Is it time to do some spring cleaning with the group of people who make up your circle of acquaintances, colleagues and friends? There are probably some toxic people in there who are undermining your confidence, betraying your trust, and spreading negativity. There is no escaping the fact that we cannot live in total isolation, as we are social animals.
1. Those who soak up your time like a sponge.These may be family members or friends who seize your time like bank robbers! Yes, you have heard it all before. They repeat the same old refrain and there is nothing for you to gain. Friendships need a give and take.
As soon as you ascertain that they do not even want help or can’t offer you affectionate support in return, it may be time to drastically reduce your exposure to these people or just get rid of them. They will waste too much of your time, if you let them.
It may be impossible to get rid of family members, though. So try a few tactics like switching off your phone at certain times of the day or simply invent urgent messages or callers. We all need alone time.
“I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not defined by another person.” – Oscar Wilde
2. Those who criticize you far too often.Nothing wrong with a bit of honest and fair feedback. But when you find that certain people are engaging in constant criticism, it may be time to take action. When the criticism is not constructive in any way, you might even drop them a hint that they are going to lose any friends they have left.
You can also always tell them that their constant criticism is not helpful in any way and it upsets you.
3. Those who play the victim all the time.These are the experts at the blame game. They never take ownership of their own shortcomings or mistakes. They are the victim and it is never their fault! It always seems to be the fault of their colleagues or their upbringing which never really gave them a chance.
These people just have to be avoided at all costs and avoid being pulled in, because they may start to involve you in their blame game.
4. Those who have a negative mindset.These people spread negativity like a contagious disease. Try to get vaccinated by avoiding them at all costs. These people get into a negative downward spiral and it is sometimes difficult not to get dragged down there. These are the people who are always anxious, worried, pessimistic, depressed and complain a lot.
You need to get rid of them because if you want to live longer, a positive outlook will add years to your life. One Yale study has found that having a positive attitude to aging can help you live seven years longer.
5. Those who lose their temper and zap your energy.These are the ones who really drain your energy. Why do you have to absorb their silly and sometimes childish outbursts? We all have difficult moments. Keeping self-control will test us to our limits and we usually have ways of controlling it. Letting off steam may help these people but why should you have to absorb the fall out?
These short-fused people are underdeveloped psychologically and their emotional intelligence is hovering around zero. There is no need for them to be part of your inner circle.
I remember having to witness my doctor insulting, berating and screaming at his son on the phone while I waited to have a check up. It was awful having to listen to all that. Needless to say, I changed my doctor as soon as I could!
6. Those who show no compassion or empathy.You do not want these in your inner circle either for the simple reason that they are not capable of lending a sympathetic ear or understanding your problems when you need them to be around. These people have personality problems and some of them display narcissist tendencies.
They do not have the ability to put themselves in other people’s shoes. This is the key to social interaction and sound, ethical behavior. That is why you do not want them around you.
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity can not survive.” – Dalai Lama.
7. Those who are dishonest and lie to you.
“Lying is done with words, and also with silence.”- Adrienne Rich
Some friends will swear secrecy when you tell them something confidential. When you find this information is now common knowledge, you may well be furious and decide to end the friendship. But dishonest and untruthful people can also do harm in many other ways. They may lie to you about their debts or if they are having problems at work. They may also be insincere and lie to you about what they think of your behavior when you ask them for feedback.
These people can only damage friendship over time because trust, truthfulness and honesty are the most precious qualities in any friendship. If they do these things, they are not worthy of your friendship.
8. Those who are manipulative and will exploit you.There are some friends who just want to use you to get an introduction to an important person you know, a job interview or even a date. They use gossip as a weapon and there is always a hidden agenda. They are angling for that job so they will make sure you do not apply.
They will tell you scary stories about the job, the boss and the miserable salary. They are just reducing the number of contenders to their advantage.
Manipulative friends know how to extract information from you or get you to reveal certain weaknesses which they will then use against you. They will exploit your generosity and your social conscience and will rarely give anything in return. You can soon spot it if you are the one who is always the giver or the one who pays for everything! These people have to be avoided because they are using you.
9. Those who are deliberately hurtful.These people have a range of tactics and remarks which can be very hurtful. It might be your parents criticizing how you are bringing up your children when your own upbringing was nothing to write home about. It could be an off the cuff remark, which is sly or hurtful, and leaves you feeling wounded.
Sometimes, people make nasty remarks which call into question your own honesty, diligence or ability. Other occasions are when friends fail to deliver on their promises such as not doing you the favour you requested or just forgetting to call you.
These are hurtful tactics that you should not overlook and have to put up with. These friends and family members seem to be more intent on laying mines than displaying warmth, affection and support. That is why you need to get rid of them.
10. Those who are stressed out.Did you know that humans are programmed to think negatively and they are always worried about safety, health and survival? Anthropologically, this makes sense, since as cavemen, things were not that great. It is amazing how this built-in stress is still with us today. That is why, when stressed out people appear in our cubicles or phone us, we have to be ready to withstand them.