Making positive changes in our lives is crucial to sustaining happiness – whether it’s cutting back on unhealthy habits or knowing when to resist the temptation to buy that expensive sweater the next time you’re at the mall. But one very important change is to take a closer look at the people in your life.
The our entire life span, we meet and interact with various types of people – whether it’s schoolmates, colleagues, friends, acquaintances, or strangers – each encounter plays a pivotal role, to varying degrees, in shaping who we are today.
But with all of these interactions, it’s almost inevitable that a few bad apples will fall into the mix.
Unfortunately, there are people in the world who will take genuine kindness for granted. These types of people will prey on that vulnerability and create a false sense of friendship that isn’t real. They tend to do this by playing head games and through passive aggression. Are you consistently bothered by a friend’s actions? Do you keep wondering whether they actually like being around you for you and not because of what you can do for them? If you’re pondering that thought at all, that’s a good enough reason to question the entire friendship in the first place.
People that fit all or most of this profile can be categorized as being toxic. Some just give off of that ‘bad vibe’ from the start, while others show their true colours over time. And unfortunately, sometimes we see that side of them the hard way, only after something has occurred.
Is anyone coming to mind as you’re reading this? If so, it might be time to start re-evaluating your network of ‘friends’.
Here are three things to consider when re-assessing the people in your life:
1) Get it off your chest
I’m a huge fan of this, because sadly it doesn’t happen as often as it should. So many times, relationships of all sorts break down due to the lack of communication. If something is bugging you, then speak up about it. Don’t ever assume anything. Keeping your feelings bottled up and letting it fester will only make things worse. After all, we are all human and at some point, we have probably come across the wrong way to people we care about.
Sometimes we just need to be reminded of our fault in order to correct it. I’ve been in a situation myself where a good friend got the wrong idea about my actions and started assuming things that weren’t true. Luckily, she brought up her concerns with me and we were able to resolve everything and move on, but had she not, our friendship could have eroded without me ever realizing what went wrong.
Of course, communication will only work if it’s two-way. A person’s reaction (or lack of) will help you determine a lot. Are they ignoring you? Are they getting hostile and defensive instead of genuinely acknowledging the situation? Has it become simply exhausting to try and maintain the connection? All of these things will come into play to help you decide whether or not you want to continue trying to mend fences. It’s most certainly not a black and white situation – each scenario is very different and you are the best judge of how to handle it.
2) Test the waters subtly
If you have doubts about a friend’s sincerity, perhaps hold back the next time you’re asked for a favour. Are they genuinely understanding? Are they still making an effort to talk to you? Depending on how deep the friendship is, this tactic could help you gauge their sincerity without outwardly confronting them.
3) Onto the next chapter in your life
This is easier said then done. No one ever wants to accept the idea of what you thought to be a nice, blossoming friendship to disintegrate.
If you’ve given the benefit of the doubt too many times to no avail, then it’s probably time to accept the fact that you need to move on. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but just know that in the long run, it would have been for the best. Remember, you are looking out for yourself and your own happiness. If you are truly meant to have this person in your life, they will come back in a much more genuine and sincere way.
Now, when it comes to social media, I, personally, am not a fan of outright blocking people – unless the situation warrants it, of course (i.e.: you’re being harassed). If you’re trying to subtly distance yourself from someone, then proactively cutting them off isn’t always the answer.
In my humble opinion, you’re true strength and self-respect will be demonstrated more in deflecting and resisting the negativity instead of just blocking it out. If they are so used to you being at their beck and call and suddenly you’ve become unresponsive (by simply ignoring and not blocking), it should certainly evoke a reaction one way or another, and one that will give you that final clarity on their true nature. You wouldn’t necessarily be able to get this clarity if you proactively blocked them. Some food for thought.
I also want to believe that there is goodwill in everyone and there is always an underlying reason for certain behaviour. Who knows, not having you in their life anymore might actually make them realize the mistakes they made, get them to self-reflect, and enlighten them to become better a person.
Regardless, everyone has their own way of “detoxing”, so ultimately, do what works for you to get that sense of inner peace sooner than later.
The Power of Good People
There are tons of genuinely good people in the world and probably many already in your life. You just need to shift your focus on them. Take a moment to reflect on the ones where, when you meet after a long time, it feels like no time has passed.
Genuine people have a positive energy about themselves that rubs off on you. You can tell by how they make eye contact with you, how they smile at you, how they interact with you – it’s all about making a healthy connection. When you’re in their presence, you feel normal, complete, and right.
From my own experience, I have met some kind-spirited people by regularly attending an exercise class at my local gym. We just clicked. That’s how you know the connection is good – because you feel it. The instructor is awesome and her energy just resonates throughout the entire class. And what has strengthened the bond between us has been the class itself. Our camaraderie has become a source of motivation to come together each week and unleash our positive energy into an environment where everyone else has the same goal: self-improvement and empowerment.
So if you’re at a point in your life where you could use a good dose of positive people, consider what has worked for me: start going to the gym (if you aren’t already) and enroll in a group class, as a starting point. Or get involved in a charitable cause, like a marathon run to raise funds for medical research. What better way to begin developing healthy connections than in an environment where everyone around you is happily working towards their own goals for self-improvement? Not only will it motivate you to fulfill your own health and fitness goals, but you will begin attracting the right people before you know it.
Here’s a profound piece of advice to take away:
“Don’t chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. The right people – the ones who really belong in your life – will come to you. And stay.”
Happiness is contagious and when you are happy with yourself, the right people will gravitate towards you and stick around.