by Natalie Murray ‘18
Over spring break, Sherwood students had a variety of plans: some went on vacation, some did college tours, some stayed home and studied, and some – namely, senior Makayla Smithe – did some spring cleaning.
Unlike traditional spring cleaning, in which a person sorts through clothes, shoes, knickknacks, and other possessions, throwing away or donating anything they no longer want or need, Smithe underwent a more metaphorical spring cleaning. Rather than clear out her possessions, she decided to clear out the contacts on her phone, implementing a series of strict guidelines and tests to determine which people she would stay in contact with and which she would never speak to again after graduation.
“I figured that, since I’m going away to college in a few months, I only want to keep in contact with people that deserve my friendship,” commented Smithe.
To determine who was deserving of her presence, Smithe set up a multiple-step testing regimen involving texts, social media, and personal quizzes. She first texted every one of her contacts a link to a personal quiz about her, with questions ranging in difficulty from “what’s my favorite color?” to “what’s my favorite quote from a Nicholas Sparks movie?” She decided that anyone who received less than a 50 percent on the quiz would be automatically eliminated from her contacts. There were no exceptions to her rule; she even sent this text to her 98-year-old great-grandmother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s and got a 33% on the quiz: “sorry, great-grandma, but if your love for me isn’t strong enough to out-compete memory loss, then you must not really love me.”
Her next step was to go through all of her social media, unfriending anyone who lost a Snapchat streak with her and unfollowing people who didn’t follow her back on Instagram. She also kept a log of everyone who saw her finsta stories but did not vote on her polls more than three times, immediately removing them from her followers, but not her contacts.
“If they text me within three days after me blocking them and ask me why I did it, then I give them a second chance. After all, if they noticed that my daily rants were missing from their feed, they must care,” she explained, before adding that those people are “on pretty thin ice – like, thinner than Kylie Jenner’s lips before she got lip fillers.”
But Smithe’s routine extended past spring break – cleaning out her contacts felt so therapeutic to her that she decided to continue evaluating her friendships in person and deciding who to talk to, interact with, and more. Those who made her do too much work during in-class projects and other assignments were removed from a groupchat of people who she exchanges homework answers and SparkNotes articles with. She also treated yearbook signings with plenty of passive-aggressiveness, writing no more than the number of words in someone’s yearbook than they did in hers.
“I mean, if you don’t take yearbook signing seriously and write a lot about me, why should I treat with you that respect? You do not deserve to have my signature in your book if you’re not willing to work for it,” Smithe says.
She also mentioned that the actual content of the messages played a role in determining how willing she was to talk to someone ever again – anyone who wrote “HAGS,” for example, was immediately shunned. “Really, Matt Post?” she said, rolling her eyes. (Post could not be reached for comment.)
Despite the fact that Smithe is down to approximately 6 friends, 9 acquaintances, 23 finsta followers, and just 17 contacts in her phone, she has never felt so loved.
“Look, it’s not quantity, it’s quality,” she claims. “These people are the ones that hype my selfies, vote on my polls, text me memes, and really care about me. I’m so grateful to have them in my life instead of fake people that like, don’t send me homework answers or don’t support me when I skip school – looking at you, Mom. Thanks for nothing.”
Unfortunately, Smithe will learn quickly that many of the people she vowed to ignore will be in college with her at Towson next year, where she will be forced to either dismantle her “friend standards” and accept old friends back into her life, or somehow meet entirely new people willing to put up with her over dramatic antics.