Have you ever had a friend which after you speak to for 5 minutes, you feel like you have just finished an exam, after living on Coca-Cola with a side of Kit-Kat’s? Have you ever had a friend that when you see their name on your Mobile Caller ID you think “Oh No – Someone, please shoot me in the head?”
Then they leave you a message and you think “Awww – Do I really want to listen to it?”. Then when you have to call them back, it feels like you are giving birth to a litter of kittens?
Well, I certainly have had friends like this in my past. Some are really really nice people who are just a bit down temporarily. This is not what I am talking about, as I have been down in my own life and there have been some great friends there to “Pull me out of the gutter” (who would have put up with a lot of my own pointless negativity). What I am talking about are truly “Toxic People”. These are people which are known to manipulate, lie, coerce, use and I have noted are generally selfish in nature. The people I am talking about are ones that choose to continually “Churn & Burn” and are consistently acting like this.
Now, some of you may be either nodding your head right now or thinking “Ed’s Just Labeling People”. In that case, you are right – I try and avoid labels, but you got me on this one. In fact, there have been some dark times in my life, where I allowed “Toxic People” to really get in my head. This can be by “Feeling Sorry” for them, not having the “Self-Esteem” to disagree actively with them or just simply when I ignore my mothers advice and hang out with the wrong people.
One thing that I have really learned was the importance of being careful who you hang out with. One key experience was when I was in my early 20’s. I lived in this great apartment block in Melbourne and made friends with a few guys & girls around my age (living in the same block).
One of them, I noticed from day 1 was always a “Little Bit Odd”. Quite friendly at the start and being a young man we did hit quite a few bars and clubs together. We had a nice group of friends there.
But then, this person had a disagreement with another in the group. And wow – this is where things turned pear shaped! This person would always try and attack the other publicly (even without being provoked) and then all the “Toxic People” tricks came out. Public bullying, back-stabbing, lying about what the other person was doing everything and everything! They even got really paranoid as well and did a great job at roping me into all their problems. In fact, they were so certain that:
– “I was right and the whole world was wrong”
This person was just an enemy maker. In fact, because everyone was “Out to Get Them”, they would attack first! Well, wasn’t this a self-fulfilling prophecy! And they were depressing! Everything was bad – life was terrible, no opportunities out there and even I was under blame from them! But here’s the problem, because I was associated with them (and wasn’t careful around this obviously “Toxic Person”) they were temporarily successful at pulling me out of my own “Happy & Focused” state and getting me on their level. Now, I eventually sniffed out the rat for who it was, but at the same time – I wasted a few good months!
I should really listen to my mother more in that she always has the best advice:
– “Hang around with the wrong crowd and you will become the wrong crowd!”
If only, I just paid more attention to her when I was growing up?