I’m a quitter.
I quit things. This is a fact I neither deny nor regret. In fact, quitting is something I love about myself, because over the years, I’ve realized that it’s something most people have a really hard time doing.
Don’t Want to Be a Quitter
When people have a bad habit (smoking cigarettes comes to mind, but there are many unhealthy things that people should quit), they sometimes say “I would quit, but I don’t want to be a quitter.” It supposed to be funny because it’s obviously ridiculous. The truth is that they don’t want to, or can’t, quit. They haven’t made that choice and followed through. I’m the opposite of that. If I read the first few pages of a book and I’m not digging it, I put it down and don’t feel bad not picking it back up. If I’m a month into a project and I realize it’s not for me, I’m ok not seeing it through.
Don’t get me wrong. I know anything worth doing things take work — and a lot of it. I don’t advocate giving up on something, like a marriage or business, without working your tail off to make it work. My business took years to build, nurture and grow. I have been known, however, to quit friendships if I feel like it’s becoming toxic.
It’s OK to Quit!
I quit a friendship about a year ago. There’s no need to get into the details, but I had been hurt and I was angry. In quitting, people say, “Don’t quit, try harder.” But I think there’s a point when it’s ok to just pack it up and move on. If you’re doing something that doesn’t make you happy, stop. If it’s not your passion, don’t let it stay in your life. That doesn’t make you weak. It takes courage to put your happiness and self-worth first.
As humans, we often think so much of other people before ourselves that we stay in something — a job, a friendship, a business venture, you name it — even when it’s toxic. If you make the choice best for yourself, you’re seen as being selfish. But I would always choose being a quitter over being miserable.
It’s not easy to say no, and it’s definitely not easy to put yourself first. I think it’s one of those things that takes practice and that you get better with over time. There’s an initial fear there, but once you get past it and begin to flex those muscles, they will get stronger and stronger. They say quitters never win, but I don’t think that’s true. I think you can quit and win — for yourself. My point here is that it’s ok to quit, even though it can be scary. And sometimes, things will work out better than you ever imagined.
The story with my friend I told you about earlier has a happy ending. I called her and told her what was on my heart. She initially said sorry you were hurt, but owned her decision. After the conversation, I was convinced I had made the right decision. . . until. . . She emailed me all of the things I needed to hear from her.
I’ve talked before about knowing how to speak other people’s love languages, in relationships of all sorts. This friend speaks mine. Her apology was genuine and in the end, we both vowed to be the friend each other deserves. This girl is more like a sister to me than a friend, and I am confident that we are bonded for a lifetime. We’ve been through everything together. But when our relationship became toxic to me, I quit. I threw in the towel.
By stepping away for the year and working through my emotions, our relationship will only get stronger. We both will have to work to rebuild trust and respect, but had I not quit, I think our friendship would have only eroded more, maybe even to a point beyond repair. Like everything worth having, relationships take work. Friendships are about give and take, mutual respect, understanding, love . . . and forgiveness.