“You can’t be friends with everyone.” I recently heard this advice from a friend of mine, to whom I vented about issues I’d been having with other friends. It may seem really obvious, but it’s a fact that I, apparently, up until this point, have always struggled to accept.

I’ve always been taught throughout my entire life to love all people. To be kind and friendly, and to try and get along with everyone. Now, at 20, this is simply the standard I hold myself to. I always try to look for the good in people and not judge them—because how can I expect others to see me in a good light if I can’t do the same for them, right?

The way people see me has always been important to me—much more important than it should be at this age. Unhealthily so. I’m very insecure. I often have a pretty negative perception of myself. I struggle with anxiety and self-esteem issues. And like other people who deal with these issues, I live with a highly critical voice in my head that is often very mean and unfair. People without this voice in their head cannot possibly imagine how difficult it is for those who do have it to block it out. It is the narrator of the inferiority complex. That voice can make it very hard to have relationships, romantic or platonic.

I’m a terrible over-thinker. It usually takes me a really long time to decide how I feel about a person—and believe me when I say it, I stress over it big-time. (As if stressing about what other people think of me wasn’t enough.) I don’t want to dislike anyone, because in my mind, disliking someone means deeming their flaws more intolerable than mine—and that just can’t be true, since I’m the most intolerable person I know. I must just be plain wrong. It must be me, not them. That voice in my head almost doesn’t allow me to think negatively of others, because it tells me I don’t have the right to. I have to convince myself that they’re worse than they actually are in order to justify my feelings toward them.

So when your personality did a complete 180 and I started to notice myself not feeling as fond of you as I once did, my mind fought that feeling hard. It didn’t help that you seemed to be moving toward the leader position, becoming the one who called all the shots. It didn’t help that I felt as if I had to like you in order to have any worth in your group. At the time, trusting myself and embracing what my gut was telling me felt scary. At the time, I worried that disliking you reflected badly on me.

But now I’m not worrying about that anymore. Now I’m not trying to justify anything anymore, to anyone. I am starting to realize that I do have the right to a negative opinion of you. I am now able to simply and guiltlessly say that as much as I wish I did, I don’t like you.

It may seem like such a simple statement, one that shouldn’t require some long, detailed thought process. But for someone like me, to be able to say that, to admit and acknowledge that, is very freeing. I’m handing power back to myself, and giving myself the fairness and respect I deserve by doing so. I don’t like your judgment and your scrutiny, I don’t like how you act as if your word is law. I don’t like the way you stick your nose in everyone’s business and I hate how immature you are. You’re two-faced and cowardly, and you don’t know how to deal with problems like an adult. I can’t trust you.

You are definitely, without a doubt, one of those people I cannot be friends with, and I’m finally okay with that. I finally realize that doesn’t make me hypocritical and it doesn’t say anything bad about me. It makes me someone who’s finally learning how to look out for number one.