Negative people have the potential to be downright toxic. Even the most positive people have trouble being around constant debbie downess – this is especially true if those negative nancies happen to be people you spend a lot of your time with AKA friends.
Friendships that only give you negative energy are friendships you don’t need. You deserve to surround yourself with relationships that encourage growth of the mind and spirit. If you have a friendship or relationship that prevents that growth or drags you down, you may be better off just ridding yourself of that relationship all together.
First, let’s cover why you don’t need those negative soul suckers in your life:
- You are who you surround yourself with. This might sound a little weird but it’s kind of like that old saying ‘you are what you eat’. It’s been said that the person you become is influenced greatly by who you spend your time with. Look at the people you hang out with the most and you will find that you have a lot of similarities. This is because the more time you spend with people, the more of their habits, verbiage, etc. you pick up. If you’re hanging around a lot of negative people, chances are you’ll become more negative yourself.
- Negativity will affect your energy level. Being around negativity constantly can be a real energy sucker. I’m serious. Once you’ve spent a decent amount of time with someone listening to them only moan and complain about every little thing in their life, or even put you down on a regular basis, you’ll feel drained and depressed. Not only does this affect you for the time you spend around them, it will also affect you long-term by amping up your stress and anxiety levels.
- Negative people take up valuable space. All those toxic friendships and negative relationships your wasting time and energy on? Yeah, you could be using that time and energy on someone more positive and deserving. Negative people take up space in your life – valuable space that a positive, more supportive person could be residing in. Time to clean up your real estate, my friend.
Next, let’s identify those negative little leeches:
- How do they handle their problems? Do they constantly complain and dump on you – then do NOTHING to actually solve the problem? Do they completely disregard all your advice? Let me tell you, a person that consistently complains about the same things yet does nothing to change their situation is toxic. I’m not talking about the casual complainer who just needs an ear from time to time – we all have our moments where we need to vent about family, work, etc. You’ll know a toxic complainer when you meet one.
- Do they shoot down my dreams, goals, or decisions? Do they make snide comments or do things that sabotage your goals/aspirations? Do they put you down? Or tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t do something? For example: when I was in college, I put on a few pounds and decided I needed to make a lifestyle change. I started eating healthier and exercising on a regular basis, and quickly saw results. However, throughout that journey, I had a friend that constantly made comments such as ‘I don’t see a difference’, ‘It’s funny that I’m still skinnier than you’, or ‘What’s the point’. She would also make me cookies and cupcakes, even though she knew I was trying to make a lifestyle change. Unfortunately, friends like that aren’t friends at all. Anyone that tries to stop you from reaching your goals or discouraging you from going after your dreams is not a friend you want to have in your back pocket. Trust me.
- Do they make an effort in our friendship? Do they refuse to call/text you first? Forget to invite you out or ask you to do things? If you find that the only times you talk or hang out are when you initiate it, it might be time to take a step back. A friendship should be give and take, 50/50. If you’re doing all the work and getting none of the reward, your friendship might be toxic.
And the most important question to ask yourself..
- How do I feel after I hang out with this person? Do you leave them feeling depressed, doubtful, drained, or in any way negative? Do you dread seeing this person? Do they always take the last piece of pizza [unforgivable]?!?! If you answered yes to any of those, it might be time to reevaluate your relationship with that person and decide if they are really someone you want in your life.
If you’ve decided that someone is negative and you’re no longer interested in being friends, here are a few ways to let them go:
- Talk to them. Tell them exactly how you’re feeling and what has been bothering you – maybe they weren’t aware of how they were acting! Take the time to calmly communicate with them and make sure to come from a place of compassion and love. You won’t get anywhere if you attack them and start listing everything they’ve done wrong. By talking to your negative friend and bringing the problems to light, you will both be able to evaluate the friendship and see if it is worth saving. If communicating with them doesn’t work, simply tell them you need a break and then cut ties.
- Stop talking to them. Depending on the friendship and situation, it might just be better to cut ties right away. Avoid seeing them, stop answering their calls, etc. If you have mutual friends and this option is completely impossible, try limiting the time you spend with them. Hang out only in groups, cut calls short, whatever. Even though this sounds mean, you will feel so much better ridding yourself of such a toxic friend. Simply stop communicating and send them off with love and a prayer.
Staying friends with someone just because it is convenient or you feel like you have no other friends is no way to go through life. There are MILLIONS of beautiful souls out there, you just have put yourself out there and meet them. It is because there are so many wonderful potential friends in the world that I really want to encourage you to dump the toxic ones you currently have. Friendships come and go – it’s a sad, unfortunate fact. However, cleaning out the rotten friendships makes space for true and lasting friendships to take their place.
I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true. All relationships – friendships, romances, etc. – need to be give and take. You also need to enjoy the relationships you’re in. Once you’ve found a friend that you enjoy being around and genuinely connect with, you’ll be much happier.
As a side note, if you think your toxic friend needs to talk to someone, or that they are a risk to themselves or others, encourage them to get help. There are resources out there for people who are depressed and/or in need of someone to talk to.
Readers: How do you deal with toxic friends? Any advice for other readers? Are YOU the friend that steals that last piece of pizza [YOU MONSTER]?!?