Toxic people: Why you must remove them from your life

Relationships are a fundamental part of life. No matter what you want to achieve, it is much easier when you have other people who can help and support you along the way. In fact, in some cases, it is nigh on impossible to achieve success without the help of others. So, if you want to make the most of your life, you had better be good at building relationships. However, many people struggle to build healthy relationships. They lack confidence in their relationship building and communication skills. There is plenty of advice out there to help you improve in these areas but I have a piece of advice that is rarely offered – stop giving your time and attention to toxic people who are unworthy of your time and attention.

Note: This article is part 1 of a 2-part series on toxic people. You will find Part 2: Common behaviours of toxic people here.​

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Toxic people treat you badly and give you the wrong idea about what you should expect from relationships. Toxic people take more of your time of your time than good people because they cause more problems and are just hard to deal with. While you will certainly have to deal with toxic people in your life; from my experience, you can quite often just cut them out of your life. The reason you can do this so easily is because while toxic people are more demanding; they offer very little, if any, value to your life. So, once you pluck up the courage to get rid of them; you are not going to miss them.

Consider that there are 3 groups of people in your life:

  • Great people who bring the most joy and happiness to your life.
  • Good people whom you enjoy spending time and are helpful where possible.
  • Toxic people who demand everything but contribute nothing

Note: These definitions of Good, Great and Toxic are applied from your perspective i.e. somebody who is toxic to you may be great to somebody else.

If we consider the 80/20 rule; 20% (it may not be exactly 20% but it will be heavily skewed) of the people in your life are likely to be Great. This 20% will contribute far more to your life than the other 80% put together. So, if you want more joy and happiness in your life, you can achieve it by finding ways to spend more time with this 20%.

What is often overlooked is that approximately 5% of the people in your life will contribute approximately 50% of the relationship based problems. So, it stands to reason that if you want to reduce the relationship based problems in your life and the stress that goes with them; you should remove these people from your life. At the very least, you should significantly reduce the time and attention that you give to them.

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Why you should remove toxic people

There are an endless number of reasons why you should remove toxic people from your life. The following are some the most important:

1. All relationships are not equal

It is easy to believe that all relationships are equal and; that we have no real control over the happiness and joy and that we derive from our relationships. But that simply isn’t true. It is important to acknowledge that some people bring more joy to your life than others and some bring more problems. When you accept it and you adjust your life accordingly, you will be much happier for it.

Toxic relationships not only make us unhappy; they corrupt our attitudes and dispositions in ways that undermine healthier relationships and prevent us from realizing how much better things can be.

Michael Josephson

2. You will be more confident

From my coaching experience, I have often found that some people only lack confidence in their relationships because their view has been skewed by toxic people. When you have toxic people in your life, taking more of your time, you view those relationships as normal relationships.

In fact, they are far worse than normal and in some cases, there is no way to deal with the toxic person because they don’t want to be deal with. They want everything their way and they are not prepared to negotiate. Because you find it difficult to manage these relationships, you can easily doubt your own communication skills. However, you are probably better off not managing; instead you can end the relationship.

When you reduce the amount of time and attention you give to toxic people, you will often realise that you have better communication and relationship building skills than you had previously thought. Thus, giving you more confidence.

​Do's and Don'ts of Dealing with Difficult People

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3. You will be less stressed

As I have already stated, toxic people contribute a large percentage of your relationship related problems. These problems add a great deal of stress to your life. They steal your happiness and motivation and often leave you worrying about things that shouldn’t really be your concern.

The good news is that when you remove toxic people from your life; they are forced to take their poison with them. This leads to less problems for you and less stress from those problems. If they want to drown in a pool of their own poison, that is their own prerogative but they do not have the right to drag you in there with them.​

​Deal With Difficult People Handbook

​If you are having to deal with difficult/toxic people and you want to start avoiding conflict, the 'Deal with Difficult People Handbook' will help you get on the right track..

Conclusion

Not all relationships are equal. If you are a kind, caring person, it is likely that you want to treat everybody equally. That is perfectly commendable and when it comes to treating people with respect and dignity; it is achievable. But it does not mean that you should treat all relationships as equal. Whereas great people will make important contributions to your life and your happiness, joy and success will be greater for it; there are also toxic people who create a lot of problems but contribute little, or nothing, positive to your life. You can treat toxic people with respect without giving them time or attention that they do not deserve. ‘Hello’ is usually enough for these people. They have no desire to return your respect or to add anything positive to your life. So, why give them the time? Stop treating all relationships as equal and start gifting your time and attention to those who are truly worthy of it.