Being around people who don’t support you – be they friends, family or colleagues – can be damaging to your self-esteem and also make it harder for you to stick to goals you have set yourself including healthy habits, such as regular exercise, less alcohol, no smoking, eating properly and sleeping enough. When you are tired from being out late with your friends, you are not likely to achieve your work goals and this will reduce your happiness level. In the same way, when you don’t eat healthily, you are likely to suffer adverse health consequences, which will interfere with your happiness level. Likewise, not surrounding yourself with people who support your personal goals is unlikely to make you fulfilled or move in the direction you would want your life to take.
Many people surround themselves with negative and poisonous people without realising they are the reason they remain so unhappy. If you want to know if the people around you are not right, start noticing how you feel when you are with different people. True friends make you feel energized, confident and optimistic. Toxic people will make you feel drained, unsure of yourself and uneasy.
You should simply stop feeding relationships with people you are not at ease with. Stop calling them, sending text messages, sending birthday cards and making plans to meet up. You will often find when you cut out communication the friendship will just fade away. However, don’t ever end a friendship in a hurtful way such as calling the person to tell them you want it over with because they have done ABC to you, or insulting or blaming them for mistakes in your life. Its best just to fade away from their lives so they can remember you for the good times you shared and not the bad ending to the relationship. And you never know, people do change and you may want to have them back in your life when they stop being toxic.
You may not be able to stay away from difficult colleagues and family members, but you can stop engaging with them. Keep your contact minimal, sticking to neutral conversations and volunteering little about what’s going on in your own life. That way, you will start to build up a boundary that will keep them at arms length. If it’s a colleague, stick to work issues and don’t socialise with them outside work. However, you must ensure that you do not cut out the professional working relationship, as this will interfere with your personal performance or your department or even the entire company.
Published on April 2013