5 Types Of Toxic People You Need To Break Up With — Yesterday
I'm going to sound like such a social worker when I say this, but one of my favorite words in the whole wide world is "boundaries." Say it with me. Boundaries. It just rolls off your tongue, doesn't it?
As a breakup coach and therapist, I often teach women how to become best friends with their boundaries. Most of the women I work with desire long-term relationships with healthy partners, but need a little practice in boundary-setting before that can happen. Rigid boundaries make it nearly impossible to grow close to others, and loose boundaries make us susceptible to manipulation. There's a balance that must be found and each woman should feel empowered to figure out what boundaries feel good to her.
Unfortunately, there are a million toxic people out there in the world, and if your boundaries are a little wishy-washy, these people will do nothing but bring you down. It's not that they're evil or anything, they just don't bring healthy versions of themselves to the table. So after realizing who those people are, it's completely appropriate to find other tables to sit at, with healthier people. (Those tables are actually the best.)
Besides, loving someone from a distance is really just an act of love towards yourself. And that's an act you need to be engaged in as much as possible. So don't let toxic people distract you from that goal. It might be tempting to try and save them, but you can't.
Here are five types of folks who need to be kicked to the curb (figuratively, of course). The way they test boundaries just isn't worth it, so here's how to spot them — and get them out of your life.
1. The People User
How To Spot Them: People Users take and take and take, giving very little in return. They're manipulative, and believe their needs supersede others'. Whether it's the friend who dumps all her problems on you, but never shows up when you're in need, or the coworker who takes credit for work that isn't theirs, these folks will walk all over you in order to get what they want. It would be impressive if it wasn't so awful.
Why They're Toxic: Healthy relationships are a constant dance of give and take. Not take and take.
How To Break Up With Them: If the User is not super close to you, I think a slow fade can be effective (i.e. stop responding to their calls). On the other hand, if the User is someone close to you, a slow fade might not be possible. In those cases, practice saying "no." In fact, "no" needs to become your new favorite word. Your loved one's response to it might not be pretty, but saying "no" to a People User will help you break a cycle of co-dependency and communicate your boundaries.
2. The Sneaky Liar
How To Spot Them: Nobody's perfect. Though we're not quick to admit it, everyone poops and everyone lies. It's problematic, however, when someone does the latter as much as the former. Most of us have been lied to by someone we're dating or misled by a friend who can't seem to keep her stories straight.
Why They're Toxic: Simply put, habitual liars leave no room for trust in their relationships. They're basically trust-zappers. So if you're continually catching someone in lies, don't start lying to yourself by thinking his/her behavior isn't that bad. It is bad — and you don't have to put up with it. Channel your energy towards relationships where honesty is the standard.
How To Breakup With Them: If you believe the relationship is worth salvaging, call them out — mid-lie, if you have to. Their response should be very telling. For instance, if they tell more lies to cover up an original lie, it's probably best to directly tell them you know what's up and that you're not interested in being close with someone who lies. If they come clean, however, attempt a conversation to gauge whether or not trust can be rebuilt.
3. The Office Gossip
How To Spot Them: When you walk into work, the last thing you want is to feel icky. Sadly, when you work with a gossip, this is often the case. Conversations with gossipy people have very little to do with reality and have everything to do with their perceptions of reality, i.e. rumors.
Why They're Toxic: At first the gossip might seem harmless, but that's an illusion. That's why it's easy to get sucked in and even easier to become a gossip yourself. Additionally, you can never be too sure if a gossip is gossiping about you behind your back. But trust me, he/she probably is. Gossip has a tendency of getting out of hand, and is usually one of those equal opportunity behaviors. No one is immune, especially you.
How To Breakup With Them: Tune them out. Just don't engage. Yes, this approach requires you to muster up willpower when gossiping might feel tempting, but calling out a Work Gossip (especially when you're not that close) can be awkward conversation to have. Besides, you'll still have to see this person at work everyday. But if you simply change the conversation every time they try to gossip with you, they'll probably lose interest. And then you can get your work done.
4. The Negative Nancy
How To Spot Them: These people are incredibly exhausting, and the saddest thing is, they probably don't even know it. They rarely have any clue that their constant need for reassurance and negativity makes other people want to scream.
Why They're Toxic: Yes, it's normal to mope every so often, but it's not normal to be in a constant state of dissatisfaction. Anyone who is should probably be screened for depression.
How To Breakup With Them: Don't take it upon yourself to cheer up a Negative Nancy. It might not be necessary to completely end the friendship, but you're certainly not obligated to attend anyone else's pity parties, unless you absolutely want to. Sometimes tough love works with Negative Nancys, but if not, give yourself permission to only hang out when you have the energy for it, if at all. Negativity can be draining, after all.
5. The Showoff
How To Spot Them: Showoffs love to one-up you. They're always bragging about something they've accomplished, bought, did, or have. These people try to exude perfection and rarely share their struggles. It's exhausting!
Why They're Toxic: I used to be really close with a showoff. Though we had lots of fun together, she always found a way to make me feel awful about myself. It didn't matter how great my life was going, hers was always going better. Years later, it dawned on me that more than likely, my friend just struggles with insecurity, just like the rest of us. But instead of being open to me about that, she overcompensated with grandiose stories of how awesome her life was.
How To Break Up With Them: It's nearly impossible to be close to someone who isn't willing to take off their mask. So instead of getting caught in a cycle of one-upping your friend, try taking yours off first to see if that fosters a deeper connection between you. If not, that's okay. Some folks struggle with letting people see them at their worst. Unfortunately, until they can, they probably won't have many healthy relationships ... with you or anyone else.
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