From Heartache to Hope

Life with the Alcoholic/Addict

Eliminating the not so nice people in your life for 2014

Sometimes our so called friends don't bring give us as much we would like/need.

Eliminating the not so nice people in your life for 2014

I couldn’t help but re read the column I wrote last year about eliminating the toxic people in your life for a healthier 2013. Well, I’m back with an additional list, but unlike last year’s list which was centered primarily around the alcoholic/addict in your life, this time I’m going to focus on the general people that are in our everyday lives.

Here are eight characteristics of unhealthy relationship between two people that you might want to consider shedding as the ball drops in Times Square bringing in 2014:

• Negative karma - It is very difficult to be around someone that is always complaining, negative or in a sour mood, especially if that person talks about his/ her woes incessantly. No matter how hard we try to be empathetic and listen, we find ourselves tuning out from the drone of negative energy. Our state of mind, no matter how positive or up will quickly be shrouded with a cloud of Yuk from the infection of that person’s crumby attitude and outlook on life.

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This is not a friend we want to keep.

• Always sick – I had a friend that was always sick. He was not seriously ill, but always had one thing or another wrong. If it wasn’t his headaches, then it was his stomach or legs. I tried desperately to be understanding with each ailment, until he started bailing at the last minute when we had plans made weeks in advance. I lost patience, so there went the friendship.

• A friendship with no substance – all of our friends bring different energies to our life. Some friends we have because we enjoy their smarts, some their blatant fun and love of life; they make us laugh, think or whatever, they are in our lives for a reason. But sometimes we find ourselves in a friendship that has no substance. A boring, shallow relationship that has peaked in twenty minutes of getting together. Life is too short to be keeping company with someone that adds zero to your life.

• One sided friendship – You give and give and give, but nothing comes back. A one sided friendship can be the most frustrating, impersonal relationship around. This person has a tough time in merely saying “thank you” or “what can I do for you”? One doesn’t want to column keep a friendship, but when you do all the work in keeping the friendship fresh and productive, it’s probably time to find a new friend.

• Combative, know it all – It’s no fun to be with someone that is combative, argumentative or knows it all. Every comment sparks a raised eyebrow or a debate from the weather to current events. Your opinion holds no worth and is summarily dismissed as if you are an idiot.

• Always late – Personally, I can’t stand someone that is always late. Once or twice with a text or phone call that says there is traffic or an emergency popped up is certainly not a problem. But, when someone is consistently late, in essence they are saying that your time is not valuable and they will show when it’s convenient for them.

• Rarely apologizes or takes responsibility for their own mistakes – Why is saying “I’m sorry” so difficult for many people? An apology that is then connected to a defend and justify posture is at best a half hearted one. “I’m sorry, but…..does not count in my book. On the same token, one that has difficulty apologizing might find it equally hard to take responsibility for some questionable actions; great or small.

• Poor follow through – Trust is a main component in any relationship. It is difficult to have a sincere friendship with someone who doesn’t keep their word, or has spotty commitments to you. This person can often leave you hanging when you are waiting for an answer regarding plans or getting together. One feels so uncomfortable when having to dog another person for an answer to a proposed get together. Like being constantly late, it’s a quiet slap in the face of no or little respect for the other person.

The bottom line is that these are unpleasant relationships that one could do better by eradicating them from our lives. People are there to enrich our lives, not make them uncomfortable or sad or empty. We want to be there for our friends, but make sure they are really our friends and would be there for us too.

If I can be of service, please visit my website www.familyrecoverysolutions.com and I invite you to explore my new book Reclaim Your Life – You and the Alcoholic/Addict at www.reclaimyourlifebook.com or on Amazon. In addition, my book is available as an audio on my website only.

Carole Bennett, M.A., is a family substance abuse counselor, lecturer, columnist and author based at her Family Recovery Solutions Counseling Center in Santa Barbara, CA.

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