We used to be good friends with the two people in this photo.

One we just drifted apart from after our lives took different paths; the other we actively cut from our lives after an affront to which we took considerable umbrage.

There have been many people in our lives with whom we’ve parted ways under similar circumstances as the latter earning us accusations of being difficult to get along with, or more often, that our standards are too high and our expectations too intolerant.

When we were younger this caused us great consternation - were we being too inflexible? Were we being assholes and without even realising it? Did we have unrealistic expectations for others?

As we get older, and the merits of our approach started to pay off, we look around at the life we have built - a happy, beautiful prosperous life, filled with sunlight and brightness and populated by good, kind, intelligent, talented friends and we realise the answer to those questions were decidedly “No.”

We have high standards for others because we have even higher standards for ourselves. And in this world are people who meet those standards - and even some certain right people we respect who set even higher standards for us.

Those people who do not meet our standards should be cut from our lives. The truth of the world is that there is a limitless supply of people, but an extremely limited amount of time. Who you choose to surround yourself with will directly influence what you achieve and how you spend those limited years you are granted on this planet. You should strive for - and only accept - the best.

To those who smart at being cut, we would ask - did you meet the standards we set forth? If the answer is no, the second question would be - does it matter to you? If the answer is yes, then you should ask yourself how you fell short and why. For ourselves, realising we have fallen short of the expectations of certain others whom we respect has been one of the greatest sources of personal growth.

If the answer to the second question is “no,” then you should move on, no harm, no foul. We do not push our expectations on to others proactively - rather they are a gateway by which we judge those who we let into our world. Those who do not care about meeting these standards - which is to say, those who just do not value the same things we value or who do not respect us appropriately as a fellow human being - are those with whom we are inherently incompatible. We do not wish them ill, but we do not want them in our lives.

To the young people in this world struggling to find themselves, we finally find ourselves in a position to say, with actual understanding: be true to yourselves and never compromise on what is important to you. Set high standards for those you let into your life and even higher ones for yourselves. Cut those who fall short of your expectations without regret and never cease to improve yourself to meet your own expectations.

It is a hard road, but now we have walked it and emerged far better on the other side for it, whilst those we cut from our lives continue to wallow in the same inert spot they were 10 years ago with no progression or hope towards the future. Had we kept them in our lives, they would have kept us right there with them.

We would do it again in a second, without any regrets.