Some people just aren’t worth your time or energy.
Relationships are a two way street. It’s like a bridge where ideas, thoughts, and feelings can freely flow between two people. This is great when we are around someone that adds to our happiness or energizes us. These are the type of people we usually make a habit of spending time with and integrate into our life. We want them around us because they add to the cheery atmosphere and relate with us on a personal level. Even the most introverted people find a couple close friends will give them a boost from time to time.
But inevitably, we find ourselves caught up entangled with people that leave us feeling drained, stressed out, or crazy from time to time.
They can come in many different shapes and sizes. Some people have a permanent rain cloud that hangs over their head causing them to spread doom and gloom everywhere they go. They are the Eeyore in the group. It’s pretty obvious to spot those friends as they seem to always be throwing a pity-party for themselves and blaming everyone else for their problems. It’s so hard to be happy or share any good news around them without rain getting on your parade.
Others seem fun and energetic at first glance but beneath the surface, a tirade of chaos, whining, and drama is waiting for you. There is so much nervous energy surrounding this friend. They let jealousy and insecurity guide them through life usually lands them in the midst of problems and feuds. Friends like this are proficient in landing perfect passive aggressive jabs and subtle manipulation. To them, it’s about control in the relationship.
Still, others are blissfully unaware of the damage they cause as they smash through life self absorbed, impulsive and irresponsible. They recklessly play with our feelings and disregard any care or concern for the consequences their actions may have on us while still depending on our friendship. They use us as a safety net to enable their behavior while protecting them from being held accountable.
Regardless of the brand of poison they choose to indulge in, these people really know how to suck the energy right out of us. Most of the time, we feel pressured to act polite and courteous. We want to sympathize with the endless amount of drama and negativity that follows them around while giving them the benefit of the doubt that it can’t be their fault. After all, wouldn’t we be just as bad as our friend Negative Nancy if we walked away?
That negativity is draining and exhausting to deal with time after time again. We are forced to focus so much energy on these friends when we could be focusing on our life and dreams. We get emotionally invested and fall into codependent habits (more on that later). We get used up by these people until we run ourselves ragged leaving no time or energy or joy to share with anyone or anything else. The result is that the entire situation because unhealthy and messy.
It seems as though these toxic “friends” can’t seem to sustain their own energy and life in a good, healthy way so they try to feed off of everyone around them. They become dependent on the attention people give them – desperately looking for someone to leech off of. Many of these people may be well-meaning but can’t articulate their wants and needs in a healthy way. After all, misery loves company. They project all their needs on to you because they can’t find it within themselves. The last thing that friends like this need is someone enabling and feeding into this broken system.
This may seem really obvious but it’s the hardest step. Get away from them. Run. Leave. The longer we are around them, the longer their negativity infects our life. And that kind of mess is contagious so the more we expose ourselves to that kind of behavior, the more likely we are to start picking up habits. Don’t believe me? Studies consistently tell us that we are the compilation of the 5 people we spend the most time with. It’s bound to happen that quirks rub off so it’s best to choose our company wisely. Distance will keep your judgement from being clouded.
This isn’t the time to suck it up or be the bigger person. The next step is to let go of all of their words and actions. It doesn’t need to linger or take up any space in our heart. Times like this require us to step away from the emotional investment we have in their chaos and remember that we are not responsibility for any of it. Relationships are about bonding and connections so if it isn’t serving to better us, it is our right to walk away. It’s not about being polite or avoiding offenses when it’s clear that this person is abusing the relationship they have with us.
If we must be around them, we have to learn not to react, but rather, respond. We do our best to keep the atmosphere peaceful and disrupt any situation that is headed towards toxic behavior. Just imagine opening an umbrella in that rain storm or putting up a shield against an attack. Let the negativity slide on by and resist the temptation to stoop to their level. Decisions should be made from a logical perspective rather than an emotional place.
And lastly, remember that we deserve to be surrounded by loving, caring people that encourage us to be our best and pursue what makes us happy. This isn’t up for debate. It doesn’t matter if we have been the toxic friend in the past or if we think we deserve to be stuck in a crappy situation. We always have a right to pursue happiness. In order to help others or invest in relationships, we need to make sure we are pouring into our own metaphoric cup before trying to share with others.
Overall, the idea is that when someone starts to make us feel down, it’s probably time to take out the trash and drop any baggage being packed onto us. Things will never get better until you surround yourself with better things.