Ask Anna: Moving on from negative people

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Anna Lowenthal

 

Q: Dear Anna, how do I tell someone who has become a negative presence in my life that I need to move on?

A: People are always changing, and often times, we find that we grow out of or grow apart from people who used to be hugely important in our lives. It’s especially hard when you come to the realization that someone you’ve kept as a friend or lover no longer makes you happy— or even worse, drags you down with them.

It’s hard to let go. It’s hard to tell someone that they can no longer be a part of your life. But think about it. Is it more of a benefit to them for you to keep the relationship than it is to you to get out of it? Probably not.

Being close with someone who incessantly brings a “dark cloud” over your life is not only unhealthy, but it’s also draining.

Do yourself a favor. Do what’s best for you. Don’t hold onto that person simply because you think that they might need you around, or you feel too much guilt to let them go. You’re the only person you’ll be hanging out with for the rest of your life, and if they have a negative impact on who you are becoming, then you have to vote them off of the proverbial island. It’s as simple as that.

Now, just because you have to oust somebody from your life, doesn’t mean you have to be rude about it.

The best way to permanently, irrevocably “delete” someone from your history is to have a face-to-face, sit down conversation with them. Don’t get angry, don’t get mean. Simply tell them, with as much tact as possible, the reasons why you can no longer continue your relationship with them.

Honesty doesn’t hurt— it only gets your point across. That doesn’t necessarily give you permission to completely tear them apart as a person, but being (kindly) truthful about how you feel. Telling them, “this is how I feel,” “this is why I feel this way” and “because of this, I can no longer keep you around” is a perfectly respectable and acceptable way to end your relationship with whoever’s bringing you down.

It can be difficult to rid your life of those who put a damper on it, but in the end, you’ve got to do whatever’s best for you.