I love making new friends. They are a blank canvas to me, and unknown, and slowly I start to fill in their persona. In the process, I get to refine my speaking skills, learn from them, and network—with the potential of making a new friend. Some of the greatest people I know today all started with a simple conversation, and right from that point, I knew there was something special about them. They had this aura to them, filled with positivity, potential, and much more. I knew I had to be friends with them and I put in the effort to grow closer to them. On the converse, there are people who I call “toxic.”
Toxic people are the ones who take, take, take. You get nothing from them in return. They are draining, and they are not worth your time. I come across these people, and I can usually tell right from the moment I begin to talk to them. Even though I can tell, I usually give them the benefit of the doubt and try to keep on digging deeper. Some people are different, and you have to dig deep until they actually let you into their lives, and I completely respect that. Sooner or later, you will find out who is toxic in your life, and who is not. Hopefully
The saying, “You are the average of your five closet friends” goes a long way. It is so true! The people you surround yourself with are what you become. Five friends doesn’t seem like that many, as I’m sure you have many people that you surround yourself with, family, mentors, friends, etc. It is against human nature to have so many people around you, which is why they limit it to five only. The reason it is against human nature is because when we were cavemen, we would be in smaller groups—similar to your immediate family—to stay together. What if you had a toxic friend within your friend good? Well, just as the word indicates, it would spread within your group and affect each of your closest friends, sort of like a plague.
Now, what exactly is a toxic person? In my opinion, each person must define that person in their own way. Although, for general purposes, I will list some signs that a person would be toxic. Note that these signs can also apply to a relationship with a girlfriend or boyfriend, because your close friends will be considered an important relationship.
- The Taker
I know these people, they use you to gain a specific purpose. They are the nicest person one moment when they want something, and other times they will never talk to you, and ignore you like you don’t exist until you have something they want. These are some of the worst kinds of people because they just use people and pretend they have friends.
- You’re the One Always Putting in Effort
Similar to taking, but never giving, but slightly different. These kinds of people will appear to be your friend, and they may seem like it whenever you see them, but when it comes to making plans and trying to hang out or do something with them—everything is on you. They take advantage of you by knowing you are there to figure out everything for them.
- You Don’t Have Anything in Common with Them
These people aren’t necessarily bad people, but you just can’t click with them. You two are interesting in completely different things and have different values. In this case, you will start to butt heads, because you have conflicting opinions on things.
- The Lazy
Lazy is a broad word, define it how you like, but I cannot deal with these people. These people are just letting their lives drain away slowly, and if you continue to hang out around these people, you will begin to turn into them. I always try to keep moving and doing things, I am never sitting still.
- They Gossip
Gossipers are driven by the misfortunes of others, they thrive off of seeing others in pain. These people have something hurting them deep down and they need to see someone else in pain to make them feel better about themselves. Their friends have nothing to talk about but gossiping. There is too much good information out there to gossip, don’t waste your time with these people.
- The Envious
These people are jealous of everyone else. They may appear to be your friend, but once you have something that they don’t they will either put you down or try to one-up you. The grass is always greener on the other side for these people, they are always negative. Don’t spend too much time with these people or they will make you look down on all of your accomplishments.
- The Judgmental
These type of people make you question yourself before seeing them. They are always going to put you down for something you say, wear, think, etc. They are not willing to accept others opinions, instead they have their own say, nothing else. These people are a waste of time, they are only concerned with others because they don’t have anything else going on in their lives.
- The Emotionally-Unstable
These people are like a roller coaster, one second they are your best friend, the next second they hate your guts. Sometimes these people change depending on who they are around and that is not somebody you want to surround yourself with. They don’t know who they are and they feel the need to become somebody their not. These people are not worth the time unless they can fully commit to one persona.
What Should You Do If You Come Across Somebody Toxic?
Toxic people drive me mad because their behavior is so irrational, it doesn’t make any sense and you cannot predict what type of person you are expected to see with them.
Instead of pushing their buttons and driving them to become more unstable, I would say once you become aware that they are toxic, cater to them as much as possible and think before you speak. If you just speak without thinking, there is a chance that you are more likely to say something to tick them off.
Just remember, avoid these people at all costs, and be careful with what you say to them.
Now, if you start to think of your friends as a serious relationship, you may start to look at your friends differently. Some people have friends only for specific purposes, an example would be a friend you have to just go out with any party. I encourage you to have friends that you could treat just as a relationship, who you could do anything and everything with.
Once you establish friends who you have a deep and meaningful relationship with, you will be able to develop similar friends to you two and broaden your horizon, avoiding as many people that you are not compatible with.
I tried to keep this small list broad, because people can define toxic people in different ways. It is usually pretty easy to identify these people in your life, but it is hard to find people that you align with. Treat making friends just as you would hiring them for a job. They are your interviewee.
Hire slow, fire fast.