Humans being social animals, we expect people to be loving, compassionate and kind towards us.
In an ideal world, we would all be a part of a large community of people, helping each other to succeed in their goals and live a happy life and be there for each other when we are facing major challenges in life.
Sadly, we are not there as yet and my guess is we will never be.
That leaves us with few loved ones – family, partner, few close friends and children who genuinely love us and the rest will care about you only for their own interest.
There are many unfortunate ones though who have limited choice but to live with a toxic relationship, either parents or partners and they need to be dealt with differently than say a friend or co-worker or any other toxic person you have to interact with in your life.
Each one of us will have different experience and deal with toxic people differently. Few may choose to just ignore them or tolerate them. The ones who tolerate are the ones who suffer in the end.
This article is not meant to be a recommendation as to how you should be dealing with them from now on. You are an adult and you can make your own choice.
Before I articulate the type of people you shouldn’t waste too much time on, there are certain observations about people I would like to highlight:
- Life’s biggest irony is that most people demonstrate exactly the same behavior they hate in others.
- It is unlikely people will change and it is not your duty to change them. When they get into self discovery mode at some point in life, they will realize how their behavior has affected others. It is in our interest to minimize the damage they inflict upon you though before they get into self-realization mode.
- Most people are good people who have demonstrated bad behavior because of circumstances or in most cases not caring about how someone feels e.g. with people they meet online.
- We are all Jekyll and Hyde’s in some respect. Give people power and most will show their true colors. People respect only those who matter to them to get ahead e.g. at work e.g. Managers respect their bosses but are condescending towards their sub-ordinates, and that is where the problem lies.
Toxic people are not just the obvious ones – people who are negative, constant nit picking, overly critical, controlling, ridicule you in public, stab behind your back and make you feel miserable about your existence.
There are type of toxic people who are very subtle, sweet, always sugar coated, two faced and deliberately try to bring you down, leaving you with a self doubt and can be equally damaging. By the time you realize what hit you, the damage is done.
Below are few types of people, who will leave you drained out in the long run, whether intentionally or not and hence it’s best to keep a distance from them :-
People who throw you under the bus
They are very difficult to spot. They can be good to you until everything is hunky dory. The moment you are in trouble, they will show you their true colors. You will find many such people at work. They will all be nice to you when the project is going well. The moment an issue crops up they have no hesitation or shame in blaming you and humiliating you in presence of your colleagues.
You can’t cut off such people if s/he is your boss because they can jeopardize your career. If they did it once, they can do it again. However, reminding them (via e-mail) that you were very disappointed that you did not have their back when you needed them most, will do no harm.
People who brag about their higher education and job title
A lot of people believe that earning a degree means you are educated. According to me, they are not. A degree in technology or finance makes an individual an expert in the respect subject which enables them to do a particular job.
These degrees do not teach you human relationship. For that matter, no university can teach you humility. Many become arrogant as a result of education and become condescending to people around them.
Any interaction with such people will make you feel inferior. A well educated person will share his/her knowledge with others and also learn in the process.
Many bosses are condescending to their staff without even realizing it. Spending too much time with such bosses will leave you with self-doubt and inferior and a low self-esteem.
One may argue that is the bosses problem, that they do not know how to treat staff. But that it is not the case. It becomes your problem slowly and gradually.
Your so-called friends who are always busy
Whenever I wrote to people I knew in the past, just to inquire how they are doing, I get a response within milliseconds after I send them the message.
When I asked ‘Have not heard from you ages ? Is everything okay ?’ …I get a response with an hourly schedule of how busy they were. It was obvious I was never in their priority list.
So why am I even bothered about inquiring about them. Because I cared but they did not deserve it.
Such type of people are the easiest to cut off and there are no regrets.
People who believe in rumors about you
You might be surprised with this one. People who spread rumors are the obvious jerks you should stay away from. If they cared for you, they wouldn’t spread rumors in the first place.
However, it is the people who believe those rumors, without verifying whether it is true, these are the people you care about and you believe you have done no wrong to them are the ones who are going to hurt you the most. These are the ones you should stay away from.
People who won’t forgive you
Humans are imperfect and bound to make mistakes, which will in turn affect a relationship. However, as grown up people, as years pass by, and as time heals even the worst of injuries, it is best to forgive people.
When you try to re-connect with people, asking for apology, or just wanting to re-connect, you should expect that people continue the conversation as before. Sadly, this does not happen as most people love to keep grudges for a lifetime, God knows for what.
And now with the latest technology implemented by social media, you are notified when someone has read your message but you do not get any response. It is better to leave them alone. They need to grow up. You did the right thing to re-connect, when you realized it was your mistake. If they want to be stuck in the past, let them be. You need to move on and not beat yourself up for someone who did not forgive you.
It is not worth thinking about such people. They will make you feel guilty for no reason. You need not suffer if others are not mature enough as you to accept the reality of life that things can fall apart with most people and someday in future both of you can laugh about it.
People who just can’t appreciate others
You will often meet people who have no special talent but they won’t appreciate others talents. They could be just jealous of the gift you may have and even try to discourage you from pursuing what you love to do most.
Many dreams were not pursued because people were discourage by either their loved ones or their friends.
Not being appreciated for special talents one posses can result in anger, frustration and isolation from society.
All of the above situations have one common factor. They are not the obvious toxic people we tend to cut off immediately. These are subtle ones but debilitating. They are like slow poison but their impact is gradual is even more devastating.
Medical professionals and psychologists have been researching about depression for a very long time. There is nothing concrete to pin point the exact cause of depression. Because human brain and emotions is the most complex and difficult to understand.
Roughly 1/10th of the world population are affected by depression and many are not diagnosed because of the stigma associated with it.
My take is that depression is all about self esteem. Words are powerful. What people say and how they make you feel has profound impact on your brain. Living in a stressful situation for a prolonged period will have a negative impact. Nobody suffers from depression overnight. It is the slow and gradual effect of social situations we have to face on a daily basis.
It is not good enough to share posters and memes on social media about being kind to each other.
Depression is the new cancer of the 1940’s. More we understand the impact of our actions towards others, the better it will be for our society in general to eradicate this less understood illness.