I love listening to Jillian Michaels’ podcasts! They are free on iTunes and I find that I am always motivated after listening to one. I was also lucky enough to get to see her live at the Fox for her “Maximize Your Life” Tour.
One point that she emphasized was getting rid of toxic people from your life. I understand this concept all too well. I was always the girl that had a best girlfriend. Suddenly, as I got older, I noticed that the “friend” would begin to drift. She would become demanding, self-centered and constantly criticizing me. I would feel horrible and give in to her demands to keep her as a friend. But, I realized that the “drifting” usually occurred after I had achieved something; aced a test, gotten a boyfriend, went to a concert.
These girls that I thought were my friends became jealous of my achievements and overall life. They wanted what I had, but were unwilling to work for them. That’s when they began to demand that I give them my full attention and time, probably so that I would not continue to grow as a person.
It took me a while to understand that girls are very jealous creatures. I soon found that I had many friends that were boys. They didn’t feel the need to compete with me or compare our lives. We could truly just be friends and enjoy great conversations (and plenty of laughs).
In high school, I amassed a small posse. This consisted of both boys and girls. Whenever we got together, we had a great time. But, as I got older, my “younger” friends (by about 2 years) began to pull away. I was busy going to school and working part-time, preparing myself to be independent. I soon saw them driving around town, laughing. Having fun without me. I would cry about being left out and wonder what had I done wrong. After about two weeks, I would call the one friend in particular (who was male) and ask if we were still friends. Pretty desperate, right?
Like my husband, I am a person who believes that friendship should actually mean something. If my friends need me, I am there. No matter what, no matter when. So, why was I getting the cold shoulder? My “friend” assured me that everything was fine, of course we were still friends and would then make plans to hang out.
And that would last for a few weeks. Then, I would catch the group out and about again. I later learned from another mutual friend that my group thought I was “boring.” Apparently, it was “cooler” to go to the movies and steal arm rests. Yes, they really did that. I preferred to watch movies at home, play the Wii, go to the mall, order a pizza. In my mind, normal stuff. What these people wanted to do was not grow up.
Then the subject of drinking arose. I do not drink, but I do not label those that do. These “friends” wanted to get drunk every time that they got together. I knew exactly why they were keeping me on the back burner. I could be the designated driver. No, thanks! As hard as it was for me to let them go, I did. No more phone calls to see if we were “okay.” Like an ex-boyfriend, I simply let them walk out of my life.
What happened to me then? Well, I met my husband, got engaged, got married, got a house, adopted dogs, got a great job. In other words, nothing bad came from not holding on to those friendships. And last I heard, these people are STILL doing the same childish things. They have not yet graduated from college, are still living with their parents and have less than fulfilling jobs.
Early in my working world career, I befriended a woman that I thought was going to be my next BFF. Not having one since high school, I was very excited. We laughed every time that we were together. She was even in my wedding as a bridesmaid. But after I got married, I noticed a disturbing trend: she began competing with me. After my husband and I moved into a duplex, she and her boyfriend moved into an apartment. When my husband and I adopted a second dog, she and her boyfriend adopted a dog.
Then, the fights started. Every day, she would come to my desk and ask what I had done over the weekend. One time I told her, “Matt and I went to the Kelly Clarkson concert.” She immediately fired back that that was a waste of my money. Later, she told me that she had spent $150 on tennis shoes! Who is wasting money now? Every time I would tell her what I had done over the weekend, she would offer up what she had done and why it was so much better than my plans had been. What gives? I wasn’t bragging, I was answering her question.
Pretty soon, she stopped coming to my desk because, “Why should I always go to her desk?” She was the one that had started that morning ritual. I could not understand why she was treating me so poorly. And just like in grade school, I pandered to her…for a while. I would go to her desk and pretend to be overly interested in her life. “You bought toilet paper? How wonderful!” But, I was truly getting nothing out of the friendship except for pain.
She only wanted to talk about herself. She viewed everything between the two of us as a competition. I could not continue battling with her every day. Most importantly, she was poisoning my life. I was miserable caving in all the time. One day after work, I went home and unfriended her on Facebook. I was prepared for the backlash, but none came.
When she later found out that I had gotten a job elsewhere, she began to be friendly again. I only took her comments at face value. I did not rush to my computer to friend her again. That chapter of our relationship was over. While I was cordial to her, I was not ready to go back to the abusive situation that I had been in.
Once I let go of these relationships, my life became happier. I no longer had to worry about pleasing any one. I could focus on my husband, house, dogs, dreams. Does it bother me that I don’t have a gaggle of girls to talk with? Occasionally, but that is when I take a good look around me and see how blessed I really am. I do not need a million friends on Facebook or twitter to feel fulfilled. I am happy with the people that are in my life. As for a BFF? I married him.