1. Health
Elizabeth Scott, M.S.

Happy 'Dump Your Significant Jerk' Week?

By February 9, 2009

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In an ironic twist of fate (or perhaps there's a reason for this), 'National Dump Your Significant Jerk Week' and 'National Rejection Risk Awareness Week' fall on the same week, and that week is here! While the title of this 'holiday' might bring a chuckle or a rueful smile, it actually brings up an important concept that can help you manage stress: having negative people in our lives can bring on real stress and the problems that come with it. Research shows that conflicted relationships--those that are sometimes positive and other times involve competitiveness, excessive criticism, or emotional volatility--can actually take more of a physical and emotional toll than purely negative relationships. In other words, it's better to have enemies than 'frenemies' (negative friends), because with enemies, you know what to expect from day to day. When 'friends' hurt us, it affects us more.

Sometimes these relationships can be salvaged. Whether it's a friendship or a romantic relationship, assertiveness training, conflict resolution and other relationship skills can help. But if the other person just isn't in a place where they can be good for you, or if it just isn't a healthy match, it's best to let go of these relationships.

How can you know when it's time to 'dump your jerk', or let that unhealthy friendship go (or draw up some serious boundaries)? Here are some resources to help.

  • The Toll of Conflict: Read up on all the ways that ongoing conflict in your life can wreak havoc. (Then do something about it!)

  • Conflict Resolution: If you want to try to make the relationship better before deciding whether or not to call it quits, here's help.

  • What Not To Do: And for the antithesis of effective conflict resolution, here are some of the most common mistakes people make when trying to resolve conflict in their relationships.

  • Letting Go: Not sure when--or how--to let go of a relationship that feels like it might be bad for your emotional health? This article is designed to help you sort it out.

Read More Relationship Research for Stress Relief

Have you let a relationship go recently? Are you contemplating cutting ties? What made you want to call it quits, and how did you do it? Leave your answer in the comments or the Stress Management Forum. (You can use a mysterious alias if you like!)

Like this post? Want to use it to start a discussion with your friends? Pass it on!

February 9, 2009 at 1:59 pm
(1) Jeff says:

Hi E,

Well, you are about to learn the human side to me….the part of me that has experienced a deep loss and felt intense emotional pain….more on that in the other comments section on your article about rejection. However, the comment that I feel needs to be made here is about usage of the word “jerk”, both in your title and in the title of the National Awareness week.
Too often, I find this term to not be used in a gender neutral way. More often than not, it seems to be directed toward one particular sex…..men. I mean when was the last time you called a woman a jerk??? I know when I have created a situation where a woman has treated me poorly….I don’t refer to her as a ‘jerk’ but tend to use another term for her actions/behaviours. (It begins with a “B”, and ends with an “ITCH”)
Anyways, I just wanted to bring that to your attention because anyone and everyone (no matter their sex) can be a JERK!!!! I am sure that you did not intend it otherwise, nor do I think that whomever created this national awareness week did either but I feel it worth mentioning…..

That being said,…..what prompted you to write this E??? Is there trouble in paradise???? Hope all is well in the land of love and laughter…. :)

Now for my comment on your other article……that one will require more time to write…so be patient! :)

February 9, 2009 at 2:20 pm
(2) stress says:

Hi Jeff,
Yes, I think the word “jerk” tends to be used much more for men, though I’ve noticed that it’s becoming more gender neutral. (And I’ve also noticed that the terms that apply mostly to men are much less offensive than those applied to women, as in the example you gave. Other terms, like “idiot”, for example, are offensive to particular groups. We should all collectively come up with an ‘inoffensive’ insulting word to call people, and use it until it catches on! ; )

I used the term here as a quote, though, (and couldn’t bring myself to post the title without a question mark) because it’s such a silly title for a holiday / observance. But, no, things are happy in the house of Scott–I just posted this because A) it’s timely, B) it’s relevant for a LOT of people, C) Can help people relieve stress and of course D) It struck me as borderline hilarious that this holiday falls on the same week as ‘Rejection Awareness Week’, like the two go hand-in-hand without realizing it!

Looking forward to reading your other comment, and everyone else’s. (This is a potentially very-interesting topic!)

February 9, 2009 at 4:08 pm
(3) Jeff says:

Oh I don’t know about that….I think A-hole is equally offensive as the other word I referred too….and it is all subjective too remember, so you might be triggered more by the other word than say A-hole or Jerk….which I might be more inclined to be triggered by….and both are equally damaging.

Anyways, yes it would be great to come up with a more gender neutral “inoffensive” insulting term (though I suppose that would be a paradox, but isn’t life afterall)…let’s work on that one! :)

I find it particularly funny too that this week happens to be the week before Valentines Day….and typically a week when alot of people getted dumped because its a time when people often reflect about their relationship before they make plans for a Valentines Day date….its like the obligation of planning makes one reflect about whether or not the relationship is worth keeping or not…or for some more superficial people….whether or not the $$ expense of planning a V-day date is worth it!! LOL…ok, I will post to the other section when I have more time….back to work!

February 12, 2009 at 9:54 am
(4) Lisa says:

Good Day all!!My best friend sent me this email…and I’m so glad she did!!I am a “nice girl” type not the “ichy” type……….thanks Jeff:)I just had to “dump a jerk” recently “dog-user” to be exact and all I can say Is whether you are a man or a woman they come in both catigories…Guard your heart, your body, & pocketbooks/wallets..and I’m not kidding these “types” have one thing in mind……… THEIRSELVES!!and their needs NOT YOURS!So all I can say is when you see this starting to happen kick’em to the curb quick cause all they will cause is emotional distress,lack of funds, and possibly some kind of STD!!!So beware and take good care of yourselves… God Bless you all!!!

February 12, 2009 at 12:20 pm
(5) stress says:

Hi Lisa, and thanks for sharing. I’m sorry to hear that you had to encounter someone like this, but congratulations for being proactive and not letting yourself be mistreated once you realized what was going on! And thanks for sharing this valuable bit of hard-won advice; too many people don’t pay attention to the signs when they see them because they want to believe that their partner is something different than s/he is, and only let themselves get hurt more. Kudos, and I hope your next guy is fantastic! (Unsolicited advice: some people swear by the practice of brainstorming and writing down all the qualities that they’re looking for in a person–very specific qualities–and somehow, that person tends to come into their life. It actually worked for me, so I thought I’d share.) Good luck.

February 10, 2010 at 10:49 am
(6) Marcus Meleton says:


I write satire and wrote a book — Nice Guys Don’t Get Laid. I did an analysis of “Bad Boys” and then as a joke taught nice guys how to be come the disaster women crave. Men were using it to shake up their constant failures with women. Women were reading the book and realized I was describing their mate. Some got out of the relationship because they no longer saw their mate as worth being attached to.

Thus I started Dump Your Significant Jerk week about 15 years ago. See http://www.sharkbaitpress.com for more.

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