When I was growing up, my friends meant everything to me, and, likely in service of my ego, I had lots of them. I figured it would help me live a happier life. I had childhood friends. Skatepark friends. High school friends. Music scene friends. Older friends. Younger friends.
The bigger, the better, right?
As university approached, I was confronted with the sudden realization that most of us were about to go to different cities, experience new environments, and meet new people. I was confident my friendships would survive this challenge.
But more times than I can remember, my dad would shit on my parade.
He’d say to me, “Son, your high school friends won’t be your friends forever.” His assumption was based on his own experiences. I would relent. He clearly didn’t have friendships as strong as mine. Each time we had this conversation, I’d shout back with something like, “Shut up, Dad, you don’t know that!” Then I’d run off to my room.
I’ve lived many years of life since, and I have to admit that my father was correct. Today, I can count on one hand the number of true friends I have.
And I couldn’t be happier about that.
It didn’t quite happen by circumstance, however. A few years back, I decided to cut my list of friends way down, and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. Now I have a handful of people who I’m fully invested in, and I know they feel the same towards me.
When it comes to cutting down a friends list, it can be a daunting task. Even with people you’ve drifted away from, there’s always that one experience, that “one time,” that you find hard to let go of.
But there are certain people you can swipe off that list with ease, and in doing so, you can live a happier life.
Do Away With the Drama Llamas
A Drama Llama is defined as “an overly dramatic person, or one who causes non-dramatic situations to become overly dramatic because they feel like everyone needs to be as dramatic as they are.”
While it’s arguably quite fun to have a lot of drama in your teenage life, it’s the last thing you need as you progress through your 20s and beyond.
Sure, it was exciting to make a big deal of everything as a teenager, who cheated on who, who drank too much cheap alcohol and went home crying at 4 am (that’s me), who didn’t text who back. But, when life gets a little more serious, and your priorities shift, you’ll find your life will contain its own drama, and you don’t need the shit of others you don’t care about to overwhelm you.
I realized I had a few friendships that revolved around drama. Every meet up led to some trouble or problem, constant bitching, and everything was high-intensity and high-stress.
It’s too much.
As I’ve slowly moved away from these people, I don’t have to put up with anywhere near the amount of bullshit and drama I used to.
I recommend you do the same and spend your adult life worrying about the problems of people you really care about.
The Happy Birthday Notification Friends
“Today is [insert name]’s birthday today. Let them know you’re thinking about them!”
How many of those notifications do you receive in a year? At one time, I probably got a couple of them a day. When I sat down to shrink my friends list, I started to pay more attention to these notifications and, when each ping arrived, I asked myself, “Do I communicate with these people outside of this birthday wishes exchange?”
99% of the time, the answer was no.
Truthfully, I only knew it was their birthday because of a social media notification. And I only wrote a message because they did so for me last year, and so I felt guilty for not reciprocating.
I took the simple step of removing social media only friendships. If we didn’t say more than a happy birthday, we didn’t need to be connected. I also stopped with the messaging altogether, and slowly over the years, people have stopped wishing me well too.
And I’m good with that. I no longer have to worry about saying happy birthday to hundreds of random people every year on Facebook, and upsetting them if I don’t. I don’t need my profile to show I have 500 friends when in reality, my life is better with 5 who actually give a shit about me.
What would you appreciate more, a socially pressured message once a year, or a few friends who text you, call you, or even better, meet you in person to wish you well? Doesn’t that sound like it would benefit your life a lot more? And help you live a happier life?
Would You Give an Organ to Them?
I know what you’re thinking, that was over-dramatic. Talk about being a Drama Llama.
But in all seriousness, if you’re shortening your friends’ circle, this train of thought isn’t so stupid. One of the essential aspects of a friendship is that it acts as a support network. The hallmark of a strong and authentic friendship is being able and willing to help each other in times of need.
Whether it’s a financial struggle, physical or mental health problems, job problems, life issues, or the person just needing a shoulder to cry on, would you offer them help in any way you could?
And more so, do you think they would do the same for you?
If you aren’t shouting yes to these questions, are you holding onto a friendship that isn’t worth your time? More than likely, you are.
I decided to surround myself with people whom I know will support me. Even better, they’re the same folks I want to support in return.
If you’re in your 20s or beyond, there is a high chance that the current friendships you hold will last for the rest of your life.
With that in mind, there’s simply no reason to hold onto a bunch of surface-level relationships.
Choose your friends carefully, and live a happier life.