Toxic Waste

It arises in the most surprising places. It’s literally all around you. But you can dispose of it more easily than you can imagine. I’m talking about the impact of toxic people. The first thing is to identify them. Here’s a handy taxonomy to get you started:

Know someone who’s never got a good thing to say about anything or anybody? BING! They’re toxic. Chronic whining and complaining is contagious and usually fatal. Steer a wide berth around such people. (Limit your exposure by never greeting them with “How ARE you?” and never ask their opinion about anything.)

Is there someone you never hear from unless they need something? Yes, you guessed it, they’re toxic. They’re so busy using others, they have literally no time to reciprocate, so even if you think you’re optimistically embarking on a “what goes around, comes around” strategy,  you’ll (eventually) be sadly disappointed. Avoid the disappointment – take them gently off your list of worthwhile acquaintances.

Know someone who’s always finding ‘humourous’ ways to put you down? Yup; toxic. They hide their envy, dislike or competitiveness behind clever banter or locker room repartee, but, at the bottom of it all, they really don’t like you. Why pretend otherwise? Disengage.

This is by no means a complete list. But if you can identify and quarantine such people from your life, you’ll be well on the way to living a significantly toxin-reduced social life. The flip side of identifying and purging toxins is the adage, “What you permit, you promote”. The impact can be significant.

A recent study found that (women, in particular) can significantly increase their stress levels by commiserating too much in the troubles and complaints of a friend or acquaintance. I think that stands to reason. If you find yourself in a quagmire of misery, complaint and negativity, caveat emptor.

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