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truecomedian's avatar

When do you "draw the line" with someone?

Asked by truecomedian (3932points) July 27th, 2010

What has to happen in order for you to completely cut them out of your life? And what are some ways to remove someone from your life? If you try and help someone and realize that you cannot, what do you do? What if you are unsure as to whether or not you are helping this person? Or if you should help this person? What if this person is evil and by helping them, you’re helping them be evil? What if you find that your no longer a good judge of character?

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36 Answers

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

If this is something happening in your life…or the life of someone you know….can you make this a bit more specific?

that might help give us a better answer

Austinlad's avatar

I agree with @DarlingRhadamanthus. If this is about you, tell us more. I do know that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten bolder about distancing myself from people who make me me unhappy.

marinelife's avatar

You start distancing yourself: not calling then, not taking their calls.

If necessary, if they ask, you simply tell the person that you do not care to associate with them any longer.

I would not try to explain, Just keep repeating, “I’m sorry, that’s not possible.”

lillycoyote's avatar

I had a friend that had a serious “anger management” problem. Basically she was a bully. I didn’t confront her because confronting her just made things worse, just made her angry and she just made excuses for herself so I just kind of faded away. Just made myself less and less accessible to her, less and less a part of her life.

Andreas's avatar

@truecomedian Whenever someone’s in this situation, then the soon the better. As for not thinking they’re a good judge of character anymore: Trust their gut, that is their first impressions. Mostly they will be accurate.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I agree….with @Austinlad. Why bother?

BoBo1946's avatar

Depends on the situation and the facts. Every situation is different. Some, pull back quickly, and others….go along for the ride and see where it goes! Could not answer the question without more info!

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s hard to answer if we don’t know whether it’s family or a person who used to be a friend….

truecomedian's avatar

Damn it, I tried to right a good question. It applies to anyone, a lover or friend. Like, ahh, I get it now, I see what I did wrong. It’s too vague in a way and that makes it hard to answer. How about, “Do you feel it’s ever necessary to stop associating with another person?”

perspicacious's avatar

Basically, the line is where a person brings nothing positive, but does bring something negative, into my life. That sounds simple, but it isn’t. Most of the time someone does bring something positive. Remove someone from your life by telling them that you will no longer associate with them——- and don’t. It’s common to question your ability to judge character when you have an association with someone and later find they have traits that are completely intolerable to you. You learn from it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@perspicacious The thing is, it’s a whole different animal when The Person is your mother, vs a person who’s been a friend of yours for 10 years. Is the thing. It’s hard to answer.

@truecomedian Yes. But again, the decision is affected by who it is that you want to stop “associating” with. Your mother, brother, cousin, second cousin, or someone you’ve been friends with for 10 years?

SeventhSense's avatar

At the point that I can not serve them in any way but will only cause them harm by my continued involvement with them. I say “do not call me” very clearly. If they insist, they will not get a response. They quickly understand because when I am convinced I am unwavering.

truecomedian's avatar

It doesnt matter who it’s about, that’s secondary. It would be the same no matter who it was about. But for sake of argument, it’s my great-aunt.

perspicacious's avatar

@Dutchess_III The question wasn’t asked in the context of a mother in my mind. But I have known adults who have had to remove their parents from their lives. I’m sure that’s harder because you can’t help but love your parents, even if you know you will be better off without contact.

Andreas's avatar

@truecomedian “Do you feel it’s ever necessary to stop associating with another person?” Yes, definitely, especially when that person is a detrimental influence on you, which is much what the other Flutherites have said after your additional post. Pipped at the post, again. ;-)

SeventhSense's avatar

I find that that is harder to judge then my capacity to be of service to them. Sometimes someone may annoy the shit out of me but if I feel that I can help them I’ll try. But at the point they completely misunderstand my intents or are deeply confused I’ll pull back but I’ve found that most people that are not on my wavelength we just grow apart and I don’t have to do anything.

YARNLADY's avatar

Sometimes, it’s easy. When associating with them becomes more trouble than it’s worth, Goodby. However, when they are a family member, there can be a real conflict. This is when tolerance becomes the most important part of the relationship.

truecomedian's avatar

I feel I need to say that when I ask a question, I do it in hope of getting real answers. I praise those who have their own view, uninfluenced by what others say. And I just ignore those who dont get it, because the odds are, some people are just not going to understand, thank god for the ones that do. I’m not that smart of a person, I consider myself to be a bit of a loser, I can admit that, but I do appreciate the good answers, thank you.

plethora's avatar

@truecomedian Who it is does make a difference. I had a friend who totally betrayed me on a business deal. I cut him off completely and have never associated with him again. Not because what he did was so harmful to me…it wasn’t. But what he did showed me that he was not the kind of person I thought he was and not the kind of person I wanted to associate with.

On the other hand, I had to cut my mother out of my life for about seven years. I regretted it, but it was a matter of survival and I was advised by a very good counselor to do it. Her behavior was abusive and intrusive in the extreme.

However, I loved her and toward the end of her life, she got sick and her behavior changed, and I was right back in there to help her and to really have, for a couple of years, the kind of mother/son relationship I had always wanted.

So, the common thread is, it depends on what they are doing, what it represents in your life, and who they are.


I had a friend and she and her husband were having a tough time of it. My husband and I took them in as partners in our snow removal business. After the first year, her husband took off with one of the most expensive pieces of equipment worth $30,000 and tried to get the bookkeeper to write the final payment of $40,000 to him. The bookkeeper notified us and the red flag went up. We found out he had run off with the equipment and dissolved the partnership. The wife tried to tell me that she had to go along with him, because he was her husband, what else could she do. I removed her from my life and never spoke to again. She actually approached me like nothing had happened and tried to talk to me later, and after I refrained from telling her what I thought of her, she finally walked away. I will give anything I can to help a friend, but don’t cross me even one time, because it is over.

truecomedian's avatar

Do you think she new what her husband was planning on doing? If she didn’t know, is she at fault. Then again it is her husband and she stood by him, so yeah, you did the right thing.

gypsywench's avatar

It’s too vague. Does this person do anything for you? What do you get out of this “relationship’?

truecomedian's avatar

I didn’t have anyone specific in mind, it was just a question for questions sake.

NaturallyMe's avatar

I’ve never been in this situation before. As far as friends go, if they’re contributing nothing positive to my life but at the same time are only being a nuisance or trying to use me, then i’ll have no problem cutting them out of my life. That should be easy eough, as i rarely see any friends in person (i have very few friends) – i’ll just ignore any emails, messages and phone calls i get from them – sooner or later they’ll catch the drift. Depending on the situation though, if it was serious enough, i’d tell them straight that i no longer wish to associate with them because of so-and-so.
It wouldn’t be so easy with family members though, so they’d have to do something pretty horrendous for me to tell them that i want nothing more to do with them. I can’t foresee that something like that will happen regarding my family though.
I don’t know, i suppose one can only tell what one will do when the situation arises and what it’s about! Bottom line is, i’ll avoid whoever is making me unhappy as far as i can, if it’s not possible to get them out of my life completely.

Frenchfry's avatar

When they screw or cut down my family. I hold my family close to my heart.

BoBo1946's avatar

When the bring uphappiness to my life, I draw the line. Got a situation as of this morning that requires “drawing a line!” Everyday is important in anyone’s life and people that abuse that….well, it is time to move on! Seriously considering that today.

Andreas's avatar

@SeventhSense I, also, prefer to be friendly with everyone, and to assist, but sometimes it’s just not possible. If they’re poison, then they’re gone. I don’t want to be poisoned. No-one does. GA

BoBo1946's avatar

excuse me, should read, when a person brings uphappiness to my life…blah, blah…

pearls's avatar

@BoBo1946 I hope you are OK. You seem down this morning, plus we haven’t chatted in a while.

BoBo1946's avatar

@pearls sent you a private message.

SeventhSense's avatar

I agree. It’s sad but often they are just poisoning themselves and it spills over. I have a sister who is helplessly addicted and any involvement with her for the past 20 years has been fruitless and I need separate for my own well being and because to be involved with her is toxic.


@truecomedian Unfortunately she did know. She said she wanted to tell me, but could not betray her husband. I said, I don’t agree with that, if my husband was going to do that to someone and I knew about it, I would tell him, no way you are not doing that or I will go to them and tell them first. I will not enable anyone even my husband to commit such an act. As it turned out her husband divorced her anyway, (not for that reason) and then she came to tell me to get back in our good graces. TOO LATE.

SVTSuzie's avatar

Never stop helping someone. Whether or not they seem to be changing, it doesn’t matter. When someone seems like they are not using the help, they still need it. Maybe even more. When to get rid of someone? I usually do it when they insult me. What kind of evil? Who are you to judge? Are they hurting someone else? Never give up on anybody, ever.

SeventhSense's avatar

When they insult you? That certainly is quite a low bar if you’re going to say “never stop helping”. That’s only a thorn in the path.

SeventhSense's avatar

I knew a zen teacher who said if you are not ready to present yourself as a human pin cushion you should not occupy the seat of a teacher.

Anna737's avatar

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me…

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