I’m sure we’ve all thought of at least one person we wouldn’t mind voting off the island (if we had an island to vote off of). But sometimes it’s not as apparent to us that there are people in our lives who are not contributing anything positive.
The older we get, the more control we have over our social circles. We can pick and choose who we hang out with. We don’t have to hang out with-so and-so just because they’re friends with your friends. We have a lot more freedom and can make our own choices when it comes to who we want to spend our time with.
For example, if you chopped down a tree and were simply left with a stump, if you looked closely you would see as many rings as years the tree was alive for. If we think of our social life as a tree-ring model, you would be the first ring. Your social circles revolve around you because this is who you choose to put in your life, at the distance you choose to keep people at. The closer the rings are to the centre, the more involved the people are to you. This ring is most-likely filled with your closest friends and family.
The further away the rings get from the centre, the less you may be involved with those social rings. Perhaps an old group of friends is 3 rings away from the centre, but your high school sports team is 10 rings away. These friends you may only connect with a few times a year, or catch up with on Facebook. Now you can sort of see how you stagger your social circles, and how your social life dynamic is set up.
Now, what if I told you that most likely in each one of those rings, there is a toxic person that you keep hanging around. Doesn’t matter if they’re in the first or the fiftieth ring, they’re still there. You might not believe me, so let’s look a little deeper.
Toxic people do not always come into our lives bearing big red flags and sirens. Usually we can spot those people and weed them out. But sometimes, toxic people come disguised as our own friends and family.
People who are of the toxic variety display a wide range of tendencies. Their motivations and tendencies may not always seem like a big deal, but over time they amount to a toll that is being taken on you. Toxic tendencies can look like someone undermining you, continuously judging you, or never supporting you. You may notice some other qualities such as interrupting you, a negative attitude towards everything or excessive criticism. Toxic people put themselves before you every single time. They are often rude and manipulative, and have no trouble skewing things to get their way.
It may start out small and cascade over time, so it seemingly appears unnoticeable. But over time, dealing with people such as these can be draining and take a toll on our mental health.
The truth of the matter is, you deserve way better. You do not deserve the constant barrage of someone who is judging you at every turn, or never supporting you in anything you do. You don’t need someone who is only looking out for themselves and destroys everything in their path. You do not need to keep overlooking and making excuses for their poor behaviour to somehow justify the way they treat you.
What you do deserve is freedom. You deserve freedom from the person who is causing this hurricane of toxic and negative energy in your life. You deserve friends and family who are loving and supporting, and have you in their best interest. That is why the toxic people need to go. You need to show them the door out of your life, whether it’s announced or you subtly disappear.
We’ve all outgrown a friend. We’ve all had the moral dilemma of realizing we no longer enjoy spending time with said person. And then we sort of get cold feet, because we remember all of the memories we have with that person. This is probably how you’re going to feel when you finally make the decision to cut them out completely. That is OK, it is completely normal. Nostalgia is a tricky thing and can skew our judgment and our goals. It’s important to remember the person we remember is not the same person standing in front of us.
Below are some tips you can use to improve your social circles so that you are surrounded by the best possible people.
Be Honest With Yourself
Is this person adding anything positive to your life? Or are they simply take-take-take. Pay attention to the things they say and do, their intentions will be made clear. Do you feel better when you’re around this person? Does this person make you feel like you are receiving the love and support you deserve? These are questions you’ll have to ask yourself.
Practice Saying No
If you are dealing with a person who is take-take-take, you may always be saying yes-yes-yes. You may be always saying yes to things you don’t want to do, or that add little to no value to your life. Practice saying no to the things you don’t want to do! There is nothing more freeing than saying no and spending your time doing things you actually want to do!
Disassociate From This Person
Whether you flat out tell them you no longer consider them an important part of your life, or you silently slink off into starting a better life, either technique works. If this person is family, it may become trickier but you have to set your own boundaries for what you’re comfortable doing. If this person is a co-worker, talk to your supervisor or boss to see if there’s something you can do to make your workplace more enjoyable.
Remember What You Deserve
At the end of the day, remember that you do not deserve constant criticism, backlash or judgement. You do not deserve to be put down, taken advantage of or manipulated. I encourage you to stand up for yourself and make the necessary life adjustments to remove these people from your life. You are completely in charge of who you spend your time with, and fortunately we are graced with plenty of time on this Earth. However, no matter how much time we have it is never enough, so choose wisely who you want to spend it with. Part of self-care is taking time to refresh and recharge and separating ourselves from things that do not do us any good. You can find out more about the importance of self-care here.
Toxic people are not always easy to spot, but chances are if you read this post and a few names came to mind, your gut feeling may be onto something. It is OK to remove people from your life who add no positive value to your life, or who continuously suck all the good out of it. You deserve to be surrounded by people who love and support you, and spend your time with quality people.
Did you find anything in this post helpful? Do you have any personal stories related to this topic to share? I would love to hear them in the comments!