Ditch these people before they lead you to financial or emotional disaster.
Okay, so there are some people we just can’t avoid. A lot of them, actually. Most of us come into daily contact with people who press our buttons, or drain us, or give us the creeps (or all of the above).
The unavoidables in our life include co-workers, neighbors, and yes, even family. Although some would beg to differ that the latter is unavoidable. But what about people we voluntarily spend time with who leave us feeling exhausted or dispirited or insecure (or all of the above)?
Here are 5 types of people you should avoid whenever possible:
(1) The Professional Victim
This person almost inevitably entered your life in crisis and aroused all kinds of compassion and charity from you. How horrible that they were dealing with a major health challenge, or an abusive partner, or a financial catastrophe! You helped them through it with stalwart emotional, physical and sometimes monetary support, and were overjoyed when the emergency finally resolved…. Only to be quickly replaced with another. And another. And another. And…oh, you get it.
This person quickly becomes the boy/girl who cried wolf in your life, because if they aren’t rushing their kid to the emergency room, their parent has an incurable disease or their husband is cheating on them. Your compassion adrenals are quickly depleted as you realize this person never has a peaceful moment and thrives on crisis and drama (that they are the star and/or victim of)…
Sorry to be blunt, but pull the plug on this relationship. This is an all-take-no-give individual who needs to be the center of attention at all times.
(2) The Professional Bully
This person may or may not beat you up or steal your metaphorical lunch money, but they will consistently undermine your authority and sense of self-worth. See, the Bully is ALWAYS RIGHT. ALWAYS, ALWAYS ALWAYS.
The Bully may actually come into your life at first as a helper…that resounding sense of authority could attract you while you are in a vulnerable state about some decision or crisis. Because The Bully ALWAYS KNOWS BEST, he/she will lull you into a false sense of security that he/she can be trusted and counted on. Except, anyone who entirely rejects everyone else’s opinions and input should NEVER be trusted or counted on; you will learn this after they screw you over with some bit of bad advice or guidance and then don’t take any responsibility for the situation they put you in.
Part of being ALWAYS RIGHT is also being NEVER WRONG. So even when The Bully has led you down the shadiest path imaginable with bombastic reassurances, they will blame the failure of their plan on the sun for not shining properly. Or more likely on YOU, for somehow not walking the path correctly. It’s never The Bully’s FAULT. NEVER. NEVER. NEVER.
Ditch’em before they lead you to financial or emotional disaster.
(3) The Chronic Liar
You would think this one goes without saying, but the Chronic Liar is such an entertaining smooth operator that we tell ourselves those lies are harmless. Of course, we usually don’t realize The Liar is a liar until the relationship is established; otherwise, we wouldn’t have become friends with The Liar to begin with. But this red flag frequently gets overlooked because The Liar is so damned charming and fun.
The problem is, The Liar lies about EVERYTHING. At first, you will catch them in small lies that seem inconsequential and brush it off; you have no idea WHY they’d lie about what they had for lunch, but because you don’t care about food selections you think the lie doesn’t matter. Until the day comes when you understand that they can’t be trusted to tell you the truth about ANYTHING; lying is so reflexive for them, they don’t even realize they are doing it half the time.
If they lie TO you, they will also lie ABOUT you. And they are expert gas-lighters. Generally speaking very…um…morally flexible, shall we say?
In other words, not a very safe bet in any kind of relationship.
(4) The Obligation
We all have these people in our lives; someone from our past or someone “convenient” to our present that we find ourselves spending time with even though we don’t really enjoy it. The Obligation can be hard to sniff out, because frequently (but not always) he or she is a nice enough or at the very least unobjectionable person…who does nothing for you, emotional or intellectually. This person bores or annoys you for reasons you may or may not be able to pinpoint, but you keep dragging yourself back to your commitments to them because you would feel GUILTY if you didn’t.
Actually, that is the crux of it: if you are spending time with someone simply because you will feel GUILTY if you don’t? They know it, whether consciously or unconsciously, so do both of you a favor and cut that out. Life is too short.
(5) The Shape Shifter
You know that Dave Barry truism, “If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person”? This is the heart of the Shape Shifter. If you are in a relationship with anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable with their treatment of others (waiter, co-worker, spouse, child, parent. Etc.)? GET OUT.
The Shape Shifter relates to others insofar as what they can “get” from them; just because they have (most likely temporarily) decided that they can “get” something desirable from you does not mean you should hang around until they decide otherwise. The Shape Shifter is intrinsically dishonest, although they may not “Lie” in the classic sense of the word. But they are being who they feel they need to be to get your approval, and if/when they decide they no longer need that? Buh-bye.
Bottom line: If you see someone in your life behaving in a rude, cruel or disrespectful manner to others, you have every right to walk away, EVEN IF that behavior does not extend to you. Because they have revealed to you that they believe being rude, cruel or disrespectful is an option. Your call, but my advice is to walk.
We are subjected to all sorts of unsavory behaviors in our day-to-day existence because we leave the house (or stay in it, ouch), so why volunteer to be exposed to this sort of trigger? Just because you say “NO” to people who hurt, undermine, aggravate or bore you does NOT mean you are a bad person. It just means you understand that the happier you are, the happier the people you really care about will be; and the happier the New Year for all of us!