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General Articles

Decluttering People from your Life

By Alex Sutcliffe

We all have them – the friends whose stories are more important than anyone else's, and whose lives are packed with drama and invariably self-inflicted problems they expect everyone else to listen to. They may well be charismatic, charming and capable of making us laugh. For a while we tolerate their narcissism because the fun-side is just so, well, fun.

But when your stories are dismissed, your problems undermined, and when the friendship starts to drain rather than enhance you, is it time to reconsider?

Over the years we all grow and change. Our time is precious, why waste it on difficult people? We have few qualms about throwing out clothes that no longer suit us, so why do we stick with our toxic friends, the ones who leave us feeling diminished and depressed?

So Hard To Say Goodbye

In the pre-digital days it was so easy. We simply stopped phoning or writing, and if we moved house, we could easily 'forget' to notify certain people. But these days, far from losing unwanted friends, we gain even the ones we'd forgotten about, as our social media contacts range from old school mates to former colleagues and the relatives we only used to see at family gatherings.

So in these days of 24/7 communication, how do you declutter your life of the friends who drain you, and focus only on the ones who bring you joy?

Toxic or Tricky Patch?

Remember, most relationships go through tricky patches, where slight disagreements or issues arise. Don't ditch a friend because of a one-off event that can be sorted out. What we're talking about here are the regular patterns of manipulation and narcissism – the toxic friends who seem to take pleasure in boosting themselves while bringing you down.

When You Have To Stay In Touch

If there are toxic friends or family members you have to stay in touch with, decide how to make the relationship work on your terms. Learn to say no. Needy people will always expect you to be there for them, and until you do, you will be sucked into their dramas. You have your own life – you can't always be there for them. Limit any contact you have with them and don't discuss areas of your life that might result in a toxic response. Keep any conversation light and neutral – TV programmes, current affairs and celebrity gossip come in handy here.

If all else fails, confine your relationships to cinema trips, where there's little scope for conversation!

Let Them Go

You can try telling a toxic friend why you need to let them go – but don't expect them to leave without a fight. The chances are they'll be defensive and lash out hurtfully. If you can't face that, drift away from the relationship. Stop answering phone calls, emails or text messages, and don't interact with them on social media.

Be prepared for them to try to guilt-trip you for not being there for them, but stay firm. Remember you are cleansing yourself and will be happier for it in the long term.

Don’t talk about the person to anyone else – it might get back to them and give them an excuse to contact you. Be firm and keep your distance. Set your boundaries and stick with them. Eventually they will move on.

Accentuate the Positive

Focus on your positive, life-enhancing friends, the ones who are caring, uplifting and who share your values. Bring new energy into your life by engaging in new activities and making friends who fit in with your life today.

Your time is precious. Spend it with the people who bring you happiness, and don't be afraid to let go of anyone who brings you down.

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Alexandra Sutcliffe...


a life coach
and hypnotherapist and
keen declutterer based on
The French Riviera.


Visit her website:


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Monday, 1 April 2019    Section: General Articles
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