We’ve all probably experienced this: friendships, love relationships, marriages and even family members who actually don’t feel good to be around. While some of us could probably name one or more people who we absolutely know are not good for us, others tend to be on the fence about certain people. Should I stay or should I go? Well, here’s some help determining whether someone in your life is no longer meant for you:
#1 They compete with you in some way (business, beauty, intelligence).
These are the people who smile in your face but probably do not like you very much. I had a friend once who would steal my swimsuit, try it on then show it off to everybody, asking them directly who looked better in it, her or me. Yet another friend would make passive-aggressive statements about how I looked, only to slowly begin changing herself to look and act like I did. These types of people are often somewhere in the work place, too: they are the ones taking credit for your work, reporting you to higher ups over petty things and essentially trying to sabotage you.
#2 They withhold, knowing it hurts you.
These are the people who give you the silent treatment even when you want desperately to resolve things. In conflicts they stop talking, go away, move to the other side of the bed, snub you and fail to respond. In love relationships they tend to withhold phone calls, texts, and time, in order to make you “want” them more or to punish you for not giving them something that they want. This is manipulation of the highest order and it is cruel.
#3 They look for conversational areas to insert passive and not-so-passive judgments of you.
These lovelies are the ones who, while talking with you about something — and usually when the focus is on you — will ever-so-slightly insert a comment here or there diminishing you in some way. You may say, “I got employee of the week today!” and they say, “That’s great and all, but didn’t Jason get that three times already?”
#4 They are not happy for you when you succeed. Instead they say “Yeah that’s great and all, BUT WHAT ABOUT ME?!”
When you call this person with extremely good news, and particularly when you’ve achieved a new level of success, they give a bland “Oh that’s great” and then promptly make it all about them. You’ve barely got your news out before they start talking about themselves, about their successes (which are so much more awesome than yours!), or about why YOU are having all the success and they are not. “It’s not fair!” they cry.
#5 They emulate and copy you and demand a great deal of your time.
These are the ones who are trying to co-opt your shine. What that means is that they see something in you that is attractive, desirable, and magnetic, and they want it too. They want it because they don’t have it, don’t know how to get it, and lack the insight and self-reflection to shine on their own. Instead they seek to make friends with you simply for the association, or to be around for your quality of energy (which they are sucking out of you, by the way). They begin dressing like you, talking like you, and demanding more and more time from you. These relationships inevitably go very bad, because you cannot give these people all the time and all the energy that they want. So they turn on you. They are also the ones prone to wage vicious gossip campaigns.
#6 They are unable to admit fault when they are clearly in the wrong.
We all know someone like this. We can show them right in the Webster’s Dictionary what a word means and they will still say “Well I don’t think it actually means that“. These people tend to be immovable. The problem with immovable people is that they are unable to shift, bend, or enlighten, at least not at the rate that you are. They are all about themselves and gripe a lot about all the people disrespecting them — which essentially means the people who dare to disagree with them.
#7 They spin their knowledge or lack thereof so as to appear an authority — in just about everything.
Also called “Cliff Claven” syndrome. These people are full of all sorts of information, much of which is just plain wrong. They attempt to present as an authority on whatever subject is being discussed, all the time. They disagree with just about anything you say, even if it is the most innocuous thing imaginable. You say, “That sandwich was really delicious,” and they say, “Yeah but the bread was stale and I didn’t like the guy behind the counter.” They constantly rush in with a needless and absolutely useless counterpoint to anything. These people are especially exhausting.
#8 They condescend to you. And when you call them on it? They say, “Oh I didn’t mean it like that, you’re so sensitive.”
These charmers are the ones who love to manipulate with tone, pointed questioning, and a palpable energy of haughtiness. Some examples of their questions would be: “Do you even KNOW what that means?” “You went to THAT school?” “You think THAT guy might date you? Sure, hon, whatever you say.”
These people are so entirely insecure in their own lives that they purposefully seek out ways to put others down so they can feel better about themselves. They are also miserable people inside, and since misery loves company, why not make you feel like a piece of crap so you can be miserable too? They are also deathly afraid of ridicule, of not fitting in, and of being seen as less-than. Their response to this insecurity is not to seek help for it, but rather to imbue others with the same insecurities. These are some of the worst offenders in terms of toxic people.
#9 They game-play.
Much like #2, but with the added bonus of gas-lighting. They say offensive things and then call you crazy when you get upset. They lie or hide and then tell you that you’re wrong when you call them on it. They know you need to speak to them but ignore you for days. These people are adept manipulators and are often cruel, because they’re having fun. They love the power position and are masters at playing games just to watch you squirm, or else to get the favor, flattery, or validation from you that they crave.
#10 When you interact with them, it is ALL about them — they talk for two hours, you get to talk for five minutes.
Does it even matter that you are there? What would happen if you were’t there — would they be talking to a wall, or to a lamp, or to a tree? People who talk endlessly about themselves and never ask you questions about yourself are people who are simply not that into you. What they’re really doing is claiming the space of you. Space to hold their feelings, space to listen to their talking, space to hold their energy, space to fill their time. This is a form of spiritual and energetic vampirism, and it is exhausting.
#11 They mock you in slight or profound ways. They make fun of you and say, “Oh come on, I was joking!”
These are the ones who pick out all the flaws that they know actually bother you about yourself, and then put them on blast. Maybe you have a few extra pounds to lose, or are unemployed at the moment, or are going through a bad relationship with someone. They don’t care about helping you; they are looking for ways to humiliate you. They are also typically passive-aggressive, because they lack the courage to say what they really want to say in a forthright way. They are cowards who like to see you hurt.
#12 They are aware of your belief system and look for ways to explain why your belief system is wrong.
This applies to belief systems life faith and religion, activism, morality and even politics. These are the ones that love to argue sneeringly while at the same time having no real idea what they are talking about. These are prideful and domineering people. They are also rabid, dogmatic, and demeaning, and if you ultimately do not believe as they do, they will claim to be “throwing pearls before swine.” Arrogant, prideful, and excellent at sucking the joy out of a room, or your life.
#13 When you stand next to them, the energy in your abdomen and chest tightens, becomes dense, or you feel anxious and nauseous.
I want you to realllllly pay attention to this one, because it is not only so true, but paying attention to this will pay off in spades. Whenever you come around someone who is bad for you your body will immediately start sending you messages. These messages feel like anxiety, negativity, sudden and irrational anger, sadness, and even nausea or OCD. The sensations are usually felt in the abdomen or chest areas, in the racing of the heart, and the sudden onset of headache. Some of us are so used to being around these damaging people that we have conditioned ourselves to ignore our body’s loud warning messages. YOU MUST STOP DOING THIS. Your body is trying to save you! Let it.
#14 They relate to the world from their perspective only, and when you try to enhance their perspective with your own experience, they dismiss it entirely and typically talk over you.
These people are rarely fence-sitters; they are black and white all the time and have no time or patience for dissenting opinions. They see the world through their ego-eyes only, and once they make a decision about something, anything, it is pretty much set in stone. These people display narcissistic tendencies and attributes. If you dare to disagree, or dare to challenge their egocentric world view, they will quickly interrupt or talk over you, dismiss you out of hand and often, turn on you.
#15 They hijack your conversational contributions. You begin a story about this or that and then they interrupt and relate your story to something that happened to them, making it now THEIR story, and dismissing you entirely.
So, you’re in the middle of telling this person that you have a health condition when suddenly they say, “Oh, the enterovirus? Yeah, I thought I had that and it really sucked. I probably should have gone to the hospital because…” and away they go. Please hear this: these people do not care about your issues or your feelings. These people are thinking about themselves 24/7 and see only themselves in everything around them, including the conversations you are trying to have with them. So stop trying to have them.
Now that you know the signs, are you able to pick out a few people in your life right now who resemble one or more signs on this list? They don’t have to resemble all 15 signs; sometimes resembling even one is enough.
If you do know people like this, I would strongly counsel you to SERIOUSLY consider moderating your exposure to them and/or releasing them from your life entirely. Newsflash: you do not have to be subjected to the bad behavior of others, ever. Even if this person is your wife, your daughter, your dad or your best friend — you are not required to tolerate crap. If anyone in your life is presently behaving badly, or hurting you, or worst of all making you sick, it is time to do something about it NOW.