In fact, it feels pretty damn good.

There’s a group of people we know. You don’t know them. Doesn’t matter who they are. You have people like this. You hate having to spend time with them, but whatever the reason, you feel obligated.

There may be a few cases where you actually do have an obligation to be with them. Say, they’re your co-workers and you have to go to work every day. In those cases, you need to get a new job. No excuses. Check the want ads, or whatever you have to do. Get out of there.

Most of the time, though, the sense of obligation is an internal one. One you’ve decided to have. Maybe you once thought you liked these people, but it turns out you don’t, but you feel obligated to keep pretending to like them.

Maybe a friend introduced them to you, so you go for the sake of your friend. That’s a valid reason to go if you’re going with your friend, for the sake of your friendship. But even then, it might be better to be honest with your friend and let her know you don’t like those people and you’d rather not go.

We have those people. We’re expected to go to lunch with them every week. Except last week, we decided we didn’t have to go to lunch with them every week. We went somewhere else for lunch. It was wonderful.

If I’m honest with myself, I spend far too much time with people who bring me down. I used to spend even more time with that crowd. I’m getting better. And the less time I spend with them, the better I feel. Because, guess what! They’re not bringing me down anymore.

Well, maybe they are talking about me behind my back, but I don’t have to listen to it or pay any attention to it.

Ian Flemming wrote in a James Bond novel once, “The first time is happenstance. The second time is coincidence. The third time is enemy action.” Or something like that. I forget which novel it was. You can Google it.

It’s a good way of dealing with people. The first time they bring you down, maybe they were having a bad day. You never know. The second time, maybe they were having another bad day. Again, you never know. The third time, though, their bad days are starting to rub off on you. Or they’re mean bringer-downers. Either way, it’s time to walk away.

Lose the people who bring you down. People who bring you down are not your friends. Look up the definition of friendship. Adopt a 3-strikes rule if you have to. So what if they call you names and don’t like you. Do you really think they like you now? If not, then what has changed. Except that the time they call you all kinds of crazy shit on your way out their door is the last time you have to put up with their abuse.

What are you waiting for? You’re free to go.