post written by: Marc Chernoff

7 Signs You’re Hanging With the Wrong Crowd


7 Signs You Are Hanging With the Wrong Crowd

You will only ever be as great as the people you surround yourself with; so be brave enough to let go of those who keep bringing you down.

Your happiness and self-worth shouldn’t be entirely dependent on others.  But the truth is, personal relationships do have an influence on how you feel, and that includes how you feel about yourself.

An old college friend, Axel, and I grabbed some coffee this morning to catch up.  About halfway through our conversation he admitted to me that he was really stressed out.  The more I listened to his story, the more I realized that many of his relationships felt like a burden to him.  The people he had surrounded himself with weren’t supportive in the least.  But it was a burden to which he’d become so accustomed, he didn’t even know he’d been carrying it until he spoke to me and was able to lay down the heavy load for a while.  The pain of relationships that aren’t working are like a subtle background ache – we don’t notice how much they hurt because we’ve grown so used to the constant discomfort.

How have you been feeling lately?  How are your relationships going?  The two can be more intertwined than we often realize.  As soon as I suspected Axel’s relationships might be having an impact on his happiness and self-esteem, I asked him a question that made him think:

What should a healthy relationship provide for the people in it?

Truth be told, life is way too wonderful and short to waste time with people who don’t treat you right.  So surround yourself with people who inspire you to smile.  People who help you up when you’re down.  People who would never take advantage of you.  People who are honest and genuinely care.  They are the ones worth keeping in your life.  Everyone else is just passing through.

If you feel like your relationships are bringing you down, here are some signs you may be hanging with the wrong crowd:

1.  They say you don’t have what it takes.

Never let someone’s opinion of you wash away your inner strength and spirit.  Never sacrifice who you are or what you aspire to be because someone else sees things differently.  Sometimes even those who you consider to be close confidants will carelessly crush your potential with smiles on their faces.  They will discredit your ideas, exhibiting zero emotional support, and try to persuade you to forget part of the person you are, along with the person you are capable of becoming.

It usually takes just a few negative comments to kill a person’s dream.  Don’t speak these negative comments to others, and don’t listen to those who do.  Don’t let people interrupt you and tell you that you can’t do something.  If you have a dream that you’re passionate about, you must protect it.  When others can’t do something themselves, they’re going to tell you that you can’t do it either; and that’s a lie.  These people are simply speaking from within the boundaries of their own limitations.

Don’t let weak minds convince you that you aren’t strong enough and smart enough.  You are.  Surround yourself with people who help strengthen you – those who see greatness in you, even when you don’t see it in yourself.

2.  They don’t support who YOU are.

We are all weird in some way.  What sets you apart may seem like a burden, but it’s not.  Most of the time it’s what makes you so incredible.

You need to know that everyone deserves love and respect without terms and conditions.  Everyone has a right to live their life the way they want.  Everyone has the right to be happy without feeling guilty.  No one has the right to hurt anyone.  No one deserves abuse of any kind.  No one is not good enough to be exactly who they are.  And yes, this includes YOU.

Always choose to be true to yourself, even at the risk of incurring ridicule from others, rather than being fake and incurring the pain and confusion of trying to live a lie.  It’s OK to do what you want to do.  It’s OK to be happy with yourself and the way you live your life.  It’s OK to say no to others and yes to your own desires.  There’s no better freedom than the freedom to be exactly who you are.  Give yourself that gift, and choose to surround yourself with those who appreciate your decision.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Relationships” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

3.  They only respect you when you live their way.

Real friends (and family) meet in the middle.  When there’s a disagreement, they work out a solution that works for both parties – a compromise, rather than a need for the other person to change or completely give in.  If someone around you is all take and no give, you have to take a stand.

It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but just as much to stand up to the people closest to you.  Sometimes bullying comes from the most unlikely places.  Be conscious of how the people in your closest social circles treat you, and look out for the subtle jabs they throw.  When necessary, confront them.  Do whatever it takes to give yourself the opportunity to live authentically.

Exercise your inner genius.  Listen to your inner voice.  Try what you want to try, go where you want to go, and explore the depths of your own intuition.  Don’t accept false choices just because someone else doesn’t feel what you feel.  Don’t let others leash your dreams and your future.  If something feels right, it probably is.  Give yourself the fair chance you deserve.  You CAN, so don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t.  Do anything you want as long as it’s not hurting others.  Don’t take crap; you deserve better.

4.  They create and thrive on negativity.

It isn’t easy to remain positive when negativity surrounds you, but remember that you have full control over your attitude.  Think of it this way: An entire body of water the size of the Pacific Ocean can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship.  Similarly, all the negativity in the world can’t bring you down unless you allow it to get inside your head.

This is your life.  You may not be able to control all the things people do to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.  You can decide not to let their actions and opinions invade your heart and mind.  And above all, you can decide whom to walk beside into tomorrow, and whom to leave behind today.  (Read Emotional Vampires.)

5.  They condone your self-abuse.

Always keep in mind, first and foremost, that you have to treat yourself the way you want others to treat you.  The amount of abuse you tolerate in your relationships is often equal to the amount of abuse you heap on yourself.  If you are used to telling yourself that you’re ugly, that you are destined to fail, and that you’re not capable of performing in the world without someone holding your hand, then you will accept and feel most comfortable in relationships with people who reinforce these same negative beliefs.

This is precisely why you need people in your life who truly know and love you – true friends and family – people who see the pain in your eyes while everyone else still believes the empty smile on your face.  In other words, don’t look for people who will solve all your problems; look for those special few who will sit down and face them with you.

6.  They make you feel unattractive.

Sadly, we’re taught to believe that miniature waists and perfect tans are beautiful.  We’re made to believe that blonde hair with blue eyes will win every time.  But the truth is, originality is beautiful.  Big brown eyes, green eyes, blue eyes alike.  Curves, and lots of them.  Your natural skin tone is beautiful.  Your hair color and your smile.  Your voice, your laugh, and your personality.  Every inch of you that shines with your unique essence…

You are truly beautiful just the way you are.  If someone close to you says otherwise, they aren’t as close to you as you think.  Period.  (Read Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It.)

7.  They aren’t there for you when you need them most.

Surround yourself with those who believe in you, encourage you, and are willing to support you when it rains, not just when it shines.  It’s during the toughest times of your life that you’ll get to see the true colors of the people who say they care about you.  So don’t make too much time for people who rarely make time for you, or who only make time for you when it’s convenient for them.  Know your worth.

And remember, relationships are rarely 50/50 at any given instant in time.  You can’t always feel 100%, or a full 50% of a relationship’s whole – life is simply too unpredictable for that.  So on the days when you can only give 20%, the other person must give 80%, and vice versa.  It’s never been about balancing steady in the middle; healthy relationships are about two people who are willing to make adjustments for each other in real time as needed, and give more when the other person can’t help but give a little less.

Afterthoughts

It’s not always where you are in life, but who you have by your side that matters.  Some people drain you and others provide soul food.  Don’t jeopardize your dignity and self-respect by trying to make someone accept, love and appreciate you when they have proven that they are incapable of doing so.

When you leave the wrong people behind, the right things start happening.  What would happen if you surrounded yourself with people who made you better?  What would happen if you started spending time with the RIGHT crowd?

Think about it.

Your turn…

What would you add to the list?  What’s one clear sign you might be hanging with the wrong crowd?  Please leave a comment below and let us know.

Photo by: gaspi yg

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46 Comments

  • People who want to own or control you, make your choices for you either directly or indirectly, speak for you, and generally “protect” you from being a functional, independent adult with free will. These people are the wrong crowd. Sadly, have one of these people in my life – an old coworker/friend. But I’m taking small steps in the opposite direction.

    I don’t comment here often, but I read your site regularly. I also bought my daughter your eBook/audiobook package for her birthday, and she loves it. So I just wanted to say thank you for the positive impact you are having on my family and me.

  • I was part of a crowd like this for a few years - boozing and getting wasted and I was finding that all the negativity in my life seemed to be focused around what they’d think of me if I didn’t do it “their way”. It took me a while to realize that they were all in a race to the bottom of the bottle, an effort to drown out the mediocrity of their jobs/lives/existences and I had foolishly picked up the baton and was vying for the lead.

    When I did eventually make the decision to step back from their destructive pessimism and their abhorrent need to drag everyone down with them, my eyes began to open. Very quickly. They only liked me because I drank and I was able to listen to their sob stories about work and their miseries about the world. When I tried hanging out with them sober, they quickly turned on me and labelled me a traitor, a sissy, a coward. Within a month I had managed to ostracize myself from the group and when I finally did manage to walk away, I did so with a huge smile and I’ve never looked back!

    They still look at me as an idealist and have never treated me the same since. I don’t mind having ideals. Wrong or right, at least they’re my own and that gives me all the confidence I need.

  • I’m currently in a relationship with a narcissist. The traits are that he’s very controlling, everything that goes wrong in his life is because of me and he has this need to change me (this has to do with forcing me to wear high heels, remarking on my weight, comparing me to other women). His positive traits? He’s a social genius and makes everyone around him fall in love with him.

    I have just recently come to realize the dynamic in our relationship and I am on my way out it. Your post has helped me a lot. Looking forward to the time where I can heal and focus on myself again.

  • This article could not come at a better time for me. I moved to a new city about a year and a half ago and made new friends. At first, it was nice to have people to hang with. As time went on though, I noticed that being around these “friends” always made me feel either anxious or inadequate. It’s only recently that I’ve been able to name how they were making me feel. I just knew in my gut that they weren’t making me feel good. Whenever I would go out with them, I would think twice before I said something in fear of their judgment. Rarely do we ever think “friends” can harm us, but it can happen. If I could add one more thing to this list, it would be to pay attention to how the relationships you are in make you feel. Of course there will be ups and downs in a relationship. However, if a person or group of people are constantly leaving you with that sinking feeling in your gut, then it is definitely a sign you are hanging with the wrong crowd.

  • Eliminating unwarranted negativity from my life is one of my top goals this year, so this post has been extremely timely. Great guidelines!

    My two big takeaways:
    1. Be a righteous, honest, generous, reliable, and most importantly, a loving person. This is VERY important, because likes attract likes. If you want great people in your life, you have to be great to deserve them.

    2. Build relationships with people with that share these two traits: honest and respectful. Remember your relationships are meant to enrich and beautify your life, not to twist your mind and soul.

    Also, this quote from the relationships chapter of your book has always been one of my favorites:

    “Remember, life is kind of like a party. You invite a lot of people, some leave early, some stay all night, some laugh with you, some laugh at you, and some show up really late. But in the end, after the fun, there are a few who stay to help you clean up the mess. And most of the time, they aren’t even the ones who made the mess. These people are your real friends and family in life. They are the ones who matter most.”

  • @Nicola, that isn’t just narcissism, it’s early warning signs of abuse, and it tends to escalate as the relationship progresses. I urge you to stay strong and committed to removing yourself from that relationship permanently with no contact. I did volunteer work for four years for a domestic violence shelter and know many wonderful people who dedicate their lives to helping victims of domestic violence. You are not alone and there are many resources available to you. Here are some links with great information for you and contact info to counselors if you need to talk to someone free of charge:
    The National Domestic Violence Hotline
    thehotline.org
    1-800-799-7233

    Here is an article on the warning signs of abuse: thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/abuse-defined/

    @KevinBaker, that was the exact comment I’d planned on making. I mean, word for word exactly what I wanted to say with the same exact experience. Weird and thank you.

    @marcandangel I also gave copies of your paperback book to my daughter and a friend for Christmas, and they love them. Your work is so inspiring. Thank you for the positive impact you’ve had on me.

    Melissa

  • Many years ago I had a session with my therapist that has always stuck with me, even though I still continued to have people around me who didn’t necessarily treat me right. She gave me a simple task, write out your definition of the word “friendship”. Then take a look at the people around you and see if they fit your definition. I use this when I evaluate friendships now and after many years of practicing, I can now say that the people I choose to keep close to me are ones who fit my definition. The really surprising thing to me was that I had made friends of so many who didn’t fit my definition that I hadn’t realized that there were people who did. And the people I keep close to me now are some of the best friends I have ever had. This shocked me. I was starting to think that maybe I was just too hard on people to expect them to act in a friendship as I did. By the way, I’m not high maintenance at all.

    The hardest for me was letting go of my husband. It took me years to realize that I was in an abusive relationship and that staying was only teaching my daughter the same behaviors that he exhibited. Having done everything I could think of to try to save the marriage, I let go. It was a hard decision to make, to leave and go down life’s road alone but I have truly discovered my authentic self in doing so. And I have begun to really love the person I am. And I have found that when I chose ME and allowed myself to be the person I am, the people around me changed too and everything has fallen into place.

    I love your articles and I bought your book! Please keep inspiring others!!!

  • Great post! From my parents I learned that, depending on who your friends are, you either strive thrive or you become a negative, fearful, and miserable person. I am blessed with the greatest. They support me and cheer my accomplishments and stick with me when in adversity.

  • What a great subject to tackle. For most of my life I have been seeking my tribe and I have never found them. Because I was afraid of being lonely, I settled in the relationships I had with others.

    It is only after going through a period of crisis that I realized that everyone in my social circle has been wrong for me. The crisis allowed me to strip away the layers in my life and I have been able to see these people I allowed into my life, that I considered friends have been toxic for me. So I have let them go. Yes I am alone but I am not as lonely as I have been in their friendship.

    This was a necessary lesson for me. My daughter’s criticism of me is that I am too nice. I’m far too accepting and loyal even when I am left feeling unfulfilled and in many cases just deflated after encounters with people I considered my friends. Now I know what I am willing not to accept.

  • I have a boss who I tolerate. I have worked for her for 10 years. This year she wants us to be closer. I don’t want this. She is not what a friend is to me & doesn’t treat me like I want a friend to treat me. I like my job & know that it will probably be the same elsewhere. I have toyed with starting my own business so that I am the boss & where I can treat me like I want. Money and risk are big factors in not doing it yet.

  • They don’t want you to change.

    There’s always room for personal growth, but sometimes others don’t want us to change. Maybe for bad reasons (control, say) or maybe out of love (they’re afraid they’ll lose you). But we all need room to grow.

  • I would add one thing: they expect you clear their schedule for them, but they barely acknowledge you. I had trouble making the “right” friends during my freshman year of college, and am now only still friends with maybe 5-6 of them. But I’m a senior now, and I think it’s safe to say I’ve figured out who’s worth it - at least for this stage in my life.

  • So where do I meet good people? In church? I find most people just use me. It’s hard to find good people. This would be a good topic for me. I been mixed up with wrong people most of my life and it’s sad.

  • @Nicola - I agree with Melissa Webster. That’s not narcissism. My ex was exactly the same. I endured years of domestic abuse and ended in violence. Please look into the resources available and keep yourself safe.

  • I cannot even express how these articles have helped me. But this one has just taken me to a whole new level. I am in an abusive relationship with my adult child and have had “enough”. Even though he says he loves me, he is aggressive and verbally abusive to me. I have just recently created some physical space in an attempt to restructure our relationship. Thank you for your words of wisdom.

  • I was involved with someone several years ago. I loved and cared for this person deeply. Oddly enough, it wasn’t until I was away from them that I realized the extent and depth of my love for this person, but not being with them helped me to heal myself from many things. Learning more about myself, helped me to see not only did I need to heal, but she needed to heal herself as well.

    The environment wasn’t healthy for us or her child and after trying tirelessly to convince her of this, I decided it was time to go. I walked from everything. I left the drama, the negativity, the deceit, the controlling behavior, the abuse, all of it. I have felt so much sadness from letting her go, but I am a much better person, much more at peace with myself, and in my life; I believe she is better too. My friends say I look so much healthier and happier. People do need room to grow and while I will always love her, I will never regret stepping up and making that decision for myself, for her, and her child at that time.

    Since then, new doors have opened up for me and I’ve met many wonderful people. I’ve even had the opportunity to visit with many good friends from my past. I feel sad to have lost so much time, but now I feel so blessed.

    Your articles are wonderfully inspiring. Thank you for sharing!

  • I had a “friend” who was like all 7 signs described above and after giving her a piece of my mind I let her go and I have never felt better. Took me a while though but I am back to myself.

  • @Paul, I’ve also dealt with what you are going through. There have been many instances in my career and life where I’ve felt used, unappreciated and rejected. Sometimes it was because of my own distorted perception of the relationship. Other times it was genuinely selfish on their part. So I’ve finally learned it is necessary to establish boundaries.

    Because good people you can trust and count on are hard to find, it’s important to recognize and appreciate the ones you have in your life and to know exactly the kind of people you want to surround yourself with. I think someone mentioned making a list. That’s a good idea and will help you focus on what you want.

    Church is a good place to meet good people, but so is any other organization that holds your heart and mind with people who share the same interests that you can relate to. No place is guaranteed.

    Having said this, I firmly believe most people are inherently good and mean well, and a lot of times it’s just basic insecurity, misunderstandings and lack of communication that ruins it. Once you relax, know and recognize what you want, establish boundaries from the very beginning, and communicate in an open, honest, “true-to-yourself” way, you’ll attract the right people to you, who love you for you and aren’t just in it for what you can do for them. Once you know what you want and will tolerate, you’ll be able to easily recognize the difference, and establishing those boundaries becomes second nature.

    It’s hard, and it’s hurt me deeply to let go of some of the relationships in my life, and my circle of friends has gotten really small, and I spend an unhealthy amount of time alone and I hate it, but I keep reminding myself it takes time for good relationships to grow and expand. I really love and appreciate the people in my life now, and I know I’ll never take them for granted again. And I hold on to the hope more of the “right” people will make their way into my life and good relationships will develop over time. After the relationships I’ve dealt with in the past, the forced loneliness will have been worth it.

    Have faith and good luck!

    Melissa

  • Dominique Wayne Staunton
    January 23rd, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    I also believe humility and pride are essential tools to living happily.

  • @ Kevin Baker
    I can attest to that. For many people the person you just described is their parents. For me my father. I just turned 24, he wants to control my life. Even though I graduated with an engineering degree and now have a job every decision I make is “bone headed”. Current example: Dropping out of grad school for a degree I was not interested in getting, only to please my Dad. Then now starting my career so I can one day start my own business. From the time I was 10 he’s been telling me how selfish I am. Now as an adult and do not depend on him I confronted him about it, didn’t go so well. But I can get past it and love him for who he is but at the same time block his opinions out and live my life.

  • I have learned so very much from your timely and so important articles.

    I am in a quandary as I was married for over 20 years to a bully etc. I lived in denial I realize now…there was much pain and damage done to my spirit, and I have attracted a few others since, but I try to recognize it sooner now. I am presently in a ‘play’ and the very British, acerbic, director is on my case all the time. I am new to her and the group and I am always dreading meeting with her for a solo rehearsal and I have not slept well because of it.

    What to do? Stay with it and be anxious and fearful and resentful etc. Or quit?? I cannot change her and her voice and manner, but really I wonder why this has happened to me? The ‘other’ women were not that friendly at first but some are better now to me. This is a ‘throw-back’ to young mean girls I feel which I was never a part of in my youth. I have no idea how to manage this and it is eating me up!

    It is not my job to change her! I am discouraged over all this and I do have a ‘pretty voice’ and the pianist for the play tells me it is the prettiest voice in the group, which is nice but of no consolation with what the other is doing to me!??

    Any suggestions please would be most helpful…I feel more than a little concerned and sad over this.
    Thank you for any advice anyone has. Why must life and people be so difficult?

  • Melissa-I’ve always heard that it’s better to have 1 or 2 true friends than 10 friends who represent some or all of the traits mentioned in this article. It’s ok that your circle of friends have become smaller if you’ve let go of the few that were toxic to you and your life.

    I have a very small circle of true friends-they are honest-kind-caring-selfless. They have been there for me in my darkest hour without hesitation-I’ve done the same for them. In my opinion-that’s true blue friendship.

  • In my experience, I’ve whittled it down to one simple equation, I only spend time with people who make me feel good about myself and that seems to be all that a good friend needs to be.

    I’ve let-go of people who moan or complain or generally make me rethink my own decisions, life’s just too short to second-guess yourself at someone else’s gain.

    Ultimately, it’s all about making happy choices.
    Thanks for a great article.

  • This could not have come at a better time. Finally, I got the strength to end a relationship that was all #3 and #10. He only made time for me when it was convenient for him (and he literally lived 20 minutes away from me). I would always bend just to make him happy but he didnt do the same.

    Honestly, it was when I started to read thi blog daily that I was filled with the spirit and strength to move on and move forward without him. At times, I do experience “loneliness” but believe it or not, I was more “lonely” when I was with him than I feel now. I know with my faith in my higher power, I will be blessed with someone who will not find excuses NOT to spend time with me or be with me, but to find reasons as to.

    Thanks again Marc & Angel for yet another eye-opener.

  • I was in a relationship with a female narcissist for almost two years. It was like a roller coaster ride…up and down over and over. Narcissists can be some of the most controlling and abusive people around. I suffered emotionally and my health was seriously effected by the stress. We broke up for good this time about 4 months ago and so much has improved for me. I am devoted to living true to myself, my health is restored, the drama is gone and it feels great to be myself again! I still miss her but that’s just part of the grieving process.

    So I know it’s hard to say goodbye even when it’s obvious that the relationship isn’t healthy. Don’t sell your soul you will be glad you didn’t.

  • I was about to jokingly write, “you wake up counting the bars between the cell you’re in and the rest of the world.” Then I realized that while it may not necessarily be an actual prison you wind up in, you little by little go to places you never imagined you would. That’s a surefire way to know you’re in with the wrong crowd.

    Important article. Thanks.

  • Love this post. Hard to leave these people for some reason. I would add people that are victims and stay in their victimhood and don’t seem to want to change.

  • Very inspiring post. Gives me lots to think about. Good work.

  • Great post. I totally needed that wake up call - this really helped me stop and really scrutinize all the wrong relationships I have been holding on to. Thank you.

  • Honestly, this one stings a little bit today as I have to face the fact that I wasn’t always on the right side of all of these issues within a recent relationship. Thanks for the reminder of how the people I associate with make me feel AND how I need to be mindful of what I bring to the table as well.

  • Dear Marc and Angel!

    I don’t know from where to begin or how to end my short letter. Truth be told, words are not enough at all to describe your beauty, honesty and kindness. I have to admit that throughout my entire life, you’re one of the only couples who have had a wonderful, positive impact on my life.

    Both of you are truly and undeniably two angels from heaven.
    From the depths of my heart, I wanna thank you and thank you and thank you.
    Bless you Marc and Angel.

  • I fully agree, I always say that if the people you’re around don’t support your dreams then you’re with the wrong crowd. It all comes at a cost too, the price of being around the wrong crowd costs you a lot of time and energy.

  • I totally agree. I no longer attract energy vampires or allow people to lower my self esteem like I used to.

    Since taking responsibility for my life I now only attract people who think like me and share the same values as I do.

    I now live a happier more fulfilled life and feel good for it.

    Power to us :)

  • I’ve learned over the course of my life that people sometimes tend to bring out the worst and the best in each other. There are also degrees or levels to each of the traits/ qualities mentioned in this article. Some folks get a high from pushing other peoples buttons when they don’t get the reaction they wanted; this is nothing less than emotional insecurity and immaturity. How well we control ourselves, the ability of the ” button pushing” person to change themselves, and the strength someone has to cleanly walk away from an unhealthy situation or lifestyle ultimately makes the difference in personal happiness.

    I think it’s important to remember humans have an amazing ability to reinvent themselves and that they can change, just because a person behaved badly in one relationship doesn’t mean they will do the same in the next relationship…maybe they learned from their mistakes as well as the mistakes of their partners, maybe they decided to change themselves, or stay away from others who brought out the ugly in them. Peoples lives are ever evolving, changing, growing, and someone should not be sentenced for the rest of their lives for one or two bad situations. Until you walk in that persons shoes, you have no idea what they went through…it takes two in a relationship.

    I will say that some folks just do not have the ability to change and that is truly unfortunate, but I believe in being positive, I believe in the spirit of human kindness. I believe people have an innate desire to do good and be kind to others. Those that act outside of this realm, more than likely encountered some type of abuse at the hands of someone very close to them, a series of bad luck or events in their lives, or some other life changing event. Regardless of age, background, or ability, it is our responsibility as humans to reach out and help our fellow brothers/sisters. It takes a village to raise a child.

    That said, I do know some people will not change no matter the tools available, no matter the help, or assistance. In these cases early intervention would have been key, that’s where it takes a village to raise a child. Everyone deserves a shot at happiness.

  • For many people those you describe above are family members - possibly close ones. This makes it very hard to avoid them. The only thing to do is to empower your own Mindset to protect yourself from their negativity.

  • @Bob - spot on that others can bring out either the best or the worst in us. I think this is what can make it so very hard to walk away sometimes from these relationships. At least for me I keep focusing on here’s where I went wrong and if I can just fix that then the other person will behave differently in response towards me. It’s a vicious cycle. I’m not saying its hopeless, but there comes a point where both sides have to meet in the middle. If you’re in the middle all by yourself then it is definitely time to walk away.

  • Every one of your seven signs resonates with me, and I’m not sure that I’d add any new ones.

    However, for me, the issue isn’t so much that I’m around the wrong people as that I need to expand my circle. I’m transitioning from a career that consumed my entire adult life into one I’ve wanted to do for years (copywriting), but a lot of the people around me just see a career as a means to an end and don’t buy into the idea of pursuing your passion. At best, they tell me to go for it but can’t relate to what that entails.

    I’m trying to find ways to spend more time with ambitious people who are creative and/or entrepreneurial-minded, who “get” what I’m trying to do, and who can give me informed advice and find ways we can help each other out.

    Coincidentally, I just saw a comment on another of your posts where you recommended the post, “5 Ways to Meet the Right People,” so I’ll be looking for ways to apply that to my own life.

    Great topics. Thank you!

  • This is a wonderful article, thanks again guys.
    We can be like frogs in boiling water with our close relationships! My thought is recognising that if we’ve had a fantastic chat or just really enjoyed someone’s company, look at how different your closest people to you act compared to that person. Are your closest relationships mostly great, or mostly leaving you feeling that somethings missing?

    @Nicola … manipulating people is definately not a positive trait. Throw off those high heels and RUN don’t walk out of that house. Tell someone you trust, burn bridges and trust your gut feeling. Don’t explain, don’t get manipulated by him, physically leave as soon as possible. As others have said it can get worse very quickly, and the longer it goes the harder it is. Tell yourself “I deserve someone who makes me feel good about myself” Good luck x

  • @Kevin Baker: I couldn’t agree more. Allowing people to be independent and real is a must. Thanks so much for the kind remarks, and for supporting our work. Glad to hear you and your daughter are enjoying our book.

    @Happy Feet: I’ve been there many times, so I know it’s hard. But when feasible, distancing yourself from the wrong people is truly liberating. It sounds like you’re learning this firsthand. Congrats.

    @Nicola: I’ll echo what others have already said… Start taking steps in the opposite direction, today. Best of luck to you.

    @Optimist_C: Angel and I have had similar experiences as we’ve moved around. Happy to hear you’re sorting these relationships out.

    @Dev: As always, excellent insight! Thanks so much.

    @Melissa Webster: Thank you for sharing these helpful resources with the community here. And thanks so much for supporting our work. So happy your daughter and friend enjoy are work as much as you do. :)

    @Stephanie: “Write out your definition of the word “friendship”. Then take a look at the people around you and see if they fit your definition.” – Such a great way of getting in the right state of mind for evaluating relationships. I’m happy to hear you’re now in a positive place with your life and relationships. And thank you for purchasing our book and supporting our work.

    @Sandra Hamlett: Thanks for sharing a piece of your story. I strongly believe that the tragedies in our lives strip those layers away and allow us to change and grow in the most beautiful ways.

    Tracy: Start taking small steps with your big idea. Do it while you have your day job. Get the small snowball rolling down the hill and see what happens.

    @Paul: Read this article: 5 Ways to Meet the Right People

    @Janice: You’re welcome. Please take care of yourself. My heart goes out to you as you deal with this difficult situation.

    @Anita: Thanks for sharing your story. It sure sounds like you made the right decision. Cheers to new beginnings.

    @Kathryn R.: I think this post will help you: 4 Ways to Quiet the Negative Voice Inside You

    @Bob: Beautifully stated. Thank you. I would add: Help others, but don’t hurt yourself. Forgive others, but don’t forget about yourself in the process.

    @Stuart Young: Agreed. When someone close to you is always putting your opinions and thoughts down, it’s often because of them, not you. It’s because your bold ideas are interfering with the fears and limited perspective.

    @Brad Jorgensen: I just recommended that article again. I hope it helps you.

    @All: Thanks for keeping the conversation alive. What Angel and I love most about the little community here: We often learn just as much from you as you likely learn from us. It’s a beautiful circle of sharing. Thanks again, of being a part of it.

  • Thank you so Marc for your reply… that means so much to me and I shall read what you mentioned. I am so grateful to the person who sent your newsletter to me and of course I’m grateful to you and Angel. I keep your newsletters and posts in a separate folder. I can learn and apply much to my life from your writings.
    Sincerely,
    Kathryn… merci….

  • All you have written above is true. I say this from my personal experiences in life. I learned not to hang out with negative people who keep me down and degrade me even they pretend to be my friends. I started to avoid them especially when they made me feel like I should be someone else. It changed my life.

  • I always try and encourage myself and others that just because you’ve been friends with someone for a long time, doesn’t mean you have to keep being friends if the relationship is no longer healthy for you. It’s a tough call to make, but necessary.

    And I would add: Surround yourself with people you can learn from as well as those that appreciate what they can learn from you.

  • This article couldn’t have come at a better time. My sister unfortunately has never been supportive of anything I do. She doesn’t show any real interest in anything I do. If we were not sister’s then we would not meet up. She makes little digs at me (she’s 39 I’m 40), but as I’ve gotten stronger I realise how childish she is being, and also realize that she’s unhappy and just wants to bring me down to her level… I feel sorry for her.

  • Great post as always.

    Point 2 drew me in firstly.

    “We are all weird in some way.”

    I hate the word weird and it seems the better decisions I make as a human being (since quitting alcohol) the more I hear myself being referred to by that word. A clear indicator that I hang around the wrong people; it’s just a strange conundrum that most of them are family.

    If there is anybody else like me - people who are allowing those closest to them to call hem weird - then the buck stops with you. Make a list of all of the people who are hurting you and then take them aside - one by one - and explain to them how much they are hurting you, ask them to change their behaviour and then tell hem you love them.

    Lee Davy

  • I just ended a 6 year relationship with a man who had Borderline Personality Disorder. I agree with your post, but he used these very things to guilt me into staying…. that he had a right to be who he was, and do what he wanted. (He was a binge drinker.) He said I was negative, and not supporting his dreams. (After I spent around $1500 on a project he wanted to make and sell. I still haven’t seen my money back yet.) I guess my point is, I agree with your article, but don’t let an unhealthy person twist these same concepts and guilt you into putting up with who/how/what they are when it emotionally and mentally hurts who YOU are.

  • Absolutely amazing read! I LOVE YOUUUUUUU MARC AND ANGEL - you have changed my life one article at a time. I don’t know how to thank you enough. Just incredible… I want a hug.

    Honestly, I admire you both soooo much beyond words can describe.

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