New Year’s Resolution #6:
Continue to seek out positive people while eliminating unnecessary contact with those who are negative and drag me down.
When do I make the determination that enough is enough with someone? Other than a base gut feeling, it is tough to place in quantitative form.
Blood relatives are perhaps the trickiest. At the end of the day, they are family, and we have all heard the preachings on tolerating family. But what if the family member is literally dragging you down?
Physical abuse requires drastic action and is black and white once help is sought. Outright verbal abuse should never be tolerated either.
But what about the random snide comments, the tone of voice, the favoritism or hostility? Definitely say something and make it clear what is and is not acceptable for you. Choose a one-on-one setting and stick to the point. Don’t let anyone get you sidetracked with a random side issue.
In an ideal world, it would stop there. That’s not my world though. In my world, the behavior has changed for a few weeks and then reverts back. Or the conversation becomes pointless because the other person doesn’t get my point.
Depending upon the type of family member and your history, you have two options:
1. Limit interaction to a minimum.
2. End regular contact.
I have opted for #1, and it’s a tough balancing act. I constantly do a self check to ensure I am not letting the person in too much. I worry that I will unintentionally vent to another family member who will then feel caught in the middle. But it’s a small price to pay for my sanity by not having the bad family member meddling in my life and making me feel less than adequate.
Whether it’s been a full-blown relationship or a fling that keeps re-surfacing, one or two guys have made me doubt myself.
If you think something is wrong, it probably is. And then when you break up and he hops into bed with that girl you suspected he had a thing for, you know you were right. But he made you think you were crazy. The nerve.
That one was easy to cut off – until after I moved away when he would call me with his problems and send me a birthday gift. Yes, I kept the plant alive. It’s a money tree and good luck, after all.
Time cures all things, and this was no exception. Eventually it reverted back to making me feel bad about being me. So I cut off the contact completely. He is now married, and all is well in the world.
And there’s always a guy who doesn’t give up, even if he’s clearly not mature or available. Rather than tell them off, which only makes them more persistent, I ignored them. And ignored, and ignored. And, a few months later, they got the hint. Yes, I had two issues at the same time – from different points of time in my past. We have occasional relapses when they text me, but I refuse to acknowledge these lapses.
The saying goes, “You can choose your friends, but you are stuck with your family.” Then why do so many of us tolerate negative, life-sucking friends at one point or another during our lives?
It’s simple. He or she was likely fun at one point, whether it lasted for that few hours you were drinking, or a few months, or during the first year or two you knew each other.
Before you do anything else, seek to understand where the friend is coming from and have a heart to heart. After all, you chose this person in the beginning and you need to determine if those good traits are just dormant or buried by the bad stuff.
As with everyone else, if the behavior doesn’t change, you must end the relationship. Do it with as little drama as possible. Tailor the response to the person. Determine if it’s better to be unavailable, have a final conversation to end it all, or something else.
If the friend is part of a group of friends you hang out with often, find a solution you can accept without placing others in the group in the middle. Chances are, if you take a step back, you will see that either others likely feel the same way as you, or you will discover that you are the odd man out. In that case, you are dealing with a swarm of negativity. Regardless, step away from it all, and those who really want to spend time with you will find a way to do it removed from the group. Do not issue ultimatums with the group. Do what you need to do for yourself and move along.
Cut Your Losses!
Giving up on negative people is tough because we feel like we are failing. If we could only make them understand….. But that’s the point. If we could make them understand, we wouldn’t have an issue.
We have the opportunity to meet so many people every day. I’m not going to waste another minute on the negative people, because they keep me from getting to know those who will enrich my life.