the joy of unfollow

9 03 2010

Twitter has taught me some really amazing things. One of the things it’s taught me is how to use my Unfollow button.

And I don’t mean just on Twitter. I’ve also started using the Unfollow button in my life outside of Twitter, and I am here to tell you, it’s making me feel a little giddy and a lot empowered.

I’m one of those people with the kind of martyr complex that thinks the harder the thing is the better it is for me. It’s especially true when it comes to relationships of all kinds.

Here’s a good example of my particular pattern before I discovered the unfollow button;

Someone in my life is negative, critical, tells me all the reasons why it’s not a good idea, why it won’t work, tells me who I am, analyzes me constantly and is usually wrong, undermines me, is generally not enthusiastic and supportive, and is lacking a can-do attitude.

When I am around these people, I feel a loss of confidence, a drain of life force, a claustrophobia, defeated, anxious, and overall like crap about myself.

Now. One could make the argument (I’ve made this exact one myself for YEARS), that having these sorts of people in your life is good for you. That it develops a certain ability to be impervious to criticism and negativity and that if you really want your dreams, these people cannot deter you, and that dealing with negative emotion directed toward you is somehow good for you.

I imagine that is true on some level, but the cost of building that kind of thick skin has taken me from the actual work that I want to do. The dreams I want to bring to fruition. For years!

I have mistakenly thought that I HAD TO grind away with people who don’t make me feel uplifted and energized and capable.

I thought to shape my inner sanctum with only people who I felt good around was somehow cheating.

On Twitter that’s what we are all doing isn’t it? Creating a tribe of like-minded people who make us feel good and move us forward on our journey? Yes I think we are.

Why not create that in my face to face contacts? Recently at a dinner, I had to tell someone that after the Spring I was going to move on to work with someone else. I just haven’t felt like this person is really a positive can-do kind of person and I find myself deflated inside after I leave a meeting with them.

I just don’t have to hoe that row anymore. I really can surround myself with people I am inspired by and who want to embrace life fully with a can-do attitude.

Life is just to darn short not to use my Unfollow button. And I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s a kind of spiritual act to know what you don’t have to engage with in your life anymore.

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17 responses

9 03 2010
Lindsey

Oh, Bindu, you have no idea how much I needed to hear this today. I have one of those people in my life and yet I am still stuck in the spiral of why they are good for me – in part because they keep telling me so! 🙂 But you are so right. Thank you for this – I feel lifted for the first time in days.

9 03 2010
Kate T.W.

I’m with Lindsey on this one. Was flip-flopping on this in my mind all day. Thank you. Going to ponder it with fresh insight now.

9 03 2010
cevraini

Holy cow! You must have been eavesdropping on the conversations I was having with my BFF about this! In my old age ;), I’ve decided that I did not have to waste anymore time on these kinds of relationships! The fickle few who seem to take up so much energy just to maintain the relationship. And for what? Spending time with these people drains me instead of lifts me. I am just so done with that.

The discussion we were having was should we “try on more time” to “fix it”. My answer to that was a resounding “No”. We have already been there, done that. If they want to repair the relationship, let them do the work. We have tried.

We have too many other WONDERFUL, SUPPORTIVE, POSITIVE relationships that need our attention. No more wasting time on those that aren’t in our “tribe”!

Thanks for reaffirming this! (Though it does surprise me that you must have bugged my phone and eavesdropped on our conversation! LOL 😉 )

9 03 2010
laine

I recently unfollowed 2 people that I thought I “should” be following. But I realized that one just posts info on blogging interspersed with political rants, and the other posts too many articles all in a row and neither of them interested me anymore.

So, I took a deep breath and unfollowed them both. Aah, freedom.

What I don’t get is people who complain on twitter about people they follow, and then continue to follow that person. It’s voluntary, if they annoy you just stop following them. But, then they’d have to engage in real life, I guess.

Love your blog.

9 03 2010
chicsinger simone

Brilliant. BRILLIANT! I intend to use this in my life starting NOW. Thank you!

9 03 2010
insatiablehost

SO true..just please dont “unfollow” me….

love this post and really think it’s sooo true!!

9 03 2010
Constance Casey

You go girl!
with ya, Constance

10 03 2010
docuguy

Well said. Nice post.I have found that the more neg people I unfollow on Twitter and in life, the more positive people show up.

10 03 2010
Karissa

I’m definitely a martyr too in my relationships, and am only just starting to learn to unfollow those who aren’t good for me, literally, in the last month. So this really speaks to me.

Sorry, I’m like catching up with all your posts right now.

10 03 2010
emma

Thank you for having the courage to use your unfollow button in life. It inspires me to drum up the courage to do the same. My biggest challenge is when my unfollow is received as motivation for the person to then double follow, like the unfollow doesn’t stick or something. But I’m working on it. Yay to you, though! May you shine ever brighter for taking these actions.

12 03 2010
Martha McPhee

I love this. So wise. I’m always thinking I’ve got to be nice and good and tolerate situations and people that should be unfollowed. Thanks.

12 03 2010
Ronna

So fabulous, Bindu. Amazing how much easier this concept seems to be in virtual realms than real ones; which then moves me to ask “Why?” I’ll be pondering that today – as I compile my “unfollow” list and hit the damn button already! Thank you.

13 03 2010
Ambyr D'Amato

I LOVE this post. It is easy to feel trapped but once you take that leap and hit “unfollow” or “unsubscribe” or simply tell the person that they are not in line with what you are seeking… you are not only freed from them, but you are re-instating what you really want. focusing on the positive, not the lack. good for you. thank you so much for posting this.

13 03 2010
Carol

Thank you for this post. Life IS too short. Live it with positive, uplifting people. Glad you are one of them.

19 03 2010
Victoria

THANK YOU.
Your words are inspiring; I’ve spent the last several weeks trying to “make it work” with someone I had just met, with much internal angst about it, because shouldn’t it work early on? Shouldn’t the effort come later? Anyway, I am taking this in and going to work on creating what I really want in a relationship with someone who really wants me in a relationship with them!

19 03 2010
x Corrine/Frock & Roll x

Very, very wise words indeed! I’m with you 110%.

21 03 2010
Julie - Inspired to Write

Love this post! It applies so well to many people’s lives – they just have to have the strength to set boundaries and hit “UNFOLLOW.”

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