You only have one life to live. Do you really want to spend it wasting your energy on people who tend to suck the joy out of life? Honestly, it’s time to evaluate who you’re renting your mental space out to and if they deserve it. It may seem scary, but I promise you, you will feel better. Here’s how to determine who to keep and who to let go:
Establish your boundaries and stand your ground.
Find your limits. What do you find yourself saying “that’s not okay” to? What behaviors are unacceptable in your book? Establish your boundaries by saying “It’s not okay when…” or “Please don’t do…”. Toxic people will push the limit of these boundaries, kind of like how a 2-year old really wants to see how much you mean “no” by doing the same thing several times in sneaky ways. Stand your ground on your boundaries. If you’re constantly changing them, then that just gives more leverage for the toxic people (and other people!) to keep pushing.
Create a game plan for getting toxic people off your case.
Establishing boundaries is great, but what happens when they do start to push the limit? There’s several ways to lay out a game plan and it’s important to view the situation from all angles. The first angle to consider is self-preservation. This is your overarching umbrella. You have to take care of yourself. After a hard day, what are you doing to take care of you? Another angle to consider is, what is your “snapping point”? What is the point where you say “enough is enough” and want to lose it? Try to do some reflection and pinpoint this because I promise you that “losing it” will not help in this situation. So, know when it’s sneaking up on you.
Create 3 columns on a sheet of paper. Label the first column “Okay Behaviors”: these are behaviors that are A-okay with you. Label the second column “Pushing-It Behaviors”: these are behaviors that push your boundaries and will act as warning signs when you either need to leave the situation or confront the person. Label the third column “Red Light Behaviors”: these are behaviors where you need to stand your ground on your boundaries and tell the person that they are being inappropriate and you will need to either a) leave the room/house/office, b) ask them to leave the room/house/office or c) continue by having a very honest conversation about boundaries. Set yourself up for success from the beginning. Don’t go in blind-sighted.
Discover new people to be around.
When you’re taking up your time to be around other people, that means there’s less time to be around this particular person or group. Is it passive aggressive to slowly shove somebody out? Yes. But does it work? Yes. Have you intentionally, or unintentionally, done it before? Probably. By hanging around new people, you may feel even more empowered to keep your boundaries with those who are bringing toxicity. Not to mention that you may go new places and discover new things, and that’s really what life’s about, right?
Understand that it’s okay, and sometimes necessary, to cut them out.
Sometimes, the boundaries just aren’t cutting. You may have had tons of confrontations and discussions with this person or group about keeping those boundaries, but they just don’t get it, or, most likely, don’t want to. It’s okay to cut them off. Nobody is holding your hand to fire, but you. If you feel like you absolutely aren’t there yet, but just can’t take it, keep verbal communication to the bare minimum. Try to communicate via email and limit the amount of information you give them about your life. Don’t give them outlets. At the end of your life, it’s you and God that you have answer to, not this person. Take care of yourself.