Sometimes we need to stop being so darn Canadian, and be more aggressive as we avoid negative people. We are under no obligation to be overly polite to people we don’t like and don’t get along with. It’s hard wanting to be nice, even when people are toxic and you know you need to get away from them for your own good. And yet, the thought of them being offended stops us from acting.
One of the things that anxious people are often anxious about is being well-liked, and being appropriate in every situation. That is a nice sentiment, but there are times when you really need to put yourself first. If you’re getting nothing positive out of the relationship, let it go.
The more we filter nastiness out of our world, the better. Anxious people already have enough to deal with just getting through the day.
Avoid Negative People Online, especially Facebook
If a relative or acquaintance drives you mad, but you feel cannot unfriend them for political or social reasons, just unfollow them. Now you won’t have to see their posts every day. You might see a few comments, but they’ll be less present.
You have no obligation to add anyone as your friend, and you can block anyone if you don’t want them to know your business. If you know a coworker is sneaking around and stalking your page, block them. If you don’t want to see your ex show up in other conversations, block them. Take back your space and make it positive for you.
Never engage in online arguments. It drains your energy and is never worth it. Usually you end up feeling like you’ve been bashing your head into a wall.
I joined an online discussion and quickly realized that one of the participants was completely and totally wrong, and there would be no convincing him that he was ignorant of basic well known facts. I told him, “I’m not going to waste our time arguing, so instead I’ll just say ‘have a nice day’ and let’s go off happily in opposite directions.” He posted a smiley face, and we moved on.
This could have easily degraded into a giant ordeal, but I didn’t have the time or energy, and what would it prove anyway? It is very rare that you can change a person’s mind, and most people on the internet are pretty much imaginary anyway. Let it go. Walk away.
4. Friends Only, and Special Groups of Friends Posts.
You can make a Friend Group of only close people whom you trust, and share certain things with them without the rest of the world getting into your business. Filtering what you share, and who it is shared with, greatly lessens the chance of you having to explain yourself or defend yourself to people who don’t even matter.
Blacklisting people is sometimes the only way to kick them out of a group without a lot of drama. If good people are avoiding events because of the nasty people, the problem needs to be fixed. If it’s really bad, mention it to a few close friends that you would appreciate it if they could stop inviting the annoying person to social events.
This happened in my circle of friends recently. Someone who seemed harmless at first began pestering women online, and being a pushy creep in person. Myself and a few other gals would check Facebook events, and if he was listed as attending, it might change our decision to go. Being social is hard enough sometimes – knowing you might have to deal with a jerk might be too much to handle.
Finally I took a chance, no longer caring if I was labelled a bitch. I told several people about his behaviour, and that he was no longer welcome. They understood, and as far as I know he has not been invited to events since. It is a huge relief, as being cornered by a pest is unsettling. I want to spend time with my real friends, not some vague acquaintance that nobody likes, who has just glommed onto the group.
It’s hard, but we must speak up. Several of the other women were creeped out by his weird messages, but nobody wanted to rock the boat and say anything. Say something! Tell your real friends if anyone’s behaviour is offputting. The group has a right to know. Sometimes people have no idea, and just think the more the merrier. Tell them if one bad apple is spoiling the barrel.
There are also some folks that I refer to as “small doses people”. They’re great for an hour, but beyond that it wears out your patience. Perhaps they have a really strong energy, or never stop talking. Some people are best enjoyed in tiny amounts. Schedule your visits accordingly if you can.
Avoid Places You Are Really Not Comfortable
Just because your friends go to various activities doesn’t mean that you have to join them every single time. Perhaps dance clubs are too loud and make you uneasy. Maybe you have bad memories of bowling, or the clientele there creep you out. Maybe the cat cafe makes you sneeze. It’s okay to turn down some invitations. “I’m busy on Tuesday” might mean that you’re looking forward to organizing your sock drawer – nobody needs to know every detail of your life.
Go to the things you enjoy, and skip activities that don’t agree with you. Now, it’s good to try new things and push yourself out of your comfort zone. But you know the difference between avoiding something new because you’re nervous and knowing you’ll hate it. Just ask your friends all about their outing, and tell them you’re looking forward to the next thing that you do enjoy.
What about you?
Don’t forget to protect yourself from yourself. Are you sliding into bad habits during a rough month? Spending days playing video games to escape stress? Eating too much junk food?
If we’re thinking about self care, take a moment to ask yourself how you’re really doing, and if you’re treating yourself in a negative or positive way. Maybe we all need a few salads, more water, and an early night in. Maybe we need to go out and be social with the few friends that we always have a great time with.
If we’re throwing ourselves off balance, it’s time to stop and take a real look. We need to protect ourselves from our own negative habits.
Protecting yourself from negative people is an important part of self care. Take some time this week to think about how you can keep your shields up.