The Friendship Detox: Going Beyond the UNFRIENDly Button

I stumbled upon this article in Oprah.com and it hit a nerve:

Frenemies – Drama Queens, Attention Addicts, Relentless Pessimists – Oprah.com.

Since going on sabbatical, I had quite some time in my hands to do Facebook, start this blog and take an inventory of the relationships I keep, whether they were good for me or not. While there are people with hundreds, even thousands of “friends” on Facebook, I keep a much lower number – just a few hundreds. And, only a tiny fraction of that are my real friends. Most of them were acquaintances from work and people I know from school. I keep them there for networking and some of them really live interesting lives that I like reading about on my wall. Those are not the kind of friends to detox from.

I am talking about so-called friends who suck the life force out of a room with gloom, or those who need other human beings around as an audience or backdrop to their ego, or the ‘consolation prize’ friends who only identify me as a friend because I am a friend of someone else, or those who keep me as a friend because they might need me later on, or those who keep me on Facebook so they can spy on somebody else in my network…. The list goes on and on.

Yes, for the first time in my blog, I am ranting. It’s called Rica RANTS & Raves, after all.

I think at 41, I should no longer allow myself to be hostage to toxic and useless relationships. My late grandfather, Lolo Jing, used to say “inutil” – when he gets exasperated at useless things or people.

Relationships – I don’t even call it friendship. Friendship is sacred.
Yes, as a human being, I have that need to belong to a social circle. But, in the past few years, I think I have learned what I can tolerate, what’s healthy, and what’s just not necessary. It’s not about being self-righteous or anything like that. It’s about identifying intentions, loyalty, and true character. Life is just too short to be living with tolerance and hypocrisy.

I’ve heard about how crisis can test the integrity of friendships.
Recently, I was fortunate to witness how true this is. While it hurt me to realize that I had so-called friends who just turned their backs and never questioned or clarified matters… just dropped me like a hot potato, I discovered true friendships, made new ones, and revived long lost friendships I had totally neglected while I was busy with my career. Now that’s time well spent.

This year is spring cleaning time. Just as Hubby and I are reorganizing and preparing to settle into a new life in a new home, I am cleaning out the toxic relationships I’ve had and slowly, deliberately, weeding out the bad from the good.

It’s not as easy as unfriending on Facebook.

20110722-084114.jpg
I find it absolutely rude when the person being unfriended is not just an acquaintance. Someone has to write an etiquette guide on that.

Nobody says it’s easy to say goodbye. But, putting effort and thought into a breakup is much more dignified and classy than just clicking a button on the screen. Because I am human, with a brain and a heart, I choose to declare why I am questioning my relationships and why I want to end them. I believe that even those who have wronged me in some way still deserve honesty and closure. It is just the right thing to do. And though doing what’s right isn’t always the easiest path to take, it is always worth the effort.

While I embrace technology (yes, there is a geeky side of me that loves all things techy), I refuse to let go of values that have been hard wired into me since childhood.
Common decency – no kind of technology can ever replace that.

So, in the next few days, weeks or months, when I am ready… I will go thru a list. And hopefully, by the end of 2011, I only keep the friendships that truly matter.

And, most importantly, it won’t be just a click on a button on my screen.

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