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Make Your Relationship Work

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We all have toxic friends.  They usually don’t mean badly; they’re not trying to be toxic.  But they’re toxic nonetheless.

Having dealt with a few of them over the years, here’s how to either rehab them, or at least limit the damage.

Honesty Above All

I’m not saying be brutally honest, or tell the truth with no regards for somebody’s feelings, but never lie to spare somebody’s ego over drama, especially if you can tell they’re not being sincere about asking for the truth.

If a toxic friend asks you if you think they’re being too dramatic, and they are, a flat “yes” goes a long way towards shaking them out of their complacency.  Think about it: when was the last time you seriously considered, without being forced to, the possibility you were wrong about something?  It rattles our cage a little bit, and it helps wake us up.

Handle Things Directly

Most toxicity thrives on gossip and indirect complaining.  If you’ve got a problem with somebody, sit them down and talk to them about it.  Is this incredibly hard to do?  Oh, absolutely.  And it doesn’t always go well.  But often you’ll find if you’re respectful, but direct, it cuts down on drama and in turn limits how toxic anyone can get.

Set A Good Example

Believe me, I understand the desire to deck some people can be absolutely overwhelming.  But, especially if you’re dealing with toxic people, you need to set an example.  Losing your cool with somebody is generally exactly what they want you to do and it feeds into whatever their damage may be, whether it’s being able to dismiss somebody with a point because “they just don’t like me” or because they’re bored and want to stir up a hornet’s nest.

But if you stay calm, level-headed, and settle disputes like an adult, it sets the tone for all interactions with you.  If somebody comes to you about something, however you decide, they’re more likely to see it as a reasonable decision instead of being angry out of hand.

Don’t Get Involved In Anything That Isn’t To Do With You

This goes double, by the way, if somebody asks you to get involved.  “Those who seek trouble find it” is never more true.

Seeking advice is one thing; everybody wants to talk out a tough situation, or get a different perspective on how things may shake out.  But asking you to actively intervene?  Nope.  If it’s not your life, in the end, it shouldn’t be turned into your problem.

Know When To Walk Away

The hardest lesson of all is this: some people will not change, while others do, and there comes a point in your life where you just can’t be friends with them anymore.  And sometimes it’s because they’re awful.

Don’t phrase it like that, but be honest.  Tell toxic friends you can’t handle the drama, you’ve got more than enough to worry about, and they need to either find someone else to burden their problems on, or just let them go.

If they can’t do that, walk away.  After all, you’ve probably got your own drama to deal with.

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