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How to identify toxic relationships

Life is about the relationships we keep: the relationship we have with ourselves, our partner, our family, our colleagues at work, our friends and even strangers. These relationships can either be positive and fruitful or negative and toxic.


You’ve probably heard the adages: “Surround yourself with people who lift you higher,” (Oprah) and, “The people you surround yourself with influence your behaviours, so choose friends who have healthy habits,” (Dan Buettner).

Identifying and eliminating toxic relationships from your life is important because just like particular food can ruin your diet and health, a particular person can also ruin your health and your happiness. So what are the tell tale signs of a toxic relationship?

  • People who are jealous of you
  • People who are competitive with you
  • People who betray your confidence/trust
  • People who focus on your faults
  • People who always complain
  • People who repetitively break their promises
  • People who are self-absorbed or self-entitled
  • People who contact you only when they need something.

These types of people will drain your energy and if you can’t avoid them altogether, make sure you only give them your minimal energy and time. Remember, relationships take up a lot of our emotional energy and wellbeing, so when you surround ourselves with toxic people, you are less likely to reach your potential. On the other hand, if you surround yourself with like-minded, positive, caring, honest and interesting people, being happy becomes effortless.

I recently read an interesting article that identifies some toxic and abusive behaviours in relationships and how to better handle them. Here’s the link if you are interested: