Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Cleaning House

Character is so largely affected by association, that we cannot afford to be indifferent as to who or what our friends are.

-- Anonymous

'W here's Mary?" Carolyn asked as revelers began to arrive.

"Not invited," I said.

"What? How can you just not invite her? You guys are, like, best friends, aren't you?" She was flummoxed.

"I'm cleaning house, and she's on the list," I said. "It's no big deal. There are plenty of people coming. If she shows up, I'm sure I'll cope."

"Cleaning house" is a term I picked up from a self-help book during my "quest for emotional independence" phase. For me, the phrase means reevaluating the people in my life and determining whether or not I want them to be there. When I lived in L.A. I met scores of prospective friends -- and found myself cleaning house every three months. It's true I'd hung out with Mary frequently, partying hard, staying up late at night, high out of our minds, analyzing our lives by picking apart people we knew. Then one day something changed and I thought: I don't want this person in my life anymore.

Lately, I've been in this pensive state of mind, redefining what friendship means to me, and discovering there are fewer people than I had imagined who fulfill my felicitous, symbiotic-friendship need.

Whether it is because I have matured or am busier than usual, I'm hyperaware that I do not want to waste my time on one-sided relationships; I'm ready to clip back the bush in order to allow selected buds to thrive and bloom. I don't have to spend time with people I don't care for -- time-wasters, energy vampires, my dad would say. "Black holes, devouring every bit of time and energy you have, and giving only blackness in return." Perhaps it's not that dramatic, but there's still some serious spring cleaning to be done.

The first step in my process of evaluation is to ponder the traits my friends can expect of me: kindness, laughter, insight, and inspiration. Certain people float above the rest -- good friends who exhibit all of these traits and more. Then another handful of names comes to mind: fun folks I want to have around but maybe not every day. Finally, I'm left with a few names that don't fit anywhere; thick grains left at the bottom that refused to emulsify. These are the people I must scrub away.

Just as you need different cleaning products for different areas of your home, various methods must be employed to wipe from your life different breeds of toxic people. Blunt honesty works best for those who betray.

"I am no longer your friend," I said to someone over lunch a few years ago. Prior to this eye-opening meal, she had begun to act strangely. I'd overheard her lying about inconsequential things, witnessed her exacerbating tense situations by playing people against each other, and other such juvenile behavior. The day it all came to a head -- when I caught her lying to me -- I felt betrayed and abandoned. For two days, I mourned the friendship as though I'd lost a sister. The following week I told her, "I am no longer your friend. I don't even care what the truth is anymore." And that was it.

When I outgrow a friend -- when our values diverge drastically but no actual offense has been committed -- I casually transition the person from the revered spot of "friend" to the distanced spot of "acquaintance." My ex-friend Lori is a perfect example. We were tight for two years, and then she started saying things like, "Oh, thank Goddess you're here" and changed her name to something ridiculous, like High Priestess Lilith Pashmina. In my opinion, she had gone off the proverbial deep end. I have no interest in putting up with anyone who takes herself and her newly discovered pseudo-spirituality/sexuality/lifestyle too seriously.

You can't come right out and say, "I think you're full of shit" to someone you outgrow because chances are a friend who has convinced herself that her behavior is on par with the divine path of righteousness rather than what it is -- self-gratifying, egotistical nonsense -- is not likely to come to her senses anytime soon.

What you can do is stop putting forth any effort. I wouldn't care if I were to attend a function and run into Lori -- or whatever the fuck her name is nowadays. I'd smile, go through the social pleasantries, and make my escape. She has thus been effectively cleansed from the clutter of my mental living room and placed neatly on a shelf in the garage.

There is nothing wrong with choosing your company. Those who are not selective about whom they let into their lives tend to waste the most time and experience the most drama. One year, I was trapped in obligating circumstances for weeks at a time, and I have sworn never again to put myself in such a position.

"Sure, you can stay with me" is the stupidest sentence one can say to one who is an insidious parasite. Helpless people are -- you guessed it -- impossible to help. After being put out time and again, after bitching to others about how so-and-so is ruining my life with her dependence on me, I am able to sense an oncoming leech from a distance, and my tolerance for them is nil.

The words "I was never able to do BLANK because BLANK" are enough to make me delete someone's info from my cell phone. I have no room for self-proclaimed martyrs. When cleaning house, it is always ridding myself of perpetual victims that takes the most elbow grease. Because of too many exasperating experiences with "victims," I spot them quickly and avoid them like a bad hair day.

The way I see it, if you are in unhappy circumstances, chances are you're the one who put yourself there, and you're the one who's going to have to lift yourself out. Constantly moaning for sympathy and singing the "Oh, poor, pitiful me" song is not going to effect a change in your life situation. If I see you making a serious effort to help yourself up again, I will be the first one by your side to lend an arm.

I had one friend tell me for years how much she hated her life. Despite my attempts to help her fix it, she continued to make poor decisions, constantly putting herself in less than desirable situations. Why do you bother? I asked myself. Good question, I answered, and stopped bothering.

The overly needy can be soaked up with the same sponge as martyrs and are just as easy to spot. Unfortunately, I sometimes fall into this category. Despite the quality of friendship I can offer, I am what you might call "high maintenance." For this reason, I wouldn't be surprised if many people have cleaned me out of their lives, unwilling to be part of the audience I occasionally require. This is always for the best. I can't stand to be around someone like me for too long. I'm a talkative bitch, and the spotlight can only shine on one person at a time. I can sit back and watch, but if someone is hoarding, monopolizing, and annoying, I will not hesitate to produce a cane from the side curtain and pull the pest off my stage.

Honestly, I'm astonished that people actually want to be my friend. But for those who do, I will strive to meet my own requirements and offer laughter, kindness, insight, and inspiration. As for the nonreciprocal few, it's time to fetch the cleanser and clean house.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Bobbi and Mark sleep above the lions in Alpine

Lions Tigers & Bears is not a zoo
Next Article

Paw-Micon, Binge

Events July 7-July 8, 2020

Character is so largely affected by association, that we cannot afford to be indifferent as to who or what our friends are.

-- Anonymous

'W here's Mary?" Carolyn asked as revelers began to arrive.

"Not invited," I said.

"What? How can you just not invite her? You guys are, like, best friends, aren't you?" She was flummoxed.

"I'm cleaning house, and she's on the list," I said. "It's no big deal. There are plenty of people coming. If she shows up, I'm sure I'll cope."

"Cleaning house" is a term I picked up from a self-help book during my "quest for emotional independence" phase. For me, the phrase means reevaluating the people in my life and determining whether or not I want them to be there. When I lived in L.A. I met scores of prospective friends -- and found myself cleaning house every three months. It's true I'd hung out with Mary frequently, partying hard, staying up late at night, high out of our minds, analyzing our lives by picking apart people we knew. Then one day something changed and I thought: I don't want this person in my life anymore.

Lately, I've been in this pensive state of mind, redefining what friendship means to me, and discovering there are fewer people than I had imagined who fulfill my felicitous, symbiotic-friendship need.

Whether it is because I have matured or am busier than usual, I'm hyperaware that I do not want to waste my time on one-sided relationships; I'm ready to clip back the bush in order to allow selected buds to thrive and bloom. I don't have to spend time with people I don't care for -- time-wasters, energy vampires, my dad would say. "Black holes, devouring every bit of time and energy you have, and giving only blackness in return." Perhaps it's not that dramatic, but there's still some serious spring cleaning to be done.

The first step in my process of evaluation is to ponder the traits my friends can expect of me: kindness, laughter, insight, and inspiration. Certain people float above the rest -- good friends who exhibit all of these traits and more. Then another handful of names comes to mind: fun folks I want to have around but maybe not every day. Finally, I'm left with a few names that don't fit anywhere; thick grains left at the bottom that refused to emulsify. These are the people I must scrub away.

Just as you need different cleaning products for different areas of your home, various methods must be employed to wipe from your life different breeds of toxic people. Blunt honesty works best for those who betray.

"I am no longer your friend," I said to someone over lunch a few years ago. Prior to this eye-opening meal, she had begun to act strangely. I'd overheard her lying about inconsequential things, witnessed her exacerbating tense situations by playing people against each other, and other such juvenile behavior. The day it all came to a head -- when I caught her lying to me -- I felt betrayed and abandoned. For two days, I mourned the friendship as though I'd lost a sister. The following week I told her, "I am no longer your friend. I don't even care what the truth is anymore." And that was it.

When I outgrow a friend -- when our values diverge drastically but no actual offense has been committed -- I casually transition the person from the revered spot of "friend" to the distanced spot of "acquaintance." My ex-friend Lori is a perfect example. We were tight for two years, and then she started saying things like, "Oh, thank Goddess you're here" and changed her name to something ridiculous, like High Priestess Lilith Pashmina. In my opinion, she had gone off the proverbial deep end. I have no interest in putting up with anyone who takes herself and her newly discovered pseudo-spirituality/sexuality/lifestyle too seriously.

You can't come right out and say, "I think you're full of shit" to someone you outgrow because chances are a friend who has convinced herself that her behavior is on par with the divine path of righteousness rather than what it is -- self-gratifying, egotistical nonsense -- is not likely to come to her senses anytime soon.

What you can do is stop putting forth any effort. I wouldn't care if I were to attend a function and run into Lori -- or whatever the fuck her name is nowadays. I'd smile, go through the social pleasantries, and make my escape. She has thus been effectively cleansed from the clutter of my mental living room and placed neatly on a shelf in the garage.

There is nothing wrong with choosing your company. Those who are not selective about whom they let into their lives tend to waste the most time and experience the most drama. One year, I was trapped in obligating circumstances for weeks at a time, and I have sworn never again to put myself in such a position.

"Sure, you can stay with me" is the stupidest sentence one can say to one who is an insidious parasite. Helpless people are -- you guessed it -- impossible to help. After being put out time and again, after bitching to others about how so-and-so is ruining my life with her dependence on me, I am able to sense an oncoming leech from a distance, and my tolerance for them is nil.

The words "I was never able to do BLANK because BLANK" are enough to make me delete someone's info from my cell phone. I have no room for self-proclaimed martyrs. When cleaning house, it is always ridding myself of perpetual victims that takes the most elbow grease. Because of too many exasperating experiences with "victims," I spot them quickly and avoid them like a bad hair day.

The way I see it, if you are in unhappy circumstances, chances are you're the one who put yourself there, and you're the one who's going to have to lift yourself out. Constantly moaning for sympathy and singing the "Oh, poor, pitiful me" song is not going to effect a change in your life situation. If I see you making a serious effort to help yourself up again, I will be the first one by your side to lend an arm.

I had one friend tell me for years how much she hated her life. Despite my attempts to help her fix it, she continued to make poor decisions, constantly putting herself in less than desirable situations. Why do you bother? I asked myself. Good question, I answered, and stopped bothering.

The overly needy can be soaked up with the same sponge as martyrs and are just as easy to spot. Unfortunately, I sometimes fall into this category. Despite the quality of friendship I can offer, I am what you might call "high maintenance." For this reason, I wouldn't be surprised if many people have cleaned me out of their lives, unwilling to be part of the audience I occasionally require. This is always for the best. I can't stand to be around someone like me for too long. I'm a talkative bitch, and the spotlight can only shine on one person at a time. I can sit back and watch, but if someone is hoarding, monopolizing, and annoying, I will not hesitate to produce a cane from the side curtain and pull the pest off my stage.

Honestly, I'm astonished that people actually want to be my friend. But for those who do, I will strive to meet my own requirements and offer laughter, kindness, insight, and inspiration. As for the nonreciprocal few, it's time to fetch the cleanser and clean house.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

The optional surcharge of Trust Restaurant Group

A dollar oyster happy hour and four percent living wage fee
Next Article

Forget bike lanes or sidewalks in rural San Diego County

Supervisors steer around anti-car measure
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close