In My Feelings: Do You Cut People Off Over Petty Things?

April 8, 2015  |  

In a world where there are manuals on how to rid yourself of shoddy friends, I think we pride ourselves a little too much on looking out for our own best interests by any means necessary.

In the words of K Camp, “It ain’t nothin’ to cut that b***h off.”

We confidently tell people (including strangers on social media) what we won’t put up with, and when folks do things that we don’t agree with or like, we let them know.

Well, we let them know through silent treatment.

We stop responding to their text messages. We stop calling them. We roll our eyes when a mutual friend brings up their name in conversation. We throw shade. We remind ourselves that people do say that as you get older, your friend circle tends to dwindle, and that’s probably for the best. We embrace that and start chucking the deuces at folks we used to look at like sisters. Oh well. Remember, you’re not putting up with any ‘ol thang anymore.

But is there a slight chance, even just a little bit, that you could be a little petty?

Petty Labelle?

Parked on Petty Street?

A Pettymint Patty?

Seriously speaking, many of us are gung ho about what we won’t stand, and proudly say that we’re strong people who won’t put up with disrespect. However, a majority of the time, we don’t even have the courage to tell the people we’re mad at what exactly what we’re upset with them about.

I can say all of this because I admit that I have been and can still be a pretty petty person (jokes aside, I’ve been praying for guidance on this). I felt some kind of way about a friend not reaching out and being distant (not that I was actually reaching out like that). While she cultivated other relationships, I felt left out in the cold so I said f**k it. I prepared to let her go as a friend, and in my mind I started to withdraw from our relationship. I was pumping myself up to get ready to ditch an almost 10-year friendship because I felt like my friend wasn’t checking for me anymore. Better I cut her off before she cuts me off, right?

But then I realized that we were really talking about a 10-year friendship here. Despite the fact that she’d been a little distant as of late, for a majority of our friendship, she’d been very present. She cried with me, supported me when I was wrong while still telling me the truth, and she could look at me and know what exactly I was thinking right before busting out laughing about it. She’d been my spirit animal.

I’d literally almost fought other people to keep her out of harm’s way over the years, but all of a sudden I couldn’t fight to restore our bond? Wassup with that?

I realized then that I owed it to her to let her know how I felt in the hopes that we could work on our issues and start working on being better friends. After speaking candidly with her, I uncovered things about her, and things about myself, that blew my mind. And I was also confronted with the reality that I’d done things that I didn’t realize hurt her feelings too, causing her to become distant. Hearing her truths and revealing my own was an eye-opening experience. We had our Kumbaya moment over hummus and it felt like our friendship had caught a second wind.

While I could save that relationship, I’ve also been in a situation where I realized that cutting a friend off was the best move for my sanity. She was extremely critical of the smallest things in my life (including my hair and choices for places to brunch…) that I never felt comfortable divulging much about my private life or my personal feelings to her. She openly hated on my work and was so icy at times that she could read you for filth without even opening her mouth.

After a while, I realized that she didn’t really value me as a friend. I was good for eating out with or inviting to something because I’d always been reliable. But she showed no interest in things I liked and didn’t really care about what I had going on–that is, until I didn’t invite her to things.

I didn’t care to sit down with her and talk things out because I felt as though she wasn’t genuine and really didn’t care if she didn’t hear from me for months on end. I wish her nothing but the best, but her energy (or lack thereof) makes our encounters unnecessarily uncomfortable, as if I’m preparing to get some shots or a wax after months of stalling. We were forcing a friendship.

I say all that to say that there are some instances where cutting people off is the best move for us. And then there are times and circumstances where we owe the people who’ve been down for us a chance to hear us and be heard; a chance for misunderstandings to be straightened out and for boundaries to be set. It’s about finding the right balance. As humans, our friends will make mistakes and irk the hell out of us at times, but if their good outweighs their bad, they deserve more from you than a subliminal jab on social media. As Bob Marley once said, “The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”

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