Spending Time with the Right People

You know the types:

  • The judgmental.
  • The selfish.
  • The unnecessarily dramatic.
  • The comparative, who want to ensure you know that they feel better or worse than you.
  • The negative.
  • The grumpy.
  • The whiners.
  • The guilt-trippers.
  • The ones who will only ever do things on their schedules.
  • The ones who receive and never give.

Not people who sometimes take on these characteristics, but people whose lives hew to these traits, the people whom you could define by these descriptors.

Dump ‘em.

I had a friend for whom I continually bent over backwards to help fix her self-made problems, to serve as a shoulder when she needed a cry and an ear when she could use a listen and company when she felt lonely. Yet when I needed these comforts, other things took priority in her life. As hard as it felt to let the friendship loose, I dropped it.

I knew someone who blamed me for his every mistake, who lashed out at me every time he failed, who verbally abused me when he felt badly, just to ensure someone felt as poorly as he did—and to shift the blame. A person can only stomach that for so long.

Our lives have a finite measure of time, making our minutes above the earth our most precious resource. We waste the minutes we spend with toxic people. Further, we squander energy and adjacent time, because toxic people poison us and our lives. They make us grouchy. Or anxious. Or down on ourselves. Or stressed.

We need to ensure we spend our limited hours on people with whom we have reciprocal, mutually beneficial relationships. Doing so means occasionally stopping to assess how we spend our precious time. Toxic people suck us in, if we don’t stay vigilant.

In a healthful relationship, one person may sometimes give more, one will occasionally feel anger or negativity, moments will require a little selfishness. But with the right people, it balances out in the end.

How do you ensure you focus your efforts on the right folks?