By: Caitlin Cheevers, Guest Blogger
I was an amateur hoarder when I was little. As my mom likes to remind me, I saved everything. Jones Soda bottles. Dixie cups I used while brushing my teeth. The tin foil my tacos were wrapped in. Everything.
Well, I’ve finally seen the filthiness error of my ways, and I’ve cleaned out thousands of things from my tiny apartment. Old t-shirts I wore as a child. Dresses I thought were cute but didn’t fit comfortably. Jeans I haven’t worn in years. I packed them up in bags and brought them to my parents’ house for a garage sale. (Sorry, Mom and Dad.
But there’s one part of decluttering that I’ve had a hard time with. Decluttering my friend pool.
I’ve been trying to be a more positive person, especially after seeing this interview with Julianne Hough. She just seems so genuinely happy. I longed for that positivity, and realized I could do it myself. But here’s the hard part: in order to stay positive, I have to surround myself with positive people. And some of the people I spend time with, well, they aren’t positive. I really enjoy being with these people, but more often than not I find they’re bringing me down.
They aren’t necessarily rude to me, but they spend a lot of time complaining. And you know what complaining fosters? More complaining.
You know what they say, the first step is realizing you have a problem. So I went through a few weeks of evaluating the conversations I have with my friends. Some people didn’t complain much, which was great. But I still tried to cut down on it, so I just didn’t respond to the negativity. Or I changed it into a positive. It was difficult, but after a few days of intentional conversations, it became second nature.
Other people weren’t as easy. I used the same practice: don’t respond to the negative, or spin it into a positive. But it turned out negativity was our only common ground. It was all we talked about, so I had to cut them out completely. It hurt, but it was a necessary change for my well-being.
And you know what I learned from this entire process? I didn’t have very many positive people in my life. I wouldn’t be surprised if I had been cut out of other people’s friend pools because I was the negative one in their lives. It wasn’t a fun realization to come to, but it’s definitely helped me for the better. I no longer use complaints to start a conversation. In fact, I’m trying not to complain as much in general.
We tried this with my I AM THAT GIRL chapter a month ago. We collectively chose a “no complaining” day. It went well for some, badly for others. But my favorite part? We kept sending each other positivity (mostly in the form of adorable animals) all day. It’s a tradition I’d like to keep doing.
Let's chat! Are your friends contributing to a negative habit that you'd like to kick? What is it, and how do you plan to drop it? Share with us here!
Caitlin Cheevers is the entire marketing department at an office technology dealer in her hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. In her free time, she writes, designs, and publishes her own blog, www.andpossiblydinosaurs.com, where she obsesses over hockey, blogging, graphic design, DIY projects, Africa, feminism, books, travel, coffee, food, and possibly dinosaurs.