If you missed the first half of this article, I strongly recommend you go back and take a look at the types of toxic individuals we’ve already covered: The 7 Toxic People Who Are Fatal To Your Success (Part 1):
Otherwise, let’s move right on to number 5 in this list:
#5. Drama Kings/ Queens
This may very well be their relationship status and it probably applies to the rest of their life, too. With these people, there’s rarely not something going on, is there? Sure they might be fun to be around- but the nightmare lies in just how much of your time they demand. There’s always a fire they need to be put out for them, always a problem they need you to fix.
Now there’s nothing wrong with calling on a friend, family member or mentor when trouble comes or you want advice. That’s what friends are for, after all. But the thing with the drama kings and the drama queens is that their life is just this black hole of ongoing relationship dramas, family dramas, money dramas, career dramas, health dramas, life dramas etc.
Being the best you can be means respecting your time and your energy and realising that no matter who you are, you only possess limited amounts of both. So it follows that you can only devote so much time to making your own life better OR to helping that person deal with their latest drama- but not both.
So what’s it going to be?
Fact is, unless these people are paying you, you’re not obligated in any way, shape or form to help them. In fact, by helping them you could be unwittingly stopping them from sorting their life out. Without a comfortable crutch, without that person (you) who’s always there to lend an ear or give up your time for them the moment they throw shit at the fan- they might actually realise they need to take some responsibility?
Like I said, sometimes we all legitimately need somebody to listen to us, somebody who can give us advice. So how do you figure out the difference between people with problems and people who ARE problems?
Weigh up how much of the time spent interacting with these people is actually productive or enjoyable (coming up with great ideas, talking about life in general, having good times) and how much is just you playing the part of amateur psychologist or fixing their problems yet again?
If both are 50/50, then it’s a relationship you want to reconsider. Do the pro’s outweigh the cons? If it’s anything more than 40/60 in favour of drama- then it’s a relationship you can do without.
Casting these people off it easier said than done, as they can often be quite needy. They probably won’t just fade into the background. So you’ll have to tell it to them straight: point out that you have enough problems to deal with of your own without worrying about theirs. Tell them that unless it’s a serious issue, they should fix it themselves or get somebody else to help them.
Remember: It’s not written anywhere that you need to be on hand to deal with these peoples’ dramas. You have no obligation to do so. It’s ok to walk away and you shouldn’t feel the least bit guilty for it.
#6. Blabbermouths/ Trash Talkers
These people love to talk- and usually about other people. You might enjoy listening to their stories about what this person said or what that person did. A lot of what they say about another person may be accurate and funny as well.
But here’s the thing-
What makes you think you’re different from all the other people they bad-mouth?
Chances are that once your back is turned, you’re no longer that person they’re confiding in but just another name they talk about in their gossip. If people act like everything is ok to your face but then have no problem talking about you in scathing tones when you’re out of earshot, what does that say about them?
People like this are dead-weight because either:
a) They don’t have the courage or honesty to give you constructive critiscism, or
b) They don’t give you the respect you deserve. To them, you’re just more fuel to their conversational fire, another person to talk about in place of anything of real substance
You can do without such people.
The same goes for blabbermouths. These are the people who say the wrong thing out loud, time and time again. They’re the people you can’t trust to keep things on the down-low. They speak without thinking. As the saying goes “Loose lips sink ships”.
The problem with these people is the clean-up after they shoot their mouth off again- the bruised egos, the things people can’t un-hear. On a more serious note, the careless words spat out by these people could sabotage your success on a professional or personal level. Or worse still, they could get you directly into trouble because of their careless talk.
What makes these people especially toxic is if their habit for blabbing or trash talking is mixed with Insecurity or the Victimhood Complex (which we both covered in Part 1). Mixed with either of these, a blab or trash talker displays the following traits:
- Verbally abusive
- Openly critical of everything
- Throws you under the bus the moment you challenge or even disagree with them
- Demonises you to other people in an attempt to gain sympathy
- Turns people against you thanks to Chinese Whispers they started
It’s one thing to call these people foolish, but it’s another thing to stay around them and let their words continue undermining you and making your life more difficult. If (when) you draw a line and distance yourself from these people, you can bet they’re going to bad mouth you. If these people also have that Victimhood Complex going on (see Part 1) then they’ll ad you to the long index of people who’ve done them wrong and made their life the tragedy it is.
Let them talk. Soon enough they’ll find somebody else to talk about, and new bridges to burn with their words. That’s their problem.
#7. Critical People
For people like this, hardly anything or anybody is ever good enough. They might actually be quite productive people- competent, efficient- but it’s their negative and critical attitude that sucks the fun out of everything and makes the world seem like a much smaller, bleaker place than it really is.
These people are damaging to you on a psychological level, and if you’re a person big on the abundance mentality then these people are fatal to your creative thinking. These are the classic “glass half full” types. But rather than going and putting 50% water capacity into a glass and asking them to evaluate it, you can identify them by the following traits:
- Frequent use of negative words like “never” “can’t” “horrible” “wrong” “rubbish”
- Frequently put down other people- regardless of whether they actually know them or not
- Believes at least 80% of the world’s population is beneath them somehow
- If they’re female: “You can’t trust men, they’re only good for one thing, aside from that they’re all the same”.
- If they’re male: “Women aren’t loyal, they’re only good for one thing, aside from that they’re nothing but trouble”.
- Regularly complains about society, the government, big business etc.
- Exhibits Tall Poppy Syndrome
These people may (emphasis on the word may) be useful professional contacts to some degree. But anything more than that? Forget it. Life’s too short to be dragged down by their negative, black-pill thinking. If you want to live a life open to amazing new opportunity and be standing in line for abundance, these are people who can definitely take a back-seat.
I’ve had periods in my life where I didn’t have many true friends, with a quiet social calendar. But there’s also been periods where near every weekend (and weeknight) I had places to go, things to do and people to hang out with. So over the years I’ve met tonnes of people- and got to know plenty of different types, each with their differing worldviews and attitudes.
But then like most of us, I reached a point in life where I began to fully appreciate and recognise people for what/ who they really were. This coincided with developing a greater respect for my limited time and energy- and realising that if I really wanted certain aspects of my life to improve, then I’d have to be more accountable for how I invested both of these precious, valuable resources!
Like I said at the very beginning, it’s one thing to focus on ourselves and how we can do better as individuals, how we can reach goals and find true fulfilment. But we can’t do this on our own. We weren’t meant to. We were made for community and in a time of increasing individualism, it’s never been more important for us to recognise that.
So if you’re committed to fulfilment, to success (no matter your endeavour) and to enjoying abundance- if you believe the sky is, in fact, the limit- then you’ve got to have the right crew surrounding you. But you have to identify the excess baggage before you can chuck it.
In planting new orchards and sowing the seeds of success, first of all you’ve got to know what the rotten fruit looks like so you can throw it out before you become infected.
I know that taking action from here might involve some conflict. It might mean you’re left with no option but to have some uncomfortable conversations, or even break off existing relationships. Without some people, your life may become quieter for a period, and you may feel a profound sense of being ‘alone’, of being separated from the world, that you haven’t experienced before. But if you’re committed, and you believe in abundance?
What you lose now in the short-term will well and truly be repaid to you, with interest.
The less time and energy you invest in the toxic people we’ve looked at here, the more time and energy you have for new people. Abundant people. Prolific people. Positively influential people. Great people. I wish you all the best!