10 People You Should Erase From Your Memory For Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind's 10th Anniversary

Just after I finished ninth grade, my first serious boyfriend broke up with me. A moment ago, I debated putting “serious” in quotes, but I went against that urge because I remember exactly how much it ached at the time. It was serious. It did break my heart, and regardless of what insight Adult Sam can supply 15-Year-Old Sam, it doesn’t matter. Your body and brain simply hurt the way they do, when they do. There’s nothing you can do about it, and no amount of “it’s better this way” or “you deserve more” or “this too shall pass” from those who think they know your pain better than you do because they consider themselves older, wise, whatever, will ever negate how you feel at the time.

Enter: Memory erasing!

Well no, not really, but there are ways to stop remembering people so frequently, allowing them to fade to the background of your mind. Considering today is the 10 year anniversary of the release of everyone’s favorite post-breakup cryfest Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I think it’s time to talk about who you need to kick out of your brain. Seriously, these characters haven’t paid rent in years–it’s time for them to stop taking up space.

1. The Compulsive Liar

Even when you love somebody very, very deeply, people who cannot stop lying are toxic. If they lie once, that is a mistake. If they lie several times, then I promise you, they will not change. Those lies will seep into your bloodstream and devastate you every single time you discover another truth. A few years ago, a former friend told everyone that she was extremely sick. Like, “hospitalized, terminally ill, I can joke about dying because I might actually die” sick. When I found out this was an elaborate fabrication invented to snag a guy’s attention, it absolutely ripped me apart. I promise, dear Glossers: continuing to allow this type of person into your life will only bring repeated stress, anxiety and pain.

2. The Cheater

Once upon a time, I dated somebody who repeatedly lied to me about both serious and minor things every week or so for the entirety of our relationship. After we split (which, while stressful, was one of the most productive moments in my college career), I continued to let his presence in my mind upset me.

I’m a strong advocate for not checking your exes’ social media whatsoever, so fortunately, that sort of e-stalking stuff didn’t mess with my head. However, I did let all the things I had continuously forgiven, overlooked and ignored stress me out. I felt weak and embarrassed of how I must have looked in the eyes of others, and that kept the preoccupation going. However, in the past year or two, I’ve really just allowed his hurtful actions to fade into the background of my early 20s experience, and simply become proud of how much better I choose my partners now. It doesn’t hurt to hear from mutual friends that he’s still an untrustworthy manchild, but in general, I try to focus more on what productive things I’m doing for my own life rather than how much of a gullible idiot I was throughout those years.

3. The One-Upper

Everybody’s got that one friend who simply cannot stop making every conversation, situation, and confrontation about him- or herself. Like I said in my “12 Friends You Should Cut Out Of Your Life” post a few months ago, there was a former friend who inexplicably made my grandfather’s death about her bad day at work. She did this with all of her friends’ personal problems, and it was exhausting to be around. At the time, I was livid, but now I better comprehend that she just felt her own feelings were neglected–something that, while sort of understandable, is still a terribly negative type of person to have in your life. If you’re consistently there for somebody on all their bad, good and irritating days, yet he or she refuses to be there for you, it is probably time to let that friendship go.

4. The Ever-Darkened Cloud

Look, everyone is negative sometimes–life is not a perpetually positive experience, obviously–but if you have somebody in your life who’s constantly talking shit and it’s clear that will never change, you may need to let them go. It’s not that people aren’t entitled to be unhappy; on the contrary, being unhappy is basically a human right, if not a mandatory requisite of existence.

And yet, we’ve all had that person who simply cannot stop hating everyone and everything. They call those around them ugly. They note every change in their loved ones’ weight and appearance. They call everything around them awful. Much like #3, they make everything occurring within their environment a personal insult: if you can’t go out because you’re sick, it’s because you doesn’t care about this friendship anymore. If you can’t afford a bachelorette present for her, it’s because you’re a selfish bitch. If it’s raining outside, it’s because the atmosphere is punishing her but wow thanks, you didn’t bring an umbrella so you clearly don’t give a damn about her comfort level. And whenever you talk about anything that makes you happy, she spins it into something terrible that will only end in your life sucking forever.

Sure, venting every once in a while is nice, but being around a completely negative force all the time will only bring you down and make you more pessimistic about your own friendships, love life and circumstances.

5. The Ex-Best Friend

If you and your best friend had an awful falling out and are no longer close, then you need to let this person go. I know it sounds counterintuitive to normal life advice; friends, even ones whom you no longer enjoy the company of, can shape you into who you are. But when there’s no hope of reconciling your relationship, you need to stop dwelling on how much you miss it, lest you close your mind to opportunities for new ones.

6. The Ditcher

10 People You Should Erase From Your Memory For Eternal Sunshine's 10th Anniversary

I mean I would but then you’d forget to show up so

So, you’ve been trying to hang out with this “close friend” or potential partner for ages and it just never “works out.” Yeah, this should be an easy one to forget because–whoops! She forgot to call you Saturday night after yoga class again.

7. The, Uh, One Who Got Away

Yes, it’s corny, but most of us have experienced serious heartache when it comes to one specific person in our history. While those people may have shaped our romantic futures, you can now set those memories aside so you can have a romantic future.

8. The Bully

Though we are in our twenties, thirties, forties and beyond, we can be deeply affected by those who have treated us in cruel manners. Sometimes, these are even people you’ve been friends with as an adult who berate, critique and put you down. Even after you stop being around them, it’s normal to feel upset still. Still, if you can, try to never check up on those people or wish shitty luck on them; you’re better than that (though if you sneak a little ill will once in a while, I’ll understand).

9. The Lost Cause

Maybe it’s somebody you really, really care about who’s been refusing to date you for, oh, a good ten months now despite the fact that you’ve been sleeping together for just as long. Maybe it’s an ex whom you’re positive you will be getting back together with so very soon. Maybe it’s a friend you wish could finally be there for you. But they’re not. And they won’t be. Let them go. You don’t need to replace their presence, nobody’s saying you need to do that. You’re a whole person without these people in your life.

10. Your Most Embarrassing Self

You know how you have done things you’re ashamed of? Things that have hurt or upset other people, things that have been so embarrassing you turn red and feel sick when you think of them? Whether it’s a terribly awkward moment of rejection or something far worse, it’s time to let that feeling of self-disgust go.