Photo by Arun Sharma on Unsplash

How do you remove a negative friend or family member from your life?

You limit your interaction with them in order to help them

We all have them, that friend or family member who drains you mentally. After spending time with them (sometimes even as little as one hour) you feel that you need a break from them, they used up all your energy with their negativity. And sometimes you even feel that it’s better if you don’t see them anymore. But how do you do that without hurting them? How do you do that without even feeling bad about it?

I have been in this situation a few years ago, I have known this guy for almost 10 years. He has always been the guy that likes to exaggerate things a bit but it was never really a problem for me since I tended to do the same, I was trying to make up for my low self-esteem. But after a few years I decided to better my life, and this guy was always trying to make himself look good by telling lies and stealing energy from every person around him including me. So I decided to something about it since I did no longer deserve to be around people like him, this is what I did.

Spend less time with negative people, but be upfront with them

After I decided that this guy has a negative influence on me, it was time for me to create distance. Friends should always be honest with each other in my opinion, even when it comes to taking a break in friendship. So I decided to tell him why I needed some distance.

After doing so, he did not really seem to understand the reason for me taking distance. It was a hard decision to make, especially since his girlfriend wanted to keep in touch. I guess she wanted this to get some positivity to balance things out, what do you think?

Doing the right thing is always correct I believe, but you have to be emotionally strong enough to do so. It was harder than I initially thought, but during the process of creating distance I got stronger and stronger.

It is a slow process. Bandaid ripping isn’t the best for this. Emotions are the toughest things to deal with. Honesty is key.

Trying to connect again

After a few years without much contact, I received a message form him, asking if I wanted to go to a car show with him. Since I love old cars I said yes, let’s go! He said he had free tickets for the entrance and drinks which turned out to be a lie, so that was a bummer to say the least.

After a few hours and a few tries to have a talk about his now wife and kids and the changes he made, I noticed that nothing changed. He seems to still be this same person who drains energy from other people for his own gain and lie about small things.

When the show was over and it was time to go home, I told him that I love him and that I’ll always be there for him if he needs me, but at this point in time I do not see an option for me and him to have a close friendship. His view on certain things in life and the way he always blames other people for this own mistakes, this behavior does not combine with my view on life. Have you ever been in a situation like this?

After I told him how I felt, he started to become defensive and come up with ridiculous claims and false promises which he would never keep. I also asked him if there was a way for me to help him, but he said no… He accused me of me thinking that I’m better than him, but I said no, but I want you to understand why I am telling you this. I want you to understand why (insert a friend name) does not talk to you anymore. I am here for you if you want, I want to help you. But he just said no, and stopped listening.

So I decided at that moment, that the former friendship was no longer worth saving. In order for a person to improve his life, he himself must be willing to change. And in this case, my former friend was not willing to really look at the situation.

Supporting this negative friend or family member is good, be there for them when they notice that a change is needed. If they are unwilling to change, it’s time for you to let them go.

Compassion and Cander are great when you combine them into something helpful. Try a different approach if it did not work out the first time around, try different things and see what happens. Lots of positive people struggle when they need to deliver negative points of attention, it just does not feel natural to them.

But that’s ok, if you struggle with this, realize feeling this way is ok. You are trying to help your friend or family member, the goal is to create a temporary distance between him/her and yourself, not to cut them out of your life completely. How do you handle negative people in your life? Let us know in a comment below.

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Freelance translator, Passionate Writer, but most of all a Proud Husband. Writing about Marketing, Mindset, and Entrepreneurship.

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