• Anita Vandyke

Decluttering your friendships

Updated: Mar 1, 2018

We often think decluttering just means removing 'stuff' from our homes, but decluttering also requires removing toxic relationships from your life. During my twenties I had a lot of 'party' friends, nowadays, I relish in authentic friendships. I've come to realise, when it comes to friendships, it's better to have quality over quantity...

In studying medicine, students quickly learn there are 'high yield' and 'low yield' topics. High yield topics are subjects that if you invest a lot of time in, you'll be rewarded come exam time. There are also 'low yield' topics, these are subjects which require a lot of time and energy, yet you won't be rewarded for your hard work. Most of us avoid 'low yield' topics like the plague. (Pardon the medical pun).


I have come to realise it's the same for friendships. You know who I am talking about, friends who you give all your time and attention to, but they don't reciprocate. These are low yield friends. Then there are the friends who you can stay up all night talking to, who will be there for you at the drop of the hat, the high yield friends. It's time to declutter your friendships by dividing them into high or low yield.


Low yield friends

These are people who drain the life out of you, they are also known as:

  • energy vampires

  • toxic friends

  • 'party' friends

  • drama queens

  • attention-seekers

These are the people who demand much of your time and attention. They are usually wild, flamboyant, the life of the party, but they take you for granted and always have some sort of 'crisis' that demands you to be at their beck and call. These people are fun but they are also tedious. It's time to gently let them go. There's no need to be rude about it, but it's time to start phasing them out of your life. Take a little bit longer to reply to their text messages, don't answer their phone call straight away, start saying no to partying with them. Trust me, this is for the sake of your mental and emotional wellbeing.


I had a friend who was always the life of the party - loud, fun and absolutely gorgeous! She was used to people fawning over her and she was always the centre of attention. Her dramas were always more important than mine. I didn't realise how much energy she took from me, until I phased her out from my life. Giving myself some distance, I began to see that her insecurities made her cruel and she didn't have the capacity to care about anyone else's problems. By letting her go, I felt calmer, more confident and happier.


Tim Ferriss always says "you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with", I am now very selective about the company I keep. My time is precious. I want to surround myself with smart, driven and talented people, friends who pick me up rather than put me down. It's time to part with the 'basic bitches' and stick to 'high yield' friends.


High yield friends

They are people who spark joy. Friendships should be based on mutual adoration for one another. I love my close friends and genuinely adore them as human beings. When they are sad, I cry with them, when they have achieved success in their lives, I am clapping with them, when they are happy, I am smiling with them. These are people who lift you up! They challenge you with stimulating conversations and cut through all the bullshit. Having moved to San Francisco, I've missed my 'high yield' friends dearly. Yet, I am more grateful than ever to have a select group of 'high yield' friends in my life.


Apply this litmus test to your friendships. Who are high yield? Who are low yield? Who do you need to let go of?


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