Friday, July 12, 2013

Through My Shades: Walk Away (Pt 2) - Toxic People

Through My Shades: Walk Away (Pt 2) - Toxic People

I have been feeling very drained to say the least recently.  I have come to the abrupt reality that I have been letting toxic people (posing as friends) into my life and I'm putting a stop to it now.  Sometimes you have to put your foot down and say when enough is enough.  Some people are like leaches and parasites.  They take and take and take and give nothing in return.  They always need something or have their hand out, or only call you when they have a problem but are nowhere to be found when you need something.  They buddy up to you when they know they will need a favor. They are always looking for a break or a hand out  without putting in the work. They are spoiled and used to things happening their way and they are never wrong.

Well enough is enough for me. I had to go through my phone
and just look at the conversations that I had with some people and was amazed at how some people did not even have the decency to ask me how my day was before they needed a favor.  Some people have no shame in being outright disrespectful.  You barely can talk to me until you need something. 

Now, I have to say that I have no problem with helping people who are  willing to help THEMSELVES but what is find most frustrating is (1) helping people and they don't use the advice you gave them the first time and then they ask for help again and again and again (2) people who don't do their research- i.e. sometimes the answer can be found with Google (3) people who are just LAZY.  If you are lazy, I am the wrong person to ask for help.  I have helped many people get jobs, re-do their resumes, even hire people on the spot just because.  Just this week I helped a friend get a job at a former magazine I was at.  BUT,  I am learning that not everyone is appreciative of that.

I found the below article to be very informative when it comes to knowing if the people you keep in your life are Toxic or not.  I highlighted some of the signs that I thought hit it right on the spot for me and you should do the same. Look carefully at the list of "what toxic friends do" and ask yourself, "Have I let toxic people ease into my life?"  Your happiness and well being is important and taking care of that should be a number one priority.


What Toxic Friends Do

  1. They drain you. – You feel psychologically and emotionally depleted after spending time with them, instead of uplifted.
  2. They are unsupportive. – You’re afraid to tell them about new, important aspects of your life because they’ve been unsupportive or downright rude about your ideas in the past.
  3. They are up to no good. – They regularly partake in activities that are morally unjust.
  4. Their values and interests are opposite to your own. – Dissimilar value systems often mix like oil and water.  This doesn’t necessarily mean the other person is wrong, it just means they aren’t right for you.
  5. They are unreliable. – They always break their promises.
  6. They only contact you when they need something. – Otherwise you never hear from them.
  7. They aren’t meeting you halfway. – If you are always the one calling your friend to make plans and going out of your way to be with them, but they never return the favor and attempt to go out of her way for you, there’s a problem.
  8. They are jealous of you. – Jealousy is:  “I want what you have and I want to take it away from you.”
  9. They have zero ambition. – Beware; a lack of ambition can be contagious.  As the saying goes, “You can’t soar like an eagle when you hang out with turkeys.”
  10. They constantly drive you to moments of insanity. – You catch yourself daydreaming about how good it would feel to throw a banana cream pie in their face.  

How to End a Toxic Friendship

If you still want to keep this person in your life, just to a lesser degree:
  1. Stop responding to fake crisis calls. – If you don’t drop everything to take their “I’m so devastated!  My boss gave me a look that I think means he secretly hates me and that jerk from marketing wore the same shirt as me” calls, they’ll find someone else who will.  Or they’ll deal with it.  Either way, it’s okay to step back and get off the first alert calling list for non-emergencies.
  2. Take positive control of negative conversations. – It’s okay to change the topic, talk about you, or steer conversations away from pity parties and self-absorbed sagas.  Be willing to disagree with them and deal with the consequences.
  3. Demonstrate that you won’t be insulted or belittled. – To be honest, I’ve never had much luck trying to call toxic people out when they’ve insulted me.  The best response I’ve gotten is, “I’m sorry you took what I said so personally.”  Much more effective has been ending conversations with sickening sweetness or just plain abruptness.  The message is clear:  There is no reward for subtle digs and no games will be played at your end.  
  4. Be brutally honest. – Some people really don’t recognize their own toxic tendencies or their inconsiderate behavior.  You can actually tell a person, “I feel like you ignore me until you need something.”  You can also be honest if their overly negative attitude is what’s driving you away:  “I’m trying to focus on positive things.  What’s something good that we can talk about?”  It may work and it may not, but your honesty will ensure that any friendship that continues forward is built on mutually beneficial ground.

If you just want to completely end your relationship with the person in question:
  1. Stop taking their calls completely. – If you’re stuck seeing them on a regular basis, like a coworker, keep things on a purely professional level.  Find a reason to leave and excuse yourself as needed.  It’s passive aggressive to expect avoidance to handle the problem, but it’s an important component.  You can’t cut ties if you still chat on a regular basis.
  2. Firmly tell them you’ve had enough. – If you’ve decided it’s time to cut a truly toxic influence out of your life, you can let them know honestly (without being cruel).  “I just can’t be friends with you right now” isn’t fun to hear, but it has the benefit of putting everybody on the same page.
  3. Make new friends worth having. – Seriously!  Give your time to friends you connect with and enjoy.  The long shadows of toxic friends shrink considerably when you’ve got better things to do with your time than worry about their negativity.

Finally, Be a Good Friend

It doesn’t help to cut toxic friends out of your life if you’re not ready to foster quality friendships.  On occasion, you may find that the toxicity of a friendship drains away when you start being a better friend yourself.  Honestly, I’m not trying to preach; this is something I’m working on in my life.
Make that first call, offer a genuine compliment, schedule a fun outing with another person in mind, send that ridiculously funny card for no real reason – there are tons of ways to nurture your friendships.  When you’re surrounded by good friends and good intentions, it’s amazing how pettiness and toxicity simply evaporates.  

1 comment:

  1. Needed to hear this today! Thanks for sharing!