Janet Walkow Christine Jacobs

Rewrites

…when people no longer fit your script

What happens when someone no longer fits into your life – can you write them out of your life? It could be a close friend with whom you no longer share comment interests, a bad experience with an inconsiderate roommate or a colleague who made you feel badly about yourself. Most of us can identify who we do and don’t want to be around, but it can be difficult, and even complicated, to fully write some people into or out of your script.

The simple answer is yes, you can write people out of your script, but it’s not as easy as you would like most of the time. Every situation is different, but the overall theme remains the same – the people who are toxic, high maintenance, negatively impact your script or irrelevant – should be cut, or reduced in prominence, from your cast of characters. You you need to be able to identify when someone ceases to contribute to your script, either because you’ve changed directions or they simply don’t fit.

Dealing with Misfits

Consider frenemies, people who act as both friend and rival – always looking out for their best interests, not yours. You’ve seen them portrayed in the movie, Mean Girls or TV’s Gossip Girl and. You may think them as simply high maintenance friends and decide to put up with their antics, justifying it as just part the friendship. But friends shouldn’t lie, manipulate or hurt you. People who do any of these things are toxic. It takes courage to distance yourself from toxic people, but if you don’t, you risk becoming part of their script and not your own.

In life, some characters have short-lived roles; others dart in and out over a longer time frame. Be prepared that characters are fluid and may come in and out of your life to play either brief or prolonged roles. You may think that you don’t have much choice. You do.

Janet Walkow is the Executive Director and Chief Technology Officer of the Drug Dynamics Institute at The University of Texas and a co-founder of Leading Women. Read her full bio.

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