The word friends inside a red circle with a line crossed through
Difficult challenges, Family, Friends, Relationships

Eliminating negative people

In an ideal world we would all get on with each other and people would be honest with their intentions for each other. Unfortunately, the world is not like that. I have learned this myself the hard way. I am someone who wears my heart on my sleeve and in some ways, I am a bit too trusting. Sometimes we are friends with people or even have family members who are causing us emotional pain and we do not necessarily realise it. Read on to spot the negative people in your life so you can take action today.

Friends

Sometimes we are ‘friends’ with people who on the surface seem lovely. They may have even been in your life for a very long time. However, sometimes the sad truth is that they do not always have the same love and respect for you as you do for them. In fact, if you sit and think about it, you probably already know who I am talking about. You will have noticed that after spending time with these ‘friends’ that you feel lower than usual or you have a strange uneasy feeling which you can’t shake. Maybe, you have convinced yourself that it is your fault for being too sensitive or dramatic. These types of friends often fall in but are not limited to four categories.

The passive-aggressive friend.

These ‘friends’ often say things which are insults against you. However, they are said with a friendly tone or in a way that makes you question yourself, instead of them. I had a friend like this from my childhood and we had been friends for a very long time. When I sat and thought about things one day and put all of those comments together, I realised how much the things that they said were really affecting my confidence and self-esteem. 

So for example, she knew how I had been bullied for being overweight. When I had lost weight and weighed 8st 7lbs, she would say things like ‘I’m surprised that my brother likes you in that way as he only normally likes skinny girls’ or if I said that I was hungry she would say ‘Oh yeah, I forgot you’re used to eating so much more than me’. Another time when we going out to a party she said ‘I’m surprised your wearing that’. When I asked why she said ‘oh, it’s just I know how you feel about your body but don’t worry’. 

There were countless other examples over the years where she would make negative comments about how I looked. It was not until my confidence grew and I put it all together that I realised what she was doing. Sometimes people feel the need to put others down to elevate themselves up. That is not the sort of person that I need in my life so I stopped being friends with her. 

The energy consumer friend.

These ‘friends’ are so consumed by their own problems that whenever you see them the whole topic of conversation is about them and their problems. You very rarely get a ‘how are you?’, it is all things which concern them. They are often very negative people and depressed themselves. When you leave them after a visit or even a phone call you are left feeling exhausted.  Another problem with friends like this is that if you are feeling low yourself it can make you feel worse. Misery breeds misery. 

Greyscale Photography of Woman Wearing Long-sleeved Top. Negative people. Sadness.
Energy consumer friends can leave you feeling emotionally drained

The two-faced friend.

Then of course there is the ‘friend’ that seems great on the outside. That is until you realise that the only reason that they are so nice is so that you tell them personal things which they can then tell others in your friendship circle or location. They will also tell you how great you are looking and then tell others how terrible you look at the moment. These people normally appear quite popular so you may feel that it is worth it to be included. The truth is, it is never worth being made to feel bad about yourself. Although they may seem positive on the outside, they are very negative people. If you have a friend that talks about other friends to you behind their back you must realise that there is a 99% certainty that they are doing the same about you. 

The obsessed friend.

Finally, there is the obsessed ‘friend’. These people become too friendly and want to spend every minute of every day with you. They can get jealous if you have other friends aside from them. They may even adapt how they look to be more like you. While it may seem like a compliment to have someone like you so much, this is not healthy. It will lead to one or both of you getting hurt, so you need to be very careful about continuing these types of friendships. 

I am not saying that you need to cut anyone who resembles these characteristics out of your life. You do need to consider if there are some ‘friends’ that do not have your best intentions at heart. It can feel really horrible having to eliminate friends but you need to look after yourself. Sometimes people are just not compatible with each other. You do not need to make a big drama out of it or be mean. Just explain that you feel that you are not getting the best from the friendship and that it would be better if you didn’t continue seeing each other. They may react badly but then, just end contact knowing that you handled things with kindness and dignity. 

Family

Perhaps the hardest of the two groups of people. Sometimes, family members can also fall into those four categories too. This can be really difficult when it comes to family, especially if it is a really close family member such as a parent. You need to look at how much value having them in your life gives you. If you are constantly feeling put down or talked about behind your back then you really need to make a decision to move forward. You could try talking to the person and telling them how they make you feel as they may not be aware that they are even behaving in such a way.

However, this could backfire and cause world war three!  They may not accept that their behaviour is the problem and try and turn the issues back on to you. This often happens with negative people. If this happens then you may find it better to walk away. Perhaps cut contact for a month and see how you feel. Whatever happens, you need to do what is best for you. Unfortunately, there is also a fifth category for family members, which I feel is the most difficult to understand and make peace with. 

The disinterested family member

This family member shows very little interest in you and your life. They do not call or pop in to see you unless you arrange it first. They show very little, if any, affection towards you and offer no support. When you do see them they may ask you questions about your life but as you answer you see their eyes glaze over and know that they are not really listening. They do not really know much about who you are as an adult and never show any genuine interest in getting to know you.

Growing up the media often tells us that family is important and should be there for each other (which I totally agree) but that makes it so much harder when you have a disinterested family member to deal with, as you so want them to change and actually give you that attention and affection which you crave. The thing is, they may be family, but they are still just people and you can not change people. People have to change themselves. More importantly, they have to want to change.

In this instance, you really only have two choices. You have to decide how important it is to you to have the family member in your life. You can not change them so you have to either accept them as they are or cut contact. It is not for me to say what you should do. You need to really think about how the relationship affects you.

My experience

I struggled with a disinterested family member for most of my life until I realised this. I knew that as much as it hurt and frustrated me to feel so unimportant to this family member, I could not live a happy life without them in it. Therefore, I had to make the decision to accept them as they are. The decision to not expect anything else from them as they do not have the ability to give anything else. I had to depersonalise the situation and realise that it is not that they have it in for me, it is just how they are and how they will always be. Since accepting that, we have had a better relationship. Therefore, sometimes there are ways to live with negative people in your life if you are willing to make some changes yourself. 

I hope that I have given you some food for thought so that you can eliminate any negative people from your life. 

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