Toxic People

If you don’t have any Toxic People in your life, you are very, very, very lucky.

Toxic people are people who are bad for you to be around. I don’t mean dangerous. I mean bad. They make you ill. They waste your time, energy and resources.

1. During or after a conversation with this person, do you feel insulted, depressed, worn-out, drained?
2. When you are about to meet this person, do you feel tense? Does your heart rate increase? Do you have an immediate, internal, silent groan of, “Oh, no, not him/her!”?
3. After one brief meeting with this person, do you feel tired for the rest of the day?
4. Do you complain about having to deal with this person to other people in your life?

If the answer to ANY of the above is “Yes”, then you may be dealing with a Toxic Person. If the answer is “Yes” to two or more, then you are probably dealing with a Toxic Person.

I don’t pretend to understand Toxic People. It doesn’t make sense to me why someone insists on insulting me or belittling me in casual conversation. I don’t know why it ends up that I’m the one doing all the work of keeping the relationship alive (planning the movie trips, the lunch/dinners, the games, all the social interactions). What I do know is that I’ve spent countless hours ranting to my S.O. about certain people. Then finally, one day, I picked one of these people, and started applying the Rule of Three. The Rule of Three basically states, if I have to ask someone to stop doing something a third time, I will operate under the assumption that they will not stop doing it. Applying the Rule of Three is pretty straight-forward:

One. “You know, Bob, that embarrassing situation that you keep bringing up? The way you tell it isn’t the way I remember it. It happened a long time ago. I’m really tired of being reminded of it. So let’s drop it, OK?”

Two. “Bob, I asked you last week to stop bringing that up. I’d rather spend my fun time with friends talking about something else. Like politics. What do you think of McCain’s tax plans versus Obama’s?”

Three. “Bob, when we meet, all you want to talk about is that embarrassing situation from five years ago. I’m tired of it. Goodbye.”

I stopped calling Bob (see, it was always me calling Bob to set up a meet). I stopped meeting Bob socially. If Bob and I met by chance, I politely said, “I’m very sorry, but I’m on a schedule and I don’t have time to chat. If you like, you can call me tonight at eight.” Bob didn’t call.

After about two weeks of this, Bob asked, “What? Don’t you want to be friends anymore?”

To which I responded, “Bob, we haven’t been friends for five years. Friends support each other instead of one of them constantly cutting the other one do-“

Bob interrupted, “You’re not still upset about me joking about that thing from college?”

“If you can’t show me the basic courtesy to let me finish talking, then go away.”

Bob didn’t get it. I don’t think Bob ever will get it. I finally realized that Bob and I hadn’t been friends for years. Bob had attached himself to me like a leech, constantly sucking on my emotional resources and putting me down to make himself feel better. I was the sack that he poured the poison of his own life into. I had just cut that sack of poison away.

I felt great. I had removed the leech!! I felt scared. I’d just cut off part of my social network. I felt great! I didn’t waste my time with my beloved S.O. ranting about Bob anymore!! I felt scared. What were my other friends going to think about this – especially because I’d have to start avoiding get-togethers that included Bob. I felt GREAT!!! I wouldn’t be going to those get-togethers and have to deal with the leech!!!!

Suddenly, I have all this time and energy. I can finish a couple of projects I haven’t had the motivation to do. Or maybe I can go out and meet new people. Maybe I’ll make friends with that lady at the coffee shop…

3 Responses to “Toxic People”

  1. Kapil says:

    gia provato eisai va8ia sniuas8imatiko:) de nomizw na yparxei vevaia zwo, poy na min to aggiksei i istoria afti, giati oloi 8a kanoun tis anagwges tous..o xronos, o dromos kai o ponos…

  2. […] You’re REALLY finished? Yes? Woo-hoo!! Celebrate. Show off your accomplishment to friends and family. Kick back with a package of fresh cherries or blueberries and cream. REWARD yourself. Take note of your friends’ and family’s reaction. If they aren’t happy for you, you may want to watch for toxic behavior. […]

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