Everyone knows my husband is a great guy. My parents know it. Our friends know it. The teachers at school know it. I’m a lucky lady for sure. BUT! There is one draw-back to having a great husband…

When I get annoyed with him there is no one to vent to! Most of the people I try to whine to don’t believe me. They say things like, “JEFF?! Really?!” and make a pfffttt sound with their lips. Or they say in all sincerity, “But Jeff cooks dinner, so you can’t complain.” Or something irritating like that.

Jeff and me

What’s a girl to do? I tried complaining to his sister once, thinking, she has GOT to understand. Right? Wrong. She was very defensive of her dear brother. So! I was left with no one.

Except for Michelle

Michelle has been friends with Jeff longer than I have and also gets frustrated by his quirks. Their relationship reminds me of a sibling relationship– equal parts love and annoyance. As such, she is the only person I have been comfortable whining with. She complains bitterly about her husband and I chime in about Jeff.
We have cathartic phone calls, fb chats, playdates, and other outings where we sit and whine and whine. And then we whine.
Aahhh… just like therapy.

Last year though, Michelle’s complaining finally came to a head. She and her husband split up and she and her kids moved away. No more Michelle. My kids are sad and Jeff and I are sad. We used to celebrate the holidays together. We played; we talked. We were so close. Now the friendship is over. It’s no one’s fault and there is no one to yell at.

Certain friends play roles in your life

Even if they don’t move away, friends come and go in everyone’s life. Of course I’ve known that for a while. We all have drinking buddies, other mom friends, the go-to birthday cake maker, and the all-important whiner friends.

Not too long ago whiner friends were my favorite! I had two toddlers, no money, and was getting no sleep. There was a lot to complain about.

And I love a good whine. I don’t need any judgment with my whine either. Just whine along with me. Michelle was one of the best and I will miss her a lot.

Without her around I noticed something else that was missing in my life. Without someone to wallow in my complaints with, I didn’t stay bugged at my husband very long anymore. In fact, it seems I was doing a lot of my complaining to keep up with Michelle’s complaining.

I never thought I was so easily influenced by negativity. But, it turns out I am. Click To Tweet

Once I was aware of the power complaining holds over my attitude, I started noticing that 2 of my other girlfriends complain a lot.

Hmm… I really don’t want to break up with these ladies. I love them! But I want to be careful about how much time I spend listening to them complain. And be especially careful about whining along.

Intentional friendship

I like the idea of spending my time intentionally with people who are generally happy. I want to hang out with girlfriends who love their partners! If we are the total of the people around us, I want to up my total — to increase my score in life.

When I go looking for items for my house I shop with intention–looking for quality and durability. I want only things that make me feel happy in my home. The same is true for my relationships. I will chose to hang out more with fun-loving, satisfied people.

Decluttering my social life may be a great idea in theory. But calling it decluttering seems weird and even cruel. So I like to think of my new approach as decluttering my <b>schedule</b> instead.
I still have friends who whine, yes indeed. But my days aren’t spent largely with them. I have found little ways to cut our time together short or skirt around it when I’m feeling in a slump already.
At those times I text or call the many ladies in my life who are positive and make me feel terrific.

What’s your response?

It’s weird to talk about this because it can sound very heartless. My purpose is to profess that this small change to spend less time with negative people has made a big difference in my attitude. It’s true my children have grown, my business is successful and I get plenty of sleep now. So, the complaints are much fewer than they used to be. But I don’t think that’s the only reason I feel lighter.

My view of my marriage is better and my feelings about my life are more positive as well.
Objectively my life is pretty stinkin' great! I bet objectively your life is, too. Click To Tweet

Maybe my testimony will give you some ideas about social things you could declutter from your schedule.

Can anyone relate to this story of losing a friend that wasn’t so good for you?
Or have you ever edited your social circle on purpose?
Do tell!

Thank you for sharing.
Sincerely,

-Nonnahs

3 Comments

  • Oh I have one friend in particular that I have to minimize time with. It’s painful. She’s fantastically creative and generous. But boy, has serious self doubt and other issues, drinks too much and won’t shut up! At an event the other night two people came up to her and asked her to be quiet. Loud voice is the only one she has! And she complains about the same things over and over. Periodically I have to distance myself.

    • Debbi, I think we ALLLLL have this friend. Being shushed twice at one event is not pretty! Thanks for sharing, too. It’s such a hard place because you have a history with the person and even love them. Still– like Oprah taught us, we have to take care of ourselves! And sometimes that means limiting our time with some people.
      -Nonnahs

  • Been there. I have this friend of mine that we used to get brunch almost every weekend. Would talk about everything, naturally. But mostly, we complained about our husbands. One day I noticed that was what we mostly talked about. I didn’t have anything to complain about my husband, so that day the conversation was very one sided. Ever since, I try to keep our conversations about other topics that aren’t centered about complaining. Of course one needs to vent sometimes, but doing it constantly just keeps the problems floating longer.

Your thoughts please