So you’ve got quite the lengthy bucket list full of those potential crazy stories you could tell when you’re in a rocking chair, like riding in a hot air balloon or running a marathon, but you never seem to knock any of them off. Your list continues to grow, and the more you add to your list, the more haterade you be’ accumulatin’.
Your mom won’t let you #31 Go Bungee Jumping in Costa Rica because you could get hurt and your friends laugh at you when you want to #8 Go Vegan for a Month. Your attempts to #22 Learn Another Language are thwarted because your conservative family believes they shouldn’t have to press 1 for English. You’ve always wanted to #57 Start a Rock Band, but someone told you “there’s so much competition” and that “it’s not realistic,” so you settled for something more realistic like #58 Dance on a Bar, but even that is hard to cross off without your friends thinking you’re a lil’ slutty slut. You begin to realize that the life you want to live is not happening due to the people around you. All of these potentially exciting life experiences are ultimately halted by your “support” system.
Ha, support schmupport.
That’s right; for some people, the problem isn’t a frowning bank account or a stingy job that doesn’t allow for time off; it’s deadweight – those who do nothing but hold you back. In sociological terms, they’re called “gatekeepers.” In modern hip-hop terms, they’re called “playa-haters.” In any case, these people bring negativity and unhappiness to your life and are…toxic.
The toxic species comes in many forms: the ex, the guilt tripper, the hot mess friend, the friend who’s a catty bitch, the misery-loves-company friend, the flake friend, the friend who always plays the victim, the friend who complains about work, the friend who gets bitter when they lose social media followers, etc.
Instead of seeing life in terms of endless possibilities (like doing incredible things on your bucket list and exploring the world), these people see life as nothing but obstacles, drama, and obligations. For example, Person A wants to do more in life. He’s excited about the direction he could lead his life and he’s eager to get started. Any conversation with a toxic person, or Person B, is turned into a way of discouraging Person A, making him dip back into a state of complacency and mediocrity:
1: “Don’t you want to wait till you have more money?”
2: “What if it doesn’t work out?”
3: “How are you going to get time off work?”
Wouldn’t it be a lot more refreshing to be around those who respond:
1: “Do you need any help researching cheaper ways to do it?”
2: “Hey, and even if it doesn’t work out, at least you now know!”
3: “Let me know your secrets to getting off work so I can do the same!”
When the time has to come to finally detox this baggage from your life, my preferred strategy is not a dramatic showdown, but a gradual phase-out (cuz let’s be real, this ain’t Flavor of Love and you ain’t Pumpkin). They ask if you’re busy next Tuesday, and you respond, “Yep.” Do you actually have something going on next Tuesday? Hell no. But in a way, you’re too busy being happy and in a good place in your life for someone to drain your energy and motivation. Anyone who is holding you back from living life ain’t worth living with. There are seven billion people in the world; not all of them are playa haters. Phasing out the toxic people in your friend circle may just be the catalyst you need to finally say f*ck it and live the life you want. Because once you finally cross that item off your bucket list, it will have all been worth it. Go get em tiger.