1. People who you have a history with — but not a present. You don’t have to keep people in your life, simply because they were important to you when you were younger. People grow. People change. If you’re completely different now that you were younger, if you’ve grown apart, it’s okay to part ways. It doesn’t mean you hate them. It doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten about the good times you’ve shared with them. It simply means you don’t fit into each other’s lives anymore. And you can always reconnect in the future if that changes.
2. People who make you feel worse about yourself. Your friends and family members are allowed to call you out when you screw up. It’s healthy for them to be honest with you. However, they shouldn’t be constantly harping on your flaws and making mean jokes and causing you to feel shitty about yourself. These people are supposed to be your biggest supporters. They are supposed to believe in you. They are supposed to remind you of your value. If they’ve only been making your self-doubts worse, then it’s probably time to put them in your rearview.
3. People who have wildly different views than you on basic beliefs. Opposites attract. You don’t need to hang out with clones of yourself. It’s important to surround yourself with different types of people. However, if they disagree with you on big political issues, like whether or not certain people deserve to have rights, it’s okay if you can’t look past your differences. It’s okay if you need to walk away from them in order to stay sane. It’s okay if you’re choosing your morals over their friendship.
4. People who absolutely refuse to admit when they are wrong. It’s hard to have a conversation with someone who is too stubborn to admit when they aren’t sure what the hell they’re talking about. It’s even harder to stay friends with someone who refuses to apologize when they mess up. If someone is too immature to take responsibility for their actions or have a serious, adult conversation with you, it’s okay if you’ve had enough. It’s okay if you want to leave them behind.
5. People who repeatedly cross boundaries. Your friends and family are only human. They are bound to make mistakes. If you kick them out of your life the first time they mess up, you’re going to be pretty lonely. However, it’s better to be lonely than surrounded by people who disrespect your boundaries. If the behavior becomes a pattern, even after you tell them how much it bothers you, there’s nothing wrong with walking away. In fact, that’s exactly what you should do.
6. People who you don’t want around you anymore. You don’t have to have a huge falling out with someone in order to justify walking away. If you just don’t enjoy their company, if you don’t get excited to see them, if you don’t have any interest in pursuing the friendship, then you’re allowed to walk away. You’re allowed to do whatever makes you feel the most comfortable. It’s not selfish. It’s smart.