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We’ve all encountered a toxic person in our lives at one time or another. Whether it’s a family member, someone at the grocery store, a coworker, a friend you’ve had since 3rd grade, or perhaps your romantic partner. Either way, whether you know them now or if you meet them later in your life, they are bad news and will drain you physically, mentally, and emotionally if you allow them to.
Surrounding yourself with toxic people is very dangerous and can be detrimental in the long run. It may challenge what you know about yourself and push you to your limits. This is not to say you can’t love them, but know when enough is enough. It’s okay to wish them the best, but choose not to be a part of their life anymore. It’s okay to be selfish and do what’s best for you. It’s okay to change directions and accept that that person no longer serves you or has the best interest for you. Don’t feel as if you failed because you’ve cut them out of your life. Know that you did what was best for you—and that’s most important. But before I go into exactly why toxic people should be avoided, I want to give you basic traits that nearly all toxic people carry:
1. They are manipulative.
2. They are judgmental.
3. They take no responsibility for their actions.
4. They don’t apologize.
5. They are inconsistent.
6. They make you prove yourself to them.
7. They make you defend yourself.
8. They are not caring, supportive, or interested in what’s important to you.
The problem with toxic people is that they make you feel obligated to fix their problems. They try to make you feel bad for what happens to them, when in reality, you have nothing to do with their mishaps, yet you find yourself trying to fix the problem that seems to have no ending.
One of my favorite quotes is by Hans F. Hansen, and he says, “People inspire you, or they drain you—pick them wisely.” You have complete control over who you allow in your life. Just like you wouldn’t let a stranger into your house, don’t allow people that have no place or good intentions into your circle. Your inner peace should be protected at all costs.
So, now that you know toxic should be avoided and their characteristics, how do you avoid them or get rid of them if they’re already a part of your life?
This is always hard for most people, because if you’re anything like me, you want to give everyone a chance. That’s not to say if they cut you off mid-sentence the first time talking to them that you should leave the conversation, but know when enough chances is enough. Typically, people tend to only share the good in their life when getting to know someone. Makes sense because you don’t want to hear about someone’s dirty laundry your first time meeting for coffee. However, if they are reluctant to tell you things that are actually going on in their life or try to "one up" you whenever you share your success with you… Chances are they’re toxic. Cheer them on from afar, but don’t become a groupie.
"Ride or Dies"
These are people you’ve known for years and, chances are, you probably grew up with them. You’ve experienced everything together like relationships, moving to college or getting your first salary-paid job. Whatever the situation is, the fact of the matter is that you’ve known this person for a long time, which automatically shuts out the idea that this person could actually be toxic. Time means nothing. What matters most is effort and consistency. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve know this toxic person, if they give you anxiety any time they ask to hang out or make you feel down about yourself—cut them off. Yes, you may have been close before, but guess what? People grow apart and that’s okay.
In order for you to remove a toxic person from your life, you need to be completely transparent with yourself. Identify why you are removing this person from your life and commit to it. Often times, we come up with these scenarios in our head on what we plan to do given a certain situation, but when the time comes, we freeze like a ticking time bomb. It can be scary ending a friendship or relationship with a toxic person… if you allow to be. Keep things simple, short, and to the point. Sometimes taking yourself off the radar and focusing on yourself can be the trick.
Until next time…