I’ve taken to this urban phrase like a ‘tweener to Justin Bieber. Basically, it’s helped capture my belief that those who create undue drama, stress or crisis in my life shouldn’t be allowed in. And so, I now handily proclaim–mostly to myself–that they’re dead to me.
The handy thing about this phrase is that the person who is dead to you doesn’t even have to know it. He or she can go about their business, oblivious to the fact that they’re basically zombies. (But invisible zombies who have no real power over you.)
The twist about this whole strategy, for me anyway, is that even those who are really dead–as in, not alive–people I know who have really passed on,well, they are not dead to me at all. They’re very much alive, in fact; mostly by my memories and fond feelings. I even continue to talk to a lot of dead people–namely, my parents and grandparents, and close friends who moved on to the netherworld before their time. It’s quite comforting. And since they’re really dead, they actually have no ability to create any drama in my life. So I actually enjoy talking to them.
But I don’t talk to those who are dead to me. Well, I may talk to them, but I don’t have a real conversation.
Let me give you a for instance. For a long time, a vague acquaintance has been bugging me for what I consider a big favor–big because it involved several friends of mine possibly getting their feelings hurt if it backfired. Despite my reluctance, I went ahead and agreed to do it. And, of course, it backfired because the acquaintance fundamentally dropped the ball and then took no responsibility for it. Feelings were hurt; bridges were burned. And now….he’s dead to me. I put no more energy into the relationship. I don’t even have a passing thought about him. The casket is closed. He is in the ground.
But for those who are reluctant to take such drastic actions in drawing those hard boundaries, let me offer another handy phrase that might substitute. A la Donald Trump: You’re fired.