This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
Recently I sat down and started to look at my contact list…..my goodness what a lot of friends! More than half of them I never see, and some of them I couldn’t even remember who they were!
Amongst the other half, of the people I can’t even remember, are the people from the distant past who you really no longer have anything in common with other than a shared experience a long time ago! For example the parent who you shared a school run with 36 years ago – who was always late and you still send Christmas cards to them. You would really rather send the money to charity, but year after year you send that sole card. Why?
The girl who went to the same boarding school and shared abject misery with you but it was 65 years ago!
Then there are the relations; some, who truth told you never liked , who live miles away and your only link is a common great-grandmother (maybe I should have rephrased that). My great-grandmother certainly was not common, but you know what I mean. And oh yes all those well meaning people that somehow, if you ever meet them again, you greet with, “ooooh it’s been too long….we really must meet …..”. Then, when you do, after the initial excitement, you realise why you have left them alone for so long!
The next group are THE SPECIALS. They are your brilliant, wonderful, sensitive, girlfriends, and sometimes man friends, who you would cross continents for (and indeed I have). The sort of people who have seen you through divorce, illness, misery, and they bring you light, hope and laughter and a reason to get up in the morning. That band of people, (I must not be sexist, I nearly said women), are Trojans but this will be your smallest group. They are so very SPECIAL……. and in the words of my granddaughter they are your BESTIES!
After that come THE CURRENTS, the ones you really like, who are givers and sharers. You are comfortable with this group, and it is huge, and you keep adding to it, and that is joyous too. Sometimes a Bestie develops from a Current.
Finally there is usually a very small group who used to be Trojans, but somehow over the years they have changed. I say they have changed but it may of course be me. My conception of them and their values does not seem to be the same as it used to be. These people are people you have had fun with over the years, and you would have done anything for them, but suddenly, when you think about it, the friendship seems to be one way. Your heart sinks when they ring you. You, of course, still do all the things you used to as we are creatures of habit and you still make excuses for them and try to help and be kind.
There are givers and takers in this world and sometimes people who used to be givers become takers. Even worse than that they have become completely self absorbed, sorry for themselves and NEGATIVE. Now if there is one thing that I hate most in the world it is negativity as it is toxic and does nobody any good. The problem is when someone becomes negative, setting aside illness of course, there is no helping them. It is what I call the ‘yes but’ syndrome. However much you try to get them to see the other side, the positive side, the bright side, they are beset with doubts and fears and negative comments. It is deeply frustrating for you as you get knocked back and however creative you are there is always a ‘yes but’. Of course we all try to help, we think of a thousand reasons to forgive, help, and encourage.
I decided action was needed so I decided to CULL.
When you get to a point and your conscience tells you that you can do no more, rise above it and withdraw YOUR precious energy . I feel really strongly about this especially at my advancing years. I want to spend my time, thought and creativity with positive open-minded people. I want to be spurred on by their thoughts, to listen to their new takes on life and events. I absolutely love having friends much younger than me. I love my deep and serious talks with my grandson, that is when he is in the mood, as his young thoughts are precious to me. I go home and then mull them over. I want to know what the young bubbling brains are thinking.
I do not want my energy leeched so, with that in mind, I culled two leeches in my life last year. How did I do it? Gently. I somehow was just never available. I didn’t ring and then I realised it Had always been me doing the ringing! I didn’t suggest dates or expeditions, in fact I just went quiet. It hasn’t been difficult as we had just drifted apart. I don’t miss them and probably they don’t miss me My conscience misses them so then I give my head a strong talking to, save my energy I tell myself. They will have found someone else to moan to and I, for one am ecstatic at that thought.
So I say to you, wicked old BackPacking Granny that I am, if you have some old, out of date, drab and energy-draining personalities in your life who are more than needy just DELETE THEM……gently.