1. The people who have already told you “no.”
At a certain point, even though it means swallowing the razor-tipped pill that is your pride, it’s imperative that you release the person who has already rejected you. Whether it’s the ex who dumped you, or the crush who demonstrated his squirming discomfort over your advances, or the friend-of-a-friend who never calls you back: These are all “no”s, and pretty firm ones. And while we are all the warm, gooey centers of our own universes, these people have lives and rights and boundaries, too. And just as you would feel terrible if someone you’d tried to kindly reject kept coming back, your presence is probably making them question every decision they’ve ever made. (And it makes you feel like absolute, masochistic crap in the process, so there’s that.)
2. The friends who are too interested in the superficial.
I feel like everyone has this one part of the friend group — a tendril of the social spider web, if you will — that just makes you feel like absolute shit. Whether they are ostentatiously about how much money they spend, or are constantly judging you and others on their physical appearance, or are only capable of hanging out together when emotionally lubricated by the copious presence of recreational drugs, some people are just bummers. And there is no point at which you will climb that mountain of tenuous social approval and become sure of their affections towards you. You will always feel like an outsider around those people, and that’s a good thing, because those people are assholes.
3. Bars or clubs that always make you feel awkward.
Make a list of, like, 10 bars and clubs that just make you feel like a steaming plate of poorly-microwaved leftovers when you walk through the door. Post that list next to your mirror, and every morning when you get ready, remind yourself that when you are inevitably presented with the question, “Hey, wanna go to [insert terrible dive bar that is somehow both dirty and ludicrously overpriced here]?” your answer will always be, “Fuck, no.”
4. Dressing room mirrors.
Don’t go there. Don’t let yourself feel the excitement of a potential new pair of jeans slowly melt away as you are overwhelmed with your own reflection under the overhead, slighty-green fluorescent lighting that somehow makes you look at once emaciated and bloated, not to mention thoroughly jaundiced. Don’t walk around for the rest of the day wondering, “How have I been such a swamp creature this entire time and never realize it? The bags under my eyes have cellulite???” Don’t let your self-image be so brutally distorted, especially at a moment that was supposed to have been flattering in order to sell you clothing. Just don’t do it.
5. The extra work that bosses will always want you to take.
The thing about work is that there is always more of it. If you are the person who lets him or herself get cornered on the way out the door and does not have the wherewithal to tell the boss that, no, you can’t do an extra two hours of work tonight because you have some really-important-shit-that-you-just-made-up to do, you kind of deserve it. The first step to getting good at working in a professional environment is learning how to kindly and respectfully say “Abso-fucking-lutely not” when it comes to taking on new responsibility for absolutely no reward. You deserve to watch Breaking Bad and eat Chinese food all night, and you should never let extra work take that away from you.
6. Clothes that make you feel ugly.
There is nothing worse than having to live and breathe and exist as a human for an entire day in an outfit that makes you feel generally disgusting and awful. Sometimes we think it looks cool until we step outside, sometimes it was kind of dark in the apartment and we didn’t see the mustard stain on the sleeve, sometimes it was just laundry day and we had no choice but to put on the tie-dye harem pants and the knit sweater. Regardless of cause, it’s just a situation that is guaranteed to sap the confidence and good spirits from you all day long. Plan out your outfits ahead of time, because no one should have to live through that.
7. Social media contact with people you are jealous of.
His profile is not going to get any less torturous to look at. He’s not miraculously going to go bald, lose his awesome job, and break up with his beautiful-yet-approachable fiancée who is just so nice at parties that you can’t even hate her. There is never going to be any good that comes from hate-following him. Put those people as far out of your mind as you can, because looking at their profiles constantly is the emotional equivalent of ripping off your cuticles with your teeth. It’s painful, and, in the end, only makes you look worse.