There are some messes in life that we choose to ignore until we absolutely have to deal with them — or until a wise professional organizer named Marie Kondo convinces us to. For example, the collection of face serums in your medicine cabinet, the pile of books under your bed, and, in some cases, your friendships.
There's a good chance that most of us have at least a couple of friends who, simply put, do not bring us joy. But friendships are not monogamous, so we usually end up holding onto friends even though they are more draining than joy-bringing, Andrea Bonior, PhD, LCP, author of The Friendship Fix told Refinery29. "It's too easy to just hoard friendships," she said.
So, how can you apply the KonMari method of organizing to people in your life? While this is not a sanctioned use for the method (nor have we consulted Kondo herself), we would recommend that you begin by taking stock of the different relationships you have in your life. Thank all these people (mentally or verbally) for being your friends and getting you through certain periods.
After that, it's time to make some cuts. You don't have to go through your Facebook friends list one by one, but think about what you want from your various friendships, Dr. Bonior told Refinery29. A confidant? An person to Gchat at work? A shoulder to cry on? Some mix of all those things? In a perfect world, all of your friends would bring out the absolute best in you — but that is not always the case. There are some people who can be emotionally draining, or who trigger the judgmental, snarky, nasty sides of you. "The more time you spend with that person, if you're not who you want to be, you won't meet your goal," she said.
Now, which of your friends actually "bring you joy" or are in line with your goal? Those are the ones worth keeping, and the others can be thanked for their service, and let go, so to speak. Breaking up with a friend is easier than it sounds, but we just aren't taught how to. You can start by slowly hanging out with them less, and if they ask what gives, let them know that your life is pulling you in a different direction, Dr. Bonior told Refinery29. "If someone meant something to you in the past, you owe it to them to end it in a graceful way," she said.
If this approach feels too harsh, then that's also fine. Some people have multiple "best friends," who all fill different roles in their lives, and they love it, Dr. Bonior told Refinery29. These friend collectors are usually most comfortable hanging out with groups of people. To that point, some people love clutter. When Refinery29 asked Kondo whether it's bad if clutter brings you joy, Kondo said: "It’s no problem at all. I think if you're truly comfortable with clutter in your home, then that's fine. There's nothing wrong with that, but I will recommend that you still have a designated spot for each item, and also to understand how much quantity of each category of things you have and need. I think that's an important awareness to have." And the same goes for friends!
Whether or not you decide to KonMari your circle of friends is your decision, but at least consider cleansing your surroundings. Who knows? Maybe organizing will change your life.