"Life is too short to put up with selfish people."

Life’s Too Short and Too Grand..

In this life, we meet all sorts of people.   Hopefully we have someone close enough to us as a life-mate that we can trust with our life and future.   And then we have close friends, also trustworthy in times of adversity and there to genuinely celebrate life’s little joys with us.  Beyond that we hopefully have cultivated an even larger circle of acquaintances, with whom we’ve fostered a good reputation as a decent person.  Among these we learn from and contribute into their lives whenever we can.  We make their life better in some way, and they do the same for us.

And then.. there are the selfish, insulting, demanding people in our lives who periodically roll in like a foul storm.  They contribute little, if anything, to our joy in life.  They come with a list of demands, commands or complaints.  They can rarely be known for ever giving you a word of encouragement or compliment of any kind.  They make it clear that if you do not agree to their every foolish statement or cater to their demands that they will leverage whatever manipulation upon you necessary to get their way.  They are in every sense of the word, Selfish.

They do what they do from this one motive.  It is not that you are as stupid or impatient as they claim.  It is that you did not meet their needs well enough or fast enough to their liking.  It is not that you have a problem, it is that they are at odds with everyone in their path who doesn’t give them what they want.  Selfish people are only happy under one set of circumstances.. when they are getting what THEY want.  Your joys or struggles mean little or nothing to them.  How they can use you or what they can get from you is their only true concern.

So how do these selfish people end up in our lives?  Sometimes they are family.   Sometimes they are ‘friends’.. though you’d be hard pressed to define in what way they ever treat you as a friend.  Sometimes they are the very spouse we married at a young and foolish age.  They could be a co-worker or a neighbor that ‘just won’t go away’.

And what do we usually do with such people?  Well, we try to be civil.  We try being patient.  We try offering them love or kindness hoping that in time they will be influenced to treat us the same way in return.  But it rarely works, or for very long.  

What I have found over the years is that taking  ‘the high road’ by way of being patient with such people is fine as a first response.  But it is not a wise long-term response.  Just as children need to hear the response, “No.” from a parent.. these people need to hear the word, “No.” in response to their behavior.  They need to hear in a very clear way that you will not tolerate their rudeness, insults or unwanted criticisms.  Then you give them a chance to change.  Just like a child, if left without discipline that child will not understand that there are limits or consequences.  That child will become worse, not better, if left unchecked for their behavior.  It is no different with these selfish, demanding people who gain entry into our lives under the pretense of family or friendship.  Real family, real friends do not treat each other as they do.

There is a quote from a poem which says, “Beware the fury of a patient man.”  (– J. Dryden)  Perhaps we are more familiar with the saying, “It was the last straw to break the camel’s back.”.   Either way, there comes a time.. and there SHOULD come a time, when we finally say, “Enough!”.  We are done.  We are finished.  We are at the end of our patience and have none left for that person.  The only way we can go on and seek a tranquil life is to live a life WITHOUT them in it.  We don’t need to prove or say anything.  We don’t need their approval or permission.  We are simply ‘done’ having any more interaction with them.  No more conversations.  No more phone calls.  No longer welcome in our home.  It’s the end of the road, time for them to take their little show of horrors down the road because it’s not welcome in your living space any more.

And this is what you will find once you have reached that point.. Relief.  You will be relieved that you are no longer under the yoke of trying to satisfy their every childish whim to avoid their anger.  You will be relieved at no longer ‘walking on egg-shells’ in order to keep the peace.  You will be relieved that you can focus your time and mind to the many other wonderful and grand things that life has to offer.  There are other people in this world who still value common courtesy, mutual respect and kindness.  They make your life better, not harder.  They appreciate your assistance.  There are beautiful places to enjoy in this world, many of them only a thirty-minute drive away.  Parks, beaches, mountains, rivers, cities, museums.. so many OTHER things you can do with this short life you have that are 100% more beneficial to your soul than the time wasted putting up with nonsense from a selfish, life-sucking person who will never be satisfied.

My encouragement to you this day is.. draw that line.  It requires no confrontation.  Don’t wait for ‘the last straw’.  Just know that you have given your share of effort to find peace with that person and with no results.  Set the ringtone for their number to ‘silent’.  Send their emails to Spam.  Block them on Facebook.  Cut the ties in every way.  They must learn there are consequences to their actions, and one of those consequences is losing a decent person such as yourself out of their life.  Perhaps, just perhaps.. they may learn and treat what remaining decent people are in their lives better.  But don’t count on it.  Leave a fool to his own foolishness.  Keeping them in your vicinity is just asking for more insult and harm in your future.  You know who that person is already.  You have a life to live and with life already hard enough as it is.. you don’t need them making it even harder.

So, do your future a favor.. and ‘move on’ to better choices in how to spend what short and grand a life you have in front of you. 

Henry Velez

philippines survival guide advice expats

Author: Henry Velez

Henry Velez is a writer, traveler and vlogger currently living in the Philippines. He has written extensively on social issues, relationships and travel.


  1. Love this…we must be consistent in limiting our involvement with folks who have the tendency to drain us of our peace of mind.

  2. Some people are really so ungrateful. Tracking and weeding them out is so essential to a peaceful living.

    Great article Henry.

    1. And it’s an ongoing maintenance. In this world, there is no shortage of selfish people. We toss old ones out and every now and then a new one slips in. The good news is that ostracizing them becomes easier each time you do it. 🙂

  3. Thanks to both of you. I have found that disengaging with toxic people gives me so much more peace in my life. Too often we make a project out of struggling and striving with them.

    The key is non-engagement. Leave them to ruin only their own lives and meanwhile, just move on with our own. 🙂

  4. Just ran into your site by chance and wow couldn’t of summed up what im going through any better. I felt like I was giving chance after chance to the woman I wanted to spend my future with and she just walked all over me and took any dignity I had left. I hated the person she has turned me into and how she pretty much put me almost exactly where I was a year ago yesterday with all the bullshit she pulled (the cliff notes is pure misery). I finally said enough is enough and kicked her out of my life. The hilarious part is she doesn’t seem to understand why and is surprised that I am taking this step to cut her out. It says alot when her family is telling you to get out while you still can.

    Thank god all this happened before we got married.

    1. I’m glad you saw the signs and did something about it. Your future self will thank you a millions times. 🙂 It’s both a big relief and also a sense of power in your life when it finally clicks in that we don’t have to chase someone’s approval nor do we have to put up with crappy behavior that only tears down our life! The people who make my life better or happier.. I have time for them. The ones who try to control me or tear me down.. I keep them at a distance and my life is so much better for it. Glad to hear it’s worked out for you!

  5. Henry, this really resonates with me. I’m trying to prepare to totally end a relationship like this & its not easy, especially when there are so many years involved in it. Also, its hard because there ARE good things & when that’s the case it is hard to let go, even when you know the overall effect on you is very, very bad. Some women will lay in the delicate underpinnings of control, like a spider’s web, and will truly be flabbergasted when the end comes. I suspect that is the case with me, but the only way to escape a spider’s web is slowly & carefully. Another quote from Dryden’s poem:

    “Though now his mighty soul in grief contains,
    He meditates revenge who least complains;
    And like a lion, slumb’ring in the way,
    Or sleep-dissembling, while he waits his prey,
    His fearless foes within his distance draws;
    Constrains his roaring and contracts his paws:
    Till at the last, his time for fury found,
    He shoots with sudden vengeance from the ground:
    The prostrate vulgar, passes o’er, and spares;
    But with a lordly rage, his hunters tears.
    Your case no tame expedients will afford;
    Resolve on death, or conquest by the sword,
    Which for no less a stake than life, you draw;
    And self-defence is Nature’s eldest law. “

    1. The hard part, in your case, is coming to the conclusion that a truly healthy relationship is beneficial to both parties. The emotional struggle is one that will pass once you feel the elation of being ‘free’ again. Your first obligation is to your own well-being. Some people have to learn that there are consequences to their bad behavior. One of them is losing a friendship or relationship.

  6. Beautifully written Henry and recently I had to end both a relationship (last year in the PH) and what I thought was a friendship (this month in San Diego/Tijuana).

    One obvious sign for me is being miserable when the false friend or lover is around. In both cases, I had hoped that true affection, kindness, compassion, etc. would be met with growth or some reciprocity down the road.

    Neither one of these people had the equipment from the start and I can’t say that I did not have this awareness from almost the beginning. I realize now at long last that I cannot save anyone from themselves. Were my efforts wasted on their behalf…I like to think that they will change or attain some form of enlightenment down the road or in another incarnation.

    I feel so much better being away from them. I have in my retirement (the last 16.5 months) found a great love of solitude. I no longer feel lonely or alone… it seems. I can work on my projects (photography, videos, writing and weight management) and think my own thoughts and work on improving myself as a person also and in short ‘cultivate wonder’ in my comings and goings.

    My thing is: ‘I am just a maverick nobody walking down the back streets of the world’. ha ha ha

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