sometimes you have to send a cursory email or text so that you're not flat-out ignoring the person, but keep at it and you will eventually see the distance between yourself and the person.

Where is all this coming from, you might ask? It might even make me seem like a mean person to some. But honestly, I've only ever done this for my own health and sanity. There truly are people who bring you down and are just not good for you. There's nothing wrong with creating a distance that makes your life better.

Today, it comes from my recent realization that I need some distance from a few people. But I also realized, that thanks to the world of Facebook, my usual process for reducing someone's presence in my life has been complicated in a multitude of ways. So I'm at a bit of an impasse as far as that goes. Here's an interesting example (yes, I have more than once instance): a while back I got a friend request from someone who seemed vaguely familiar to me. We went to the same high school and same college, but person is a year younger than me and I'm positive we were never "real-life" friends. Perhaps we had a class or two together? But our college majors would have made that unlikely. We had one single mutual friend on Facebook, but that wouldn't have constituted the friend request either. So, who knows why, but I decided to accept the request. The more I looked over the profile, the less I found as to why we would be friends. A few months later I was deleting some people that I never talk to and this person was one of them. I figured, if we've never said a word to each other, the person probably wouldn't even realize that we aren't friends anymore. Wrong. The next day I had a new friend request from that person. Herein lies my fear of deleting people I just don't want to be friends with anymore. Person had to be stalking my page to realize we weren't friends, and that's just scary. I ignored the second friend request.

I will have to get back to you when I discover a solution for the other people I need distance from. Ordinarily, like the example above, I would just delete them. But the truth here is, anything I do on Facebook is going to be obvious to the person I'd like to cut out. If it was someone I never saw in person I'd just do it. If I didn't think they'd go back to our mutual friend to complain, I'd just do it. But alas, it's not that easy.

Solutions, anyone? Similar stories? How did it turn out for you? Do share.


  1. Em-EE. I hope you're not cutting me out!!!!!!

  2. I'm really hoping my name doesn't come up in your housecleaning... I actuall have plenty to contribute to this conversation, but I can almost guarantee that my "ex friend to be" reads your blog just because it's part of something I do. And they've never met you. Saying anything here, even in a comment on someone ELSE'S blog, would stir up trouble. What gets me, and probably gets you too, because you're a normal, modest, humble person, is that people actually take the time to keep up with anything I/we do. My life is so far from followable. Cutting people out is hard. Can I link your post on my blog? This deserves more chatter.

  3. Well all that I can say is that I have just cut some people out on facebook, and although I'm sure they noticed by now, I haven't heard any repercussions yet, and I'm sooo happy. Sometimes it's worth a little possible drama (that may never happen) just for the clean break. Good luck!

  4. I don't picture you having a hard time doing this, haha, I'm sure you'll be just fine, let the whiners whine, what matters to you is saying hasta la vista baby! So be one with Nike and Just Do It!


I love hearing from you!