Avoid Toxic People
I really dislike the term “toxic people.” Calling other people toxic is just negative. Yet, people who on the one hand can be loving, compassionate, and fun can lean towards behaviors that are incompatible with others trying to surround themselves with the best life has to offer. They can just bring the people around them down.
“Toxic people” can come in all shapes and sizes, and the term can mean a lot of things depending on context. Here, as we talk about what you can do to lead a more positive life, “toxic people” means people that take you away from that goal.
We’ve talked before how the individual – YOU — are responsible for your own thoughts. YOU create your self-talk. YOU are in charge of the story line that gets told inside your head, yet we don’t live in a bubble. Others come and go in our lives, and others do have an effect on our experiences. We are social beings and we need others in our lives.
That said, we can also take an active role in how we let others into our experience. This means letting those who affect you positively into your experience, and keeping those who impact you negatively to a minimum.
How Do You Spot Toxic People?
1) Toxic people are cynical.
These are the people who always seem to have a negative worldview. They tend to always look at circumstances as though the glass is half empty. They constantly seem to want to point out the downfall or the negative in any situation.
2) They tend to have a negative tone. Have you ever noticed that, when talking to some people, just through their tone and body language they give you energy? Alternatively, have you ever noticed those who tend to deplete your energy? Have you ever noticed these people’s tone of voice? A lot of times, it’s just really demoralizing!
3) Toxic people can be those who are really insecure. These people put others down to make themselves feel better. They tend to give themselves humble-sounding compliments like, “I can’t believe I was able to do this… but I…” They may constantly one-up others, needing to get the last word in without giving others value in the conversation. They are either secretly or outwardly seeking attention.
4) They gossip. It’s almost like they feed on talking badly about others. Why? It speaks to a need to be involved, a need for feeling important, and their own insecurities.
Who does gossip hurt? Well, it CAN hurt the person who’s the topic of conversation, but often, they don’t even know they’re being talked about! It really hurts the gossipers. Why? It focuses on the negative. It’s negative energy. It’s not leading to the positive life that’s our goal.
So if you know what toxic people look like and what they do, what do you do about it?
Avoid Negative People and Negative Situations
That’s right! You can’t change others, and weren’t meant to, but you CAN remove yourself from bad situations. This has to be intentional. It’s a matter of choice. Make a conscious choice to avoid being around negative people. If you’re in a toxic relationship, determine what makes it that way. What is keeping you both from being able to work toward that positive, fun, constructive life you want?
Avoiding other people or situations that are toxic can difficult to do, but it can be done. Just find someone or something that takes you out of whatever negative situation you’re in, and immerse yourself in someone or something that makes you feel good.
In some cases this is near impossible. In these situations, the key is not to get emotionally connected to the negative. The true compass is your feelings. If a situation makes you FEEL badly, you’re NOT headed in the direction of a positive life.
Some other tips when avoiding won’t work?
- Notice when topics make you feel badly, and change the subject to something that makes you feel good!
- See if you can point out something funny, something that makes you all laugh.
- Be outwardly grateful. It’s surprising sometimes how this catches on. A negative topic that’s redirected through gratefulness can completely change the outcome of an interaction!
Lastly, if you leave a friend’s company and you realize that you’re constantly feeling badly when you look back at your interaction, maybe consider other friends to spend more time with.
Here’s the thing: we only have a little time here on earth. If you’re seeking happiness and the best, most positive experience while you’re here, realize that you have a choice where you spend that time. Knowing that others have influence on you and ultimately help shape who you are, choose wisely.
Here’s to enjoying the journey!