Jul 08 2012

Advice To My Children – Lesson 4 -Toxic People

Toxic People.  We all know a few. They are the ones that make you feel less than what you are. They are the ones that take pleasure in your pain and do their best to keep you there. They aren’t happy for you when you realize a dream or find true love or get that new job or promotion. They keep you feeling small so they can feel big. They are manipulative and drain of you of your time, your talent and your emotional energy.

Here’s how to spot them.

1.   You spend hours talking to them in their time of crisis. You go out of your way to help them.  That’s what friends do right?

True friendship is reciprocal. You share your time and lend support to each other. The relationship is easy and it doesn’t feel like work to be there for each other. One week you are there for them, the next they are there for you.  It is not based on obligation; it is based on mutual admiration and caring for each other.

 If you find yourself being there for someone and when the chips are down and they are not there for you, the relationship is toxic. You are not a partner in the relationship; you are merely an audience for the rants of your self indulgent friend.  That’s toxic

2.   You’ve just been offered a fantastic opportunity or one of your dreams is finally coming true. You call your pal to share your excitement.  They seem less than excited.  They discourage you or they reply with a hollow congratulations.  You find out through the grapevine that they poke fun at your great accomplishment or that they are laying bets on your failure.  That’s toxic

3.  They talk behind your back.  Your true friends don’t do that.  If they have beef with you, they talk to you to your face. You’re the first one to know there is a problem. The only things you should hear that a true friend is talking about behind your back is how smart and funny you are. They should be talking behind your back about your amazing talent or wonderful personality. You should be hearing that your friend has talked you up, not down. If what you’re hearing isn’t good, then this is not a friend. Ditch them. They are toxic.

 4.   They use you for sex. You have a thing for someone. They know you do.  You don’t hear from them often. They sometimes drunk text you in the middle of the night.  They say things, sweet things that you have been waiting to hear. They have had a revelation, realize they miss you and really want to hang out.  You run out the door and into his/her arms.  It doesn’t take long before you engage in physical activities that don’t require the wearing of athletic gear.  You head home elated, happy that they have come to their senses.  You are excited to wake up in the morning and begin this wonderful relationship again. They don’t answer your texts sometimes for days. If they do answer, they avoid going out to dinner with you or coming over to hang with your family.  They have an excuse not to see you. They have to go out with their other friends. You are not invited….until 2 am when they need a ride home from the bar. You are being used.  Toxic.

 5.    They take advantage of your time and your talent.  Friends help each other out. They do things for each other.  Again, the key words are each other.  Friends also value you, your talent and your time. They need you to do something for them, something that will take an exceptional amount of time. It could be a car repair or a paper to write or a report they need typed or babysitting their dog for a week.  They deliver a project to you and are more than willing to pay you for your services because they value you, your talent, your time and your services.  You have the freedom to donate your services or to charge for your services without anyone being offended.  Toxic people do not give you that freedom. They expect you to do it. They manipulate you into doing it by telling you they are low on cash. You know they are not. They guilt you into doing it. They plunk the job on you, stroke your ego until the job is complete and then disappear until the next time they need something.  You are being used.  They are not valuing you. They are using you.  That’s toxic.

 6.    They agree with everything you say. They put up with your nonsense. They agree with your bad decisions even when they know that you are hurting yourself.  They don’t tell you the truth that you need to hear. They don’t challenge you to be better. They let you choose bad relationships. They let you be abused and urge you to be more patient with the guy who just fooled around with another girl behind your back. They don’t want to hurt you by not telling you the truth but they hurt you more by not being honest.  You’re toxic because you are keeping people around you that don’t hold you accountable for the decisions you make.  They’re toxic because they are not encouraging you to think higher of yourself.  Toxic


Healthy people encourage you to be your best. Healthy people help you to find clarity. When you open your heart to a healthy person, you leave the conversation feeling lighter and more clear on what you need to do and the path you need to be on. Being around healthy people makes you feel like you’ve just drank a cold glass of water on a hot summer day. They make you feel like you’ve just breathed in a soft spring breeze. When you walk away from them you feel like you are strong and capable and whole. You feel like you are home.


Toxic people leave you feeling more confused and heavy than before you spoke to them. They cause you to feel cloudy, less certain, insecure and drained.  They feel like thick mud or quicksand. They leave a bad taste in your mouth. When you walk away from them, you feel weak, incapable, insecure and less than whole. You feel farther away from yourself.

What can you do?

You’re smart.  I didn’t need to tell you this.  You have all the answers inside of you.

Put yourself into the position of being a parent to your own child.  You love this child with all of your heart.  Imagine your beautiful baby boy or girl coming to you and saying,  “Mom or Dad… I love this boy/girl and they don’t want to take me out but they want me to pick them up at the bar at 2 am….” or” Mom/Dad, I just found out my friends are talking behind my back and I got a text that was not intended for me to see and it says……

Now write down what your advice would be to them and FOLLOW IT YOURSELF.

Clean your closets or to be more advanced technologically, clean out your Facebook and your phone and your life. Why are you hanging onto people that are not genuine? Why are you hanging onto people that would stab you in the back or get something out of talking badly about you behind it?  You don’t need to have 350 friends on your Facebook list to prove your worth to yourself or to the world.  You alone are enough.

Be a healthy friend to your friends and be a healthy friend to yourself.  If you conduct yourself in this way, the Toxic people will fall away.

Don’t allow the outside world or the people in it to dictate how you will feel about yourself. You can choose to  feel good about yourself despite what anyone says. It’s that simple!

Spend a little more time getting healthy inside and less time on your outer appearance. The healthier you feel inside, the better you will look on the outside and the healthier people you will attract.

If you won’t listen to me, listen to these people:

A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. 
Walter Winchell

Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty. 
Sicilian Proverb

I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favor of the kings of the world. 
Thomas A. Edison

Now cut the crap and get on with it!

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1 comment

  1. Cindy

    Perfectly said!!

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