by Ellen Lubin-Sherman
It doesn’t matter why they are optimistic -- starting a food co-op, making partner in a law firm, or being the life of the party – the fact that they’re striving for a goal is energizing to everyone who spends time around them.
These “expert optimists” stay on course because they are surrounded by like-minded people who share their values and want their lives to matter. They live for fun. And they certainly don’t need belittling and undermining comments about their dreams and aspirations.
That is why fabulous people are superb editors. They edit out those people who are detrimental to their self-confidence and self-esteem. I call these supposed dear friends the “frenemy.” And I can’t say it enough: You cannot achieve joie de vivre with a frenemy (or two) purring negative and deriding comments into your ear.
I write about “optimism” a lot in The Essentials of Fabulous because genuinely optimistic people are a blast to be around. They have this remarkable ability to put everything into perspective. You didn’t get that job offer? It was the wrong job. Your husband is going to commute a long distance for work? It can be done…you’ll make it fun.
The frenemy, on the other hand, is always ready to leave you with a paper cut. Nothing makes them happier than to see you feeling bruised. And too many of us are keeping them around out of a false sense of loyalty and the fear of being confrontational.
It’s not easy to be upbeat. We may be hurting. Our friends (the real ones) may be hurting. We need love, support, guidance, and a broad set of shoulders when things go awry. That is why we must surround ourselves with people who wish us success.
So how do you do it? How do you disengage yourself from someone who doesn’t make you feel good about yourself?
You heard me: It’s easy.
First, review all the previous conversations with the frenemy that left you confused and upset. Were there opportunities for your so-called friend to give you a high-five and she/he chose not to do it? Do you screen your phone calls or ignore their emails because it takes too much out of you?
Now you either set up a coffee or call her on the phone and take responsibility for the relationship’s collapse. A good line: “This friendship is just not working for me. I think we need to take a break.” Let the frenemy have her day, telling you off and blaming you for all the problems. While she’s ranting, count the black pants in your closet. Perhaps it’s time to buy a pair of navy pants? The moment she takes a breath, wish her well and say good-bye. Good-bye as in good-bye. It’s over.
Once she’s gone, a miracle will happen: Someone wonderful will walk into your life and take her place. Someone with the confidence and generosity to see you become the person you dream of being. Bravo!
Just one more thing: Please delete her name and phone number from your cell phone. You don’t need it anymore.