If You’re There For Me, You’re Golden

I’ve been a bit down on humanity lately. My views have become Malthusian — I’m seeing the worst in people, and believe that most people kinda suck.

Everyone is temporarily in your life, as long as you give them something. Everyone is waiting to stab you in the back. Everyone doesn’t really care about me. They all have ulterior motives, wanting, needing and then leaving.

And this is what I think of my supposed friends and mentees. Strangers are even worse. They’re people who project their shitty insecurities onto you, leaving a trail of destruction in their path. They have no problem telling you why and how you’re wrong without taking responsibility for themselves and why and how they’re wrong. They’re out there to make you miserable, to make you believe that your Inner Critic has been right along. Go listen to that judging voice, they say, because all the shitty things you believe about yourself are true.

Where did this cynicism come from? I had a family emergency last week, and I reached out to people who I thought would care. Most didn’t give a shit. They barely wished me any condolences, and never followed up. These are people that I’ve been there for and did a lot to help, so it hurt when they didn’t reciprocate. I felt betrayed and lonely by their behavior.

But I needed the smack in the face, because things have changed.

My inner circle of trusted confidants just fell to a very small but loyal crew. Some of these folks I took for granted, not realizing that they’ve always been there for me and truly care about my well being. And so, I’ve made a conscious effort to keep this small crew in my life. I’ll be annoying them more often, checking in to see how they’re doing, sharing emotions and time for them and them only. The greatest gift I can give someone is my time and attention, and I’ll be working to use it more carefully in the future.

This is clearly bittersweet for me. It’s hard to leave relationships with people I thought I was close to. But I have to face reality that some people really have no interest in being a part of my life, and so I must not allow myself to be a part of theirs. I wish that people weren’t like this, but I must face reality: this is what’s going on, and my only choice is to accept it.

Those people who I want to stay close to have been notified. They’re in it for the long haul, I’m hoping. I need them in my life, and I’m grateful for them. As for the others, no bad feelings and I wish them the best of luck.


I use data to understand people. I also help early career professionals find career happiness.

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Jon Tesser

I use data to understand people. I also help early career professionals find career happiness.