I'll Be There For You
I read an article this week which said that the traditional Spring Clean our mums used to do around the house has now moved ever later in the year and most people do their great “throw out” around about now instead.
Unwanted, slightly battered, useless old objects like out of date magazines, photographs, cushions, boxes and husbands tend to get thrown out in September as the promise of Summer fades to the dread of Autumn and its trailing, non identical, evil twin Winter.
I remember when I was a kid that Spring meant my mum asking us to gather old toys and comics ready for the rag and bone man who used to give us a balloon for a few Dandy annuals, a plastic gun, my wigwam and some Thunderbirds T shirts we’d grown out of. We didn’t realise at the time but that’s one really bad exchange rate, and nowadays I like to think our rag man is retired and living in a stately home with his chauffeur and maids. Either that or his early training while ripping off us kids means he’s now a banker.
But I don’t believe it’s just objects that should be tidied out.
I’ve decided to get rid of people who drag me down through their lack of manners or politeness. In the spirit of cleaning out stuff I don’t need, I made a big decision this week and decided to start by ridding myself of someone who has, more than anyone I’ve known, sucked the fun and confidence from my business life. On Thursday I sacked my agent.
Before you think this is just a typical showbiz fit of pique, consider this. My agent has not returned a ‘phone call, text or email from me in almost three years and when I rang last week to ask her to do a deal which would have netted her a few thousand pounds in commission, she didn’t even bother to call back.
Still don’t see why she had to go? Don’t understand why she’s like a Harry Potter dementor sucking the joy out of life? Until three years ago I used to get a Christmas card, birthday card and a call on my birthday. Since then, nothing. No work, no calls, no cards, no courtesy, no sense of responsibility. So why did I put up with it? It’s a lesson I pass on after three years of humiliation, embarrassment and a growing loss of self worth.
I made the mistake of becoming friends.
Friends are great when they are as committed to the friendship as you are. This (ex) agent of mine made our wedding cake, I attended her wedding, her kids’ birthday parties and so on, but when you get nothing back the danger is that you start to make allowances. Friends forgive everything, but mere business partners holler and squeal when things aren’t done professionally. I realised I had made excuses for her, to myself, for years.
Now I feel so much better. Calling old contacts yesterday and being warmly greeted has made me feel wanted and, simply, normal where, until Thursday, I felt useless. So I’m going to carry on with my Autumn Clean. I’m going to get rid of friendships where I’ve bashed my head against walls to keep contact going. Any friendship boulevard that has been all one way is getting closed down as of now. We’ve all got mates who just don’t give enough and the news is We Don’t Need Them. Get rid. I’ll keep you posted on how I get on.
Meantime, do an inventory of your relationships and be honest. Which of your links can be decoupled so that you soar again rather than getting dragged down by the lack of thought of others?
Life’s short. Let’s get the friends we deserve.