circle of friends. negativity detox.

Friends should make you feel good, happy, be supportive, encouraging and share ideas.  And, vice versa.  Friendships should be reciprocal.  Unfortunately, many of us are acquainted with people who mostly complain, rant, talk about other people, limit your choices of activities because they don’t want to go places or participate in activities because someone that they don’t like will be there or they refuse to do something that they don’t prefer, they only give backhanded compliments or none at all, they chronically talk about their problems and, if they stop talking long enough to listen to you, only really want to hear about your problems in return.  Sound familiar?  There is one in every bunch.  Heaven forbid if you are that person.

It is okay, and highly recommended, to detoxify the negative people from your life.  The negative energy from toxic people is draining, emotionally and physically.  It can affect your energy level, as well as cause you stress and anxiety.  If communicating with this person makes you feel weary, and not in a tired-from-a-fun-afternoon-of-laughing-or-participating-in-a-great-activity-kind-of-way, it is time to start evaluating the reasons why you keep [torturing yourself with] this person in your life.

You have known this person your whole life.  You don’t have to write this person out of your existence.  It’s not an amputation [unless you want it to be].  In some cases you can’t anyway, as the toxic person could be a family member.  You do, however, have control over how you spend your free time.  For the most part, you can gently extricate [curiously, a synonym of amputate] the person by limiting your exposure to them.  Politely decline invitations to participate or engage.  It may be difficult at first, but as time passes, the person should get the hint.  Or, they will simply tire of reaching out to you and start complaining about you to whoever else they haven’t estranged [yet] by their bad behaviour.  If they outright ask you why you don’t have time for them anymore, you don’t have to provide feeble excuses or stoop to their level of negativity by being rude, just simply tell them that you are sorry and really just don’t have any spare time.  It isn’t an outright lie.  You don’t have to go into the specifics of ‘Don’t Have = Don’t Want’ and ‘Spare Time = Spare Time for You’.

This person is part of your circle of friends or your family.  In this case, avoiding the toxic person can be more difficult, but it isn’t  impossible.  In group settings, there can be strength in numbers.  You can steer yourself toward another person, thus away from the toxic person.  You don’t have to sacrifice the rest of your friends or family.  Do your best to avoid one-on-one contact with the toxic person.  Unfortunately, everyone else will likely be racing to outmanoeuvre you to avoid the same person.  You could even turn it into an inside [with yourself only] game, er… experiment.  If you lose the race, and come face to face with the toxic person, avoid engaging in the negativity.  Change the subject and do your best to steer conversations, as best as possible, to positive, less flammable topics.

This person won’t stop communicating with you.  Ah, the relentless.  Most toxic people are persistent by nature, as is evidenced by their constant, often repetitive, complaining and ranting.  They can wear you down with their tireless tenacity.  Don’t give up or give in.  Like trying to fight a fire with fire, don’t attempt to combat negativity with negativity.  Stay polite.  Decline promptly and concisely.  You don’t have to lie, but if you must give a reason, do so.  Who doesn’t have something to do at any given time.  Just use whatever it is that you have to do as the reason for not being able to acquiesce, whether it be laundry, paperwork, yard work, etc.  And, refuse to be swayed away from those things.

Remember, you deserve good, positive friends [if you are a good positive friend, that is].  And, don’t feel guilty for wanting to free yourself of the life-and-energy-sucking-negativity that a toxic person oozes out of their very pores.  If you free up the time and space that is occupied by the negative people in your life, you will create room for positive people to enter it.

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