How to lose friends and alienate people

This is a hard post for me to write. It’s not nice.

Not that it’s mean-spirited; these are things that I have felt needed to be said for a while now. But they aren’t things that people necessarily want to hear.

There are a few individuals that I’m “calling out,” although I won’t be naming them. If they read this, which I hope they do, it is likely that they will feel hurt or defensive, which isn’t my intention. I guess my hope is that they will hear what I’m saying and take it to heart. If you’re thinking how unlikely that is, I can’t say I disagree with you.

Brendan and I have an agreement between us: that if someone in our lives is toxic, we will simply remove them from our circle of friends. Since the brain tumor, this agreement has become even more important to us. Anything can happen—either one of us could die today. So we don’t want to waste even a moment dealing with toxic individuals.

With this post, I am attempting to address the reasons why certain people have been removed from my life.

No one is perfect, people. When I see these traits in myself, which absolutely happens, I work very hard to overcome them. Hopefully others can do the same.

The “Managers”

“Managers” can often be seen attempting to teach, coerce, or control their partners. Some of them even behave this way toward their friends. What at first can be seen as helpful advice (especially during the “honeymoon phase” of your friendship) becomes more and more patronizing the longer you know them.

The less self-aware the “Managers” are, they more likely you will witness them practicing not-so-subtle attempts to control their partners/friends by telling them how to play a board game better, what to eat, how to dress, etc. If the “Manager” knows on some level that their behavior isn’t okay, they will probably only do it in private.

“Managers” tend to believe that they are very smart, and that others want to benefit from their knowledge and expertise. If they find themselves in a position where they must learn something, they will generally ask a lot of questions designed to make them look smarter than the “teacher.” I once had a “Manager” tell me how I was setting up a game wrong—a game he had never played, and I had—without irony.

While “Managers” are by no means relegated to one gender, this article about mansplaining from last year does a pretty good job of spelling out some ways to tell if you or someone you know is “managing” (or mansplaining). Chances are pretty good that if they’re doing this stuff a lot, and they’ve been doing it for a long time, they may not even realize it’s happening.

The “Passionate People”

“Passionate People” mistake anger—or dickishness—for passion. The worst ones know it’s not passion and just use the term as a smokescreen.

Saying “I’m a passionate person” does not give anyone license to be abusive to people. They can be as passionate as they want to be, but when they mistreat someone, using passion as a scapegoat is weak and dishonest.

Apologies are a great way to mend friendships. If “Passionate People” just said they were sorry for their behavior instead of trying to excuse that behavior or disguise it as a character trait, they would probably hold onto more friends and have deeper friendships.

I had to break up with a friend of mine after he made my cry for the second time. I tried to pass of the first incident as a fluke, but the second time around I wised up. We were in public, and I’m almost certain he did it on purpose.

The “Exceptions”

You’ll hear people who think of themselves as “Exceptions” trying to opt out of their privilege. “Exceptions” will proclaim that their whiteness/maleness/whateverness either doesn’t come with privileges, or that they have managed to somehow opt out of those privileges.

Many of these “Exceptions” think of themselves as social justice warriors. You will see them arguing with well-meaning people on Facebook and Twitter, calling out people for using certain words or other faux pas, usually with the intention of making themselves look better.

An “Exceptional” ex-acquaintance of mine once railed against my husband for posting an article on Facebook that basically said that it’s okay for kids to take time figuring out who they are. He tagged my friend, whose daughter was having a hard time because she felt like she should know what her sexual orientation was, and didn’t at the time. Our friend thanked him for the post (and later said it was helpful for her daughter).

Then, for some reason, this “Exception” decided to chime in and proclaim, apparently speaking on behalf of all 14-year-olds, that “14-year-olds know their bodies!” She went on and on about how bad this post was, using very angry and inflammatory language. I’m very glad my friend’s daughter didn’t see the comments on the post; she was already feeling like something was “wrong” with her for not knowing everything about her identity and orientation without the help of this “social justice warrior.”

Okay, that got a little heavy, so here’s a video from Awaken with JP:

Sorry about the overuse of quotation marks in this post.

I’m not going to apologize for anything else I’ve written here; I’m trying to be courageous, and make it known why I’ve cut off contact with certain people. I hope this helps someone out there rid themselves of toxic people, and of toxins inside of themselves.