Bonds with Toxic Friends
Not everyone will understand your vision, and not everyone will see their negative impact on you, especially as we grow, evolve and reinvent ourselves.
We all have people in our lives who we could call energy suckers. They weaken us and make us feel insecure. It’s not easy, but just because you’ve been friends with someone for 20 years doesn’t mean they deserve a permanent place in your life.
Sometimes we want to be in a group of friends so much that we do not see their negative impact on our development.
As I began to push myself to step out of my comfort zone and open up to new possibilities, I shared my vision with many friends. Inviting them to join me for this journey, but it goes another way around, and I got some valuable life lessons.
Three Groups of Friends
I realized there are three different groups of friends. It is obvious when I look at it now. But when feelings and emotions are involved, it’s hard to know who belongs to which group:
- First, they will support you all the time, no matter what you do in your life. They will always be with you.
- Second, they recognize what you are doing and support you from a distance, not criticizing, not engaging, but also not making it difficult. This group of friends is harmless and neutral, watching you how it will go, and at some point they may join your journey.
- And the third group are people who only pretend to be your friends but secretly joke and gossip about everything you do. Sometimes even starting to intimidate and bulling you whenever they get the chance.
If you become emotionally attached to the third group, you can spend years walking motionless. Unfortunately, in my case, it was the third group of people that I focused on and emotionally connected with.
Group of socially cool and trendy people and I wanted to belong to them. Instead of being supported and motivated to grow and follow my dreams, I have found myself being bullied on social media and in real life of who I want to become.
The Influence of Toxic Friends
Eventually, I relized that most of my negative self-talk comes from striving for these friendships. Once I knew this, I started to cut myself off from this group, and my life began to change.
I started to believe in myself more. See other friendships that may not be as “cool socially,” but bring a lot of value to my life. I have opened myself to meet new people and welcome new opportunities.
Sometimes we have to make a difficult decision and look at our circle from a different perspective; this does not mean that we must distance ourselves from people who negatively influence us. But we should know and be aware of who we are listening to and who adds value to our lives.
This doesn’t mean that those who negatively influence us want bad things for us. Sometimes they don’t know that they are hurting us with their behavior and it is enough to talk to them, but if that doesn’t work, then we should take steps to build our boundaries and protect our energy.
Toxic Friends Outside the Tier of Five
Jim Rohn said you are the mean of the five closest people around you. So take a look at the five people you spend the most time with to see how they affect you.
Do they help you or harm you? Deep down you already know the answer to this question. If they hurt you, hold you back, make you insecure, you need to limit or end the time you spend with them.
Sometimes these people are members of our family, so it’s hard to cut them off. If so, limit your interactions and don’t let their thinking affect you.
Look at your circle from a different perspective. Take a close look at these three groups of friends and use the exercises below to choose who you want in your circle.
1. Write down the five people you talk to and spend the most time with.
2. Rate them good, bad, or average in terms of mental and physical health, career, finances and their life values. Then ask: should you listen to them or not in these areas?
3. Do they think positive or negative? Open-minded or close-minded? Long term or short term?
4. Are they trying to help you or they don’t care or making it more difficult?
5. How much time should you spend with them, if any?
Do Not be Afraid
As I begin to embrace my self-growth, I moved on, hoping that everyone I love would notice and follow me to make this journey together. But no one did. Sure, I got support from people I expected. A lot of support comes from people I never thought they respect me so much. But in fact, nobody I knew go on a journey with me, and that’s okay because I have met many new people who accept and support of who I am now.
It took me over three years to realize that I can’t save anyone. That I’m not responsible for anyone happiness. It doesn’t mean I don’t love people which I left behind me, but I finely learned how to love and choose myself.
So don’t be afraid to walk alone. Trust the process, take your first steps and never look back.
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