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The relationships we have with our friends, family, significant others and just about everybody we meet on the street or online can have extremely positive or detrimental effects on our mental health. We bang on about spring cleaning our homes to make us feel fresh, revitalised and ready for the new season – isn’t it time we spring clean our relationships for the same reasons?
For some of us there’s external and internal pressures to keep relationships that are not good for us, going. The friends we’ve had since school who haven’t really grown up, fancy Lockie from TOWIE and voted Leave are still with us because of nostalgia.
The family who’ve downplayed your achievements, insulted your partners or gripped one of your rolls and tutted are still visited once a month because, ‘blood’.
And the partners who make us feel stifled, sad and settled (not in a good way) are still knocking about because of the fear.
But I have a ‘no time like the present’ mentality when it comes to getting rid of factors that have an adverse effect on my mental health. Like the jobs I stayed at for 6 hours maximum because Shirley in accounts made me feel like shit, or the commute was too gross or the money just wasn’t worth it – I’m also a fan of quitting relationships.
Or Spring cleaning them.
It sounds better.
I’ve written before about toxic friendships and how we should ditch them ASAP.
Essentially we need to look at why a friendship needs a spruce up. Do we need to take our heads out of our arses and check in with people to make sure they’re ok? Do we need to put more effort into meeting up rather than flaking for a meeting with Netflix instead? Or do we need to analyse what we are getting out of the friendship?
Does the person support us? Listen to us? Are they there for us in a time of need? Are they a good laugh? A distraction? A sounding board? A motivator?
Are we a good friend to them? Do we want to support them? Do we want to listen to their plights? Are we there for them?
If the answer is a majority NO. WTF are we doing? Why are we collecting friends as if they are Tamigotchis, only to feel bad that we haven’t watered it or cleaned up its shit?
Spring cleaning friendships is all about nurturing those that we want to maintain and pruning back the ones that are causing us more harm than good.
Family is tough. You’re always told that blood is thicker than water. That family should be there through thick and thin. That you HAVE to attend family functions to keep up appearances because you no-showing is not worth the ‘drama’.
To that I say – GET FUCKED.
If a family member has treated you horrifically – you owe them nothing.
If your Mum is worried that it’ll kick up a fuss that you refuse to interact with said family member then your Mum’s priorities are wrong and she needs telling about herself too.
There isn’t a single person on this planet whose attention is more significant than your health and feelings.
If there’s ‘drama’ because you decide to withdraw yourself from a relationship with that person or you refuse to go to functions because that person may be there then it’s time that the toxic person is put under the spotlight and judged on why they make you feel like shit rather than you looking like the bad person because you don’t wish to engage.
And if your family members pick the side of the abuser, meanie or Aunt Carrie who once pulled your hair because it was looking too scraggly, then they can GET FUCKED too.
As much as I’m an impulsive-quit-my-job-because-I-fanny-farted-in-front-of-the-whole-office kinda person, I’m also a fan of a deadline. Especially in romantic relationships.
I know some people love a, ‘well if they haven’t changed by Christmas, I’m out’ scenario but I’m talking more short term.
Your relationship needs a spring clean for one of 2 reasons – it’s gone stale and you want to revive it OR you’re unhappy and you want to bin it off.
If it’s gone stale and you think that YOU can revive it because it’s YOUR issue, not their’s (unlikely – it’s likely to be a bit of both) then you need to reflect on what it is you can do to put the effort back in and DO IT BEFORE SUMMER OR THEY DUMP YOU.
If it’s both of you that have let things slide, there’s not time like the present to chat about it. To agree to both taking actions to revitalise things but in your head, have a deadline. Give it a week, 4, 6 months, whatever you feel like it needs to see actionable changes.
If by your deadline, you still can’t be arsed and he still won’t look away from football to attend to your feelings every once in a while then it might be time to call it a day and free each other to partners who will make more effort or the single life.
If by spring cleaning your relationship, you mean you need to find a way to figuratively TAKE OUT THE TRASH, set yourself a soonish deadline.
A deadline that means you can get affairs in order – money, housing, pets, children, friendships all need to be set up and stable to make you feel more confident in leaving.
Although I am also hugely an advocate for not wasting a single breath on something that causes you misery – so y’know, do what’s right for you.
Often we can’t control our thoughts, feelings and emotions. And often our brains do a job on kicking our arse – so if there are other people in your life who are not healthily contributing to a sound state of mine, it’s May 2018 and about the fuck time to clear them out.
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