“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.” – Epictetus, Greek Philosopher (55 AD-135 AD)
Who you choose to allow in your life has a definite impact on the person you become. We’ve all had relationships of different kinds that just didn’t work out for some reason. Often times, this can be attributed to differences in personality, character or values. To create meaningful, lasting relationships, it is imperative that you seek out and surround yourself with a majority positive people who share common ground in these areas.
Your family will always be your family, but your “friends” will not always be your friends. Only you can make the decision about whom you are going to walk with on your path. It is our belief that these decisions should be made wisely. It is important to know when you are in the presence of too many people who don’t contribute to your well being. At times, this negative presence can even be difficult to detect. After all, there is the smiling face, the “peppy” attitude, and seemingly warm emotions that emanate from their being.
Here are 11 (some not so obvious) signs that you are in the presence of negative people:
1.Their time is always more important
Hypothetical question: if a family member was to call and ask if you had ten minutes for something important, what would you say? Most of us would immediately engage in conversation or manage to free up ten minutes, right?
Well, with your friends this should be no different. Whether it’s a phone call, a Friday night and you need a ride home, someone to cover your shift, or something else; they should be willing to help out sometimes. This is especially true if you’ve made the effort to help them out in the past.
The truth is that some people are incredibly self-absorbed and only make time when it’s convenient…for them. This is not how meaningful relationships work. This is not how friends treat each other.
So, if your friend always seems to say “Gee…I would, but…” It may be time to reevaluate your friendship, have an honest discussion, or both.
2. They discredit your ambitions often
Again…who is the only person who truly knows what they’re capable of achieving? If you responded: “Me!”…congratulations! Give yourself a shoulder pat…or a glass of wine…or something.
No one, especially a friend, has the right to define who you are and who/what you want to become. Friends motivate each other, celebrate successes, and encourage us when we fall short.
Needless to say, this is an egregious offense. Discrediting someone… anyone…is a mean-hearted, selfish thing to do.
3. They lie to you continuously
Trust is the foundation of any relationship, friendships included. Someone that lies to you continually is not a true friend.
Lying is a blatant sign of disrespect… both of you as a person and of your relationship. Disrespecting you and your friendship should not be tolerated. In this instance, some sort of corrective action is needed.
As with any other offense, the first one is a mistake. Perhaps they’ve fessed up, felt guilty about it, and vowed never to lie to you again. This is different from the friend that lied, was found out, then lied again for whatever reason.
Simply put: don’t tolerate chronic liars…especially as friends.
4. They always play the victim
Friends that play the victim are always begging people to feel sorry for them. They often are quick to pronounce the difficulties they are experiencing and just want to vent their circumstances towards someone…you.
Being the good friend that you are, you tolerate the onslaught of complaints and grievances. “Maybe they are just going through some tough times and need a friendly ear…” you say to yourself.
Then, you need a friendly ear for some advice or comfort. What happens? They are either short with you or exude their disinterest. Maybe they are thinking about something they need to complain about…again.
5. They make excuses for everything
Your real friends will make time…others will make excuses. It really doesn’t matter if these excuses are directed towards you or not. Excuse-makers do not make good friends for various reasons.
– They will dodge conflict.
– They won’t make time for you.
– They avoid accountability.
– They are often two-faced.
– They are disinterested in your problems.
6. They ignore you at will
These are the type of friends that are more than willing to socialize when around you and your inner circle; however, once you are in their “territory,” they are too busy schmoozing with their friends while remaining completely disinterested in your involvement, or lack thereof.
These are the type of friends when you send off a text or email about something important, it always seems that they “just forgot.” Oops!
Ignoring someone is just another type of non-acceptance and insecurity…and is certainly not a good attribute to have in a friend.
8. They use you for anything.
Also known as opportunists, these people love to be incredibly nice, respectful, and loving towards you…when they want something.
Maybe you have some extra money, a nice car, an extra room, or some free time. These people love to take advantage of anything that they can. Even worse, these are the “friends” that will always need something and never provide anything in return.
Friends help each other out. They don’t knowingly and willingly take advantage of someone just because they have a need to be met.
8. They are jealous of you
This is a tricky one, because some people are seriously lacking and may feel somewhat envious of what you have. This is relatively normal, and in this instance you should attempt to lift them up and help them out.
However, there those who are excessively envious of you – your possessions, looks, popularity, success, etc. This is jealousy…and it’s an emotion that can manifest itself into other negative emotions and behavior such as gossiping about you, intentionally hurting your feelings, and generally making life more difficult.
If this becomes sort of attitude and behavior becomes consistent and you’ve made the attempt to help them out, it may be time to reconsider exactly why you would consider a friend like this.
9. They attempt to change who you are
Perhaps there is no more obvious sign that you are surrounded by a negative person than when they try to change you. Maybe it’s something physical – your weight, hair, or makeup. Perhaps it’s something else – your personality, ambitions, or some other innate quality.
Positive relationships are built upon acceptance of one another. If someone cannot or will not accept you as-is, this person is not worthy of your presence. It’s as simple as that. Never, ever willingly attempt to change who or what you are because some person cannot accept it. It’s not acceptable for someone to dictate that which makes you unique.
10. They judge you by your past
The longer that a friendship goes on, the more you will likely reveal about yourself. This is the essence of trust; being able to confide in someone your personal, innermost thoughts and feelings. These thoughts and feelings sometimes include mistakes that you’ve made, learned from, and moved past.
The problem lies in people that judge you based on things that you’ve done in your past. This is another sign of insecurity and unmerited superiority. It’s not within their right to judge you based on mistakes that you have made, period.
If a person continuously brings up your past, either as a method of retaliation or blatant disrespect, it’s time to seek out a more positive relationship…one in which the person does not willingly wish to do harm by bringing up your past mistakes.
11. They gossip about you
You are not in grade school anymore, and you shouldn’t be hearing from another person what some “friend” said about you. Gossip is not something that mature, rational adults do. The rule is simple for most of us: you have a problem with someone; you bring it up to them, even if it’s uncomfortable.
People that continually gossip about this or that is not someone that can be trusted, and is assuredly a sign of a negative person. As with some other things on this list, it is a sign of insecurity and weak character. It’s time to approach the individual, place some ground rules, and reevaluate your relationship if needed.