Don’t Waste Your Time on People Who Don’t Deserve It

In high school, I was the type of person who took on friendships as projects. I found people who were broken in some way, and I tried to piece them back together again. It never ended well. They always developed these enormous expectations, like I was supposed to focus all of my attention on them and only them, forsaking every other relationship I had just to make them feel better about themselves.

I wasted a lot of time on those people, thinking if I just gave them a little bit more of what they wanted, they would feel better and stop being so clingy. It didn’t work; it usually just made them more angry when I wasn’t available for them, to the point where they would get hostile and try to tear me down.

Looking back now, I know how unhealthy those friendships were for me, and how much damage they did in the long run. Those people were selfish, thinking they were entitled to 100% of me just because I gave them the kind of attention no one else did. But, of course, hindsight is 20/20, and I didn’t think that way at the time. Even when I did realize things were getting out of hand and tried to cut it off, we were stuck in the same high school and the same town together. They found ways to continue trying to reel me in after I had explicitly told them to back off and leave me alone.

This isn’t something that’s particularly unique to my life. We all do it in some form or another. We all waste our time on people who, in the back part of our minds we try so hard to ignore, we know don’t deserve it. People who make us feel bad about who we are and the things we want to do in life. Everyone encounters it in some form or another, mostly when you’re young and impressionable and don’t know any better yet.

College presents a unique opportunity for these situations: you can cut someone out of your life, and never really have to worry about again. I’m sure that sounds cruel and cold, but i’m not suggesting you go on a Facebook cleaning rampage of anyone who ever looked at you kind of funny. It’s just that, in my opinion, your life should be filled with people who make you feel better about yourself, and who support you fully in whatever endeavors you choose to undertake. Surrounding yourself with negativity and unpleasantness is never going to make you a happier, better person, and isn’t that sort of the bottom line in life?

I don’t like cutting people out of my life. I have given quite a few second and third chances to people, but even I have my limits. The truth of the matter is, there are some people who just don’t deserve your time and attention. There’s no point in wasting your time on people who, for lack of a better word, suck. The way I look at it is, if a relationship isn’t an improvement on my life without it, it’s not one I want to put time and effort into.

No one is entitled to you. You are a special snowflake, and the people you have in your life should think so, too.


Alex Ritter, NYU.

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