Barbara Hannah Grufferman



No one is immune.

We’ve all had someone, at some point in our lives, even when we were in elementary school, or just last year, who . . . brought us down.

Someone who always had to have the focus on her.

Someone who felt better about herself by making you feel or look bad.

Someone who never once asked how YOU were doing, but spent gobs of time telling you how SHE was doing (complaining the whole time, no doubt).

Someone who just brought you down.

I’ve had that kind of person in my life.  I’ve had that kind of person in my life more than once. 

The “before 50″ me would keep that person in my life, because . . . I was expected to.  After all, how could I “drop” a person?  Even if she was toxic.

The “after 50″ me knows better.  Toxic people don’t make the cut anymore.  There’s no room for them.  I have too much joy and love and happiness and energy and there simply is no room for them in here.

Julie Morgenstern is known as the “Queen of Organization.” But, she’s so much more than that.  When I first went to her while researching my chapter on organization, I was expecting to get fabulous tips on straightening out of my closets and downgrading my junk drawers to “miscellaneous stuff” drawers.  I left our first meeting with the tools and courage to shed more than things . . . to also let go of people who were bringing me down, and stopping me from seeing myself clearly. 

These are people who are just as de-energizing and depleting as the boxes of old magazines that are piling up in your den.  But, if she drains you every time you get together because she whines and complains about her life, but she never listens to your advice or asks how you’re doing . . . that’s a sure sign that it’s time to shake her loose.

Julie advises us to think it through the ramifications very carefully before acting.  If completely cutting off the relationship isn’t possible, try to reinvent it.  Maybe she’ll get the message and start to back away from the relationship, too . . . but don’t count on it.  Toxic people like these kinds of relationships, because they make THEM feel good. 

Be honest with yourself about which relationships feed you, and which deplete you.

You’ll know what to do.

Best of Everything,


Comments (4) BACK TO BLOG MAIN

4 Responses to “DON’T BRING ME DOWN”

  1. Yup–we’ve all been there and I think gracefully transitioning these people out of our lives is an art that is perfected after 50. Although, for me, it’s not that I’ve had so many toxic people to rid myself of (I think I naturally gravitate away from this type of personality in the first place) but simply people who have grown (or not!) in such a dramatically different way from me that it’s difficult to find a common basis for interaction.

    I think one of the trickiest things to navigate is letting people go without judging them (when we all KNOW that they are in the wrong LOL) and simply accepting that your relationship has served its purpose and run its course.

  2. Lisa Kneggs says:

    I’m wondering if there shouldn’t be a “chapter” on how to make sure you’re not ONE of THOSE people….? Sometimes I found myself down for days, whining and gritching about whatever seems to cross my path. I have to snap myself out of it before I become one of those un-wantables.

    Then there are other times when I may need a friend but everyone has so much going on in their own lives, I don’t want to be a burden. I hold everything in and then erupt on whoever happens to be in my path at the time… (usually hubby). I have my church friends, they have minor and major troubles of their own. I have a few girlfriends but their lives are busy, some busier than mine. And I have family, who wants to share stuff with family anymore?! Many times they just want to tell you what you are doing wrong… not help adjust the attitude.

    anyway…. food for thought.

  3. Thanks Maureen and Lisa for your very thoughtful comments. It is never easy, for sure, to make adjustments in relationships, or to end them, and of course, good judgement comes into play, especially when thinking about the ramifications.
    Lisa, I know exactly what you mean. What you described is so NORMAL. Some days (or weeks, months) we are the ones who people come to for comfort and advice. Other times, we need the support, but don’t want to sound needy and whiny,etc. I totally agree with what you said. This is not at all what I meant though, because what you described should be the normal give and take between people who care about each other. What I was referring to was someone who ONLY cares about herself, and/or consistently makes you feel badly, just to make herself (or himself) look better. This is almost impossible to change.
    So many of us, especially women, hold things in because we don’t want to be a “burden.” I hear it over and over, and I’m one of those women, too. But, while researching the book, I decided to change that, and I became more demanding of my friends and husband. And, it’s all been okay.
    Don’t be hard on yourself.

  4. Alison says:

    I am so eagerly looking forward to reading your book and I loved this post.

    I’m 43 but “dreading” the big 50. Thanks for your wisdom. I am almost looking forward to it. :)