Leading a happy life can be one where you need to take drastic measures. One of those measures is removing the shitty people out of your life that bring you down rather than complementing your life. You’re probably wondering two things, how do you know you have a crappy friend and how to dump a toxic friend?
Over the last several years of my life, I have been really trying to understand my own mind and what makes me happy. After reading several self development style books and articles, the thing that really stood out for me was the idea of removing toxic friendships from your life. We all know, that we have a limited amount of time for socialising on a day to day and thus we should spend that time with people we actually enjoy. Studies done by evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar on friendships, shows that the average person has about 150 friends, these are people you feel comfortable in any social interaction. But breaking down that 150 is quite interesting:
- Your closest and what you would classify as inner circle of friends – five
- The next level, who you would classify as those you would definitely invite to you birthday dinner – ten
- The extended circle of friends or friends from clubs, social groups – thirty five
- Acquatances/Filler friends – one hundred
Remember this is an average of course, but when you look at it closely you will probably start analysing your friendships with people much closer. Oh and I’m not talking about the virtual friends in Social Media world, this is all based around the real world. So when you understand that the brain, in itself has limited ability to actually manage no more than say 15 serious friendships, you will then realise that wasting this effort on a toxic friendship is not only time wasted, but it also makes you feel like crap!
Before figuring out how to dump a toxic friend, firstly what exactly is a toxic friendship? Here is a list to help you look at the friendships that you have and funny enough when you are reading it, you will probably be thinking about one of your friends and realise, yes just as I have been thinking. So take a look at this list and make up your own mind.
1. Negative! Negative! Negative! – You know that person who is constantly complaining about everything in life, the inability to notice the good things in their life and typically some of this negatvity can be directed at you. Putting you down and other people you know. Seriously who needs a friend like that?
2. Unsupportive – Everyone has heard the term give and take. Well, in this case it’s all about them. That type of friend, who you seem to always be there for and helping out, but deep down inside you know they are never there for you. They do not support your endeavours, even making fun of these achievements.
3. Envious/jealous/possessive – These kind of people are never happy for other people because internally they want what their friends have. So if they can’t have it, then nobody else deserves to have it.
4. Manipulative – Have you ever heard of the concept of emotional blackmail? Only there when they actually need something from you, knowing all the buttons to make you say, yeah no worries mate. But if you don’t give them what they are after, you are sure to feel the wrath and pay for it, one way or another.
5. Selfish/Self-centered – This has no benefit to me, who cares! Just because it’s not about you, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care. Do you know someone like that?
6. Immoral – Trust is an important part of all relationships, in fact probably the corner stone of all. Without it there is nothing really. But these kind of friends continuously lie and do things you would consider unethical. If you offer advice or judgement about these ways, obviously to help them to a better way of acting, they will typically deny or even get angry. When in fact all you are doing is trying to help.
7. Insincere – You ever noticed that tone in the voice or that look on the face when someone is saying something, but the actions are the total opposite. Insincere, in my common tongue I would call that being a bitch. Simply pretending to be happy about it is worse than saying nothing.
8. Inconsiderate – When you happen to go out of you way to help someone with something they need, sometimes these demands can be quite inconvenient. When you do help them they are rarely thankful for it, leaving you with that feeling of WTF?
9. A bad influence – Yes you know that person who makes you feel uncomfortable to do something you don’t want to. You could call them a bully, always hassling you to ‘come on’ just do it. But your own moral compass doesn’t think its a good idea.
So you have your checklist of things, while you probably already know inside that a lot of these make sense. When reading, you were thinking, ‘oh man’ old mate is exactly like that. You may have read it and thought, damn! I am a little bit like that. But all is not lost, if you think you may indeed show some of these traits towards others, especially people you like and love. The good news is, people can change, and continuous change is the only way of making yourself and those around you better people.
The question though, is what to do with these toxic friendships? There is two ways you can handle it. The first is, how I have gone about it. Simply sit down with your friend and explain their actions and let them know how these actions make you feel. Your simple answer to whether or not to continue this friendship will be their reaction, and guessing by the traits of these people sometimes you will get total denial and even anger. If that’s the case it’s pretty simple, good bye old friend.
If they take it all on board, what you are saying to them and they state some kind of apology and say they will do their best to change, then give them a second chance. Two things will then happen, life will go on and you will have a better friendship or they may fall back into their old ways and there is your sign to walk away. Of course if the second instance happens, once again it is time to break ties with this toxic friendship.
It’s definitely not an easy thing to do and is quite confronting, but trust me for peace of mind and to help yourself getting to happier place can only be done by removing negativity out of your life. Why would you want to be friends with people who make you feel like crap? One that you are continuously thinking about for bad things rather than the good. Do it, dump those shitty friends and do like I have done, created new prosperous friendships with people who are simply on the same wave length, that share the same ideals. Like I said at the start of this blog, we only have a certain amount of friendship space, why waste all that emotional energy on those toxic friendships.
If you have any stories of dealing with toxic friendships, feel free to share.