Did you know that 9 out of 10 Americans regularly suffer from a disease called: “I’m an idiot; I don’t know how to cut someone out?” The 1 remaining American has not yet been born, but research indicates that even the most cautious of human beings are susceptible to this condition.
If you, or a loved one, are in the business of socializing, there’s a high likelihood that you’ve both experienced mild to massive disappointment. That can’t be helped; unless you are willing to dedicate yourself to limiting your interactions solely to the deliveryman, there’s no prevention against toxic people from simply entering your life. This is real life and unlike teenage pregnancy or STDs, science has yet to come up with a condom to catch the sticky icky scummy bacteria of mankind.
So, desperate reader, what can be done after you’ve inevitably caught the bad egg in your basket? Your friendly blogger is here to help you. Whether your “person” is a Gossip Girl-esque frenemy or a potentially psychotic ex, I’m here to guide you through the trials of cutting someone off for good. All I ask is that you entertain the more ethical solutions and not take this advice piece to court. But with a little luck, introspection, and a few shots of Everclear, you too can be rid of the parasite leeching away at your life.
1. Ask yourself the most important question.
My favorite scene of Friends is when Phoebe makes a game out of decision making. To appease beloved Chandler and clueless Joey, she offers them two choices so they can make a split second decision between the two. Before cutting anyone out of your life, for whatever reason, you need to pull a Phoebe with what I’m calling the Grand Existential Question To End Time. So, here goes. Ready?
Who do you value more: Yourself or the person hurting you?
If you chose the former, good for you. That’s all there is to walking away. You have to believe that you’re better than the fountain of abuse that’s been spewing hurt and pain at you. You just are. Absolutely no one on this decaying gas of a planet deserves immeasurable suffering (with, okay, a few exceptions but you’re not one of them).
You are better than that. You have to believe that you’re better than that. The longer that you keep abuse in your life, the more likely you are to think that you deserve it. You don’t. The people in life should unconditionally respect you and have nothing but your best intentions at heart. If they don’t, don’t make them a priority.
If you chose the latter, reread everything I just said above and know that no one is worth cutting yourself down for. Ever.
2. Do not allow yourself to hide from the harsh realities.
A good friend of mine once told me, “Always seeing the brighter side is a form of colorblindness.” That was her kindest way of informing me that I was a blubbering idiot who had a tendency to blatantly ignore warning signs in favor of greener pastors. She wasn’t wrong. I’m a firm believer that it’s written in our DNA to be absolute idiots, especially when it comes to other people. I’m a projector; I like to see what I want, as opposed to the obvious truth. It happened when my former best friend “borrowed” $2000 from me, it happened when my ex boyfriend hooked up with other girls and recorded it, and it’ll probably happen again because we’re all fools of habit.
My advice? Slap yourself across the face. Just do it. Take your hand and apply pressure against your skull in the hope that something will get through it. Stop blinding yourself with visions of what you want to happen and accept that things are uglier than they seem. Hit yourself first because I guarantee you that life will throw worse at you the longer you prolong this bad tendency. Stop making excuses, because here’s the bottom line: your inability to see the truth does not make it any less real. If your relationship is costing you emotional distress, either fix or dump it. If Donald Trump can run for President, you can take control of your life.
3. Know when to suck it up, and walk away.
When I was an awkward prepubescent teenager, I was terrified of the diving board. 10 feet above the ledge feels like a thousand when you’re torn between scaling down the ladder in shame and jumping in the cold abyss of the chlorinated gym water. As I grew older, I learned something valuable that the acrophobic me didn’t know then: at some point, you have to decide. You can’t stay paralyzed on top of this metaphorical plastic board of impending doom forever. Your friends and parents and coaches and strangers waiting their turn can yell at you all they want, but no one can forcibly make you act. That power, however empowering or terrifying, rests solely upon your shoulders. So jump. Or climb. The gym closes at some point and you have to move.
The bullshit of human behavior is less complicated than think pieces or bad poetry will have you believe. If you want someone out of your life, make it happen. Stop lingering around for whatever excuse makes sense to you and get up. Walk away. Slam the door behind you and seal that bitch tight until you can’t break back in even if you tried.
If you have found yourself reading this piece, it’s for a reason.