My Toxic Friends

Is someone in your social network dragging you down? Here's how to protect yourself from poisonous people.

Do Your Friendships Feed You or Bleed You?

Knowing when it’s time to let a friend go

As adults, our social connections are frequently relationships of convenience. Rather than being based solely on personal choice, they are very often based more on circumstance--or even happenstance. When our personal circumstances change, the conditions of our friendships can also change, leading us to a point where a reconsideration of exactly where we're putting our energies may well serve us.

One important aspect of living authentically is living in truth. From the standpoint of relationship, this means not living in state of denial about the conditions that surround a relationship. It also means not passively accepting the negative aspects of the overall circumstances that surround us. With regard to friendships in particular it means not holding space for those aspects of others' personalities and social comportment that are either toxic to us directly, or just negativity that we would be better served to avoid.

Relationships of convenience, by virtue of their very nature, often prompt us to give just that sort of latitude to the social frailties and personal foibles of others. Extending that latitude can, however, cause us to unwittingly compromise ourselves. Taking the time to examine our friendships--and sorting out the synergies between our experience of another person and our own value set--is key to living in a way that is both authentic and evolutionary.

Through this examination, however, we may find that a particular relationship or friendship no longer serves us. That is most often true when our own personal circumstances have changed and this has, in turn, prompted a shift in the dynamics of a friendship--especially when that friendship is, at its core, a relationship of convenience.

Any relationships of convenience-work relationships, neighborhood proximity, children's activities or what-have-you-is bound to move when you move, whether literally or figuratively. These types of relationships depend upon the conditions in which they were original set. When those conditions change, the dynamics of the relationship must also change, and it is in that moment that the true nature of the relationship may be revealed to us, for good or ill.

When we find our experience of a friendship trending toward the ill, we may find ourselves in a place where we feel it necessary to separate ourselves from that friendship. This can sometimes be difficult, or, at the very least, disruptive. If we are to live a life that is present and mindful, however, then not putting our energies into something that we ultimately experience as unproductive and stagnant is often the better choice.

© 2011 Michael J. Formica, All Rights Reserved

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My Toxic Friends