While experiencing any type of change, I’ve learned that change can be embraced easier if I’m not alone. For me, that meant relying on my family and my boyfriend while the entire world around me was changing.
Growing up, I wasn’t the best at picking out ideal friends for myself. I would pick out the kids who seemed to be having the most fun and forgot about the rules every once in a while. It just looked like a blast. Before each playdate with them, my mom would ask me, “Are you sure you want to play with them?” At 10, it seemed like a silly question, one with an obvious answer. Ten years later, while going through a purge of negativity in my life, I began asking myself that beloved question, only this time the answer wasn’t always so obvious.
Moving into my twenties riled me to the core and caused a ripple effect of changes. The first thing I wanted to accomplish was to narrow down and truly value the people I want to surround myself with as I continue to make these changes.
If you’re terrible at making painful decisions like I am then hopefully these tips will help redefining your support system less painful.
Purge social media
As much as you might THINK you care about all of your high school classmates, go through your friends lists on all social media. Yes, that includes your beloved Facebook friends list. It might seem rude, but I unfriended people on their birthdays. The way I chose to look at it was if I wouldn’t wish them a happy birthday, then we probably aren’t friends outside of the virtual world and don’t need to be friends on the Internet. Obviously, it might be easier for some to go through your friends list in one sitting. The method of friends-list-purging doesn’t really matter, as long as it gets done. Trust me, you’ll feel great!
Reevaluate real life friendships
No one wants to do this. No one. But once you step back and actually look at the relationships you’ve invested in over various periods of time, it’s easy to see whether that was time well spent. For me, it was easy to see, but incredibly painful to come to terms with. For some, like myself, this entails going back to your roots and relying on your family and significant other/spouse. But for others that will mean, realizing that those people from work who bring you back from Friday evening happy hour completely wasted, aren’t necessarily the best people to keep around. This step takes a lot of introspection and asking yourself, “Am I happy?” Depending on how you answer, you may realize that maybe turning a blind eye to rude commentary and unsupportive people isn’t the best course of action.
Understand It’s okay to be alone
This has been the hardest step for me and I haven’t completely come to terms and accepted it. After purging online “friendships” and maybe toning it back on some real life ones, you will feel alone. We came into this world alone (unless you’re a multiple birth…) and we will leave it alone (usually). At the end of the day, after you climb in bed, but before you close your eyes, you might realize that you don’t have as big of a friend group as you previously did or you only received twenty ‘happy birthday’ wishes on Facebook. Here’s something else you need to realize: that’s okay. It’s not about quantity. Yes, your mom was right all those years ago. It’s never been about quantity, quality is what matters.
At the end of the day, it’s important to know that change isn’t easy, quick or painless. Change is necessary. Today, marks the day that you begin embracing the change that is necessary in your life.