Getting older isn’t all bad.
I’ve already encountered many of the expected positive aspects of aging.
I’m calmer and less stressed.
I don’t experience anger as often.
I feel more comfortable in my skin.
I feel more confident.
Wisdom starts kicking in.
A big one: I’m still alive! 🤣
But I’ve discovered that aging has another cool benefit:
I no longer put up with unpleasant people in my life.
I used to care a lot about what other people thought about me and wanted folks to like me. I wanted to make people happy. I didn’t want to make waves or create conflict, so I absorbed the stress from many interactions and relationships at work and in my personal life.
However, as the years have gone by, I’ve increasingly stopped putting up with people who are a net negative in my life. My inner circle has shrunk to only include those whose company I enjoy. Being self-employed certainly has helped. Moving out of the city and into the country was good, too. But I’ve also made a conscious effort to stop engaging with most of humanity.
Some people have called me a misanthrope. Am I? I’m not sure. I think I just no longer have patience for unpleasant people having an unpleasant impact on the precious little time I have left in this world.
“I’m at that stage in life where I stay out of discussions. Even if you say 1+1=5, you’re right—have fun.”
— Keanu Reeves
There are 10 kinds of people you should remove from your life if you can. We tolerate most of this behavior for too long. If you can be brave enough to eliminate your relationships with these folks, you’ll be surprised by how much more delightful your days become.
Life is too short, my friend. You don’t have unlimited energy to accomplish what you want in life while being drained by interactions with these people.
Of course, if you’re encountering this type of behavior in a valuable relationship (e.g., family member, close friend) or a relationship you can’t escape right now (e.g., boss, coworker), try to address the issues and improve things. I know you can’t always walk away from someone as easily as blocking a negative person on social media. Even so, you may need to minimize your time around them.
Do you have a friend who always tries to one-up everything you do? I used to have a few friends like this. Some of my more distant family members were guilty of this, too.
No matter what story I shared or accomplishment I achieved, they would react the same way:
“Oh yeah? That’s nothing! Let me tell you about what I experienced last week.”
They couldn’t seem to help themselves. They always had to top my story or crush my accomplishments. They just had to show everyone how much more exciting, interesting, and great they were vs. anyone else.
It grows old, and it never feels good. If someone is always trying to one-up your life, it’s time to reconsider their presence in it. I stopped spending time around these folks, and the sense of relief was tangible.
This behavior is so strange to me. It has happened in my real life, but it happens more often on social media. I’ll post something like a photo of a meal I enjoyed, and someone inevitably leaves a negative comment.
“Ewww. I hate sushi.”
What the heck?! Why would you say something like that on a post someone shared? What’s the point?
It’s happened so often in my life:
Someone told me they didn’t like my new shirt.
A coworker made fun of my car.
Someone often says something negative about the food photos I post.
A stranger commented that my favorite movie was stupid.
A follower mocked my choice of a favorite author.
I used to put up with this. Sometimes I would defend myself. Now? Now, I just block people and move on.
You don’t like what I post? Here, I’ll make it easy for you. You’re blocked. Now you no longer have to see the stupid stuff I post! Win-win.
Have you ever noticed how you feel tired after interacting with some people? They’re always down and negative, so they bring you down, too. Or you spend so much time and energy trying to lift their spirits that you are weary after each interaction.
Of course, this happens to all of us from time to time. And it sure is nice when a good friend can make you feel better.
However, some people are always negative and pull you down into their spiral of despair.
They hate their boss but will do nothing about it.
They hate their job but will never quit.
Stuff is always going wrong, but they’ll never take your advice.
Unless you’re a licensed therapist that this person has hired, this relationship dynamic isn’t really fair to you. I’ve minimized my time with people like this, and it’s definitely made my life better.
In my younger years, I had some friends who were really good at asking for favors but never reciprocating. For example, I remember helping one friend move at least three times that I can remember, but this person never seemed to be available when I needed help with a move. I finally stopped being their free moving service.
You probably have a few people in your life like this:
You’re the one who makes all the effort to keep the friendship going.
Someone who never seems to return the favor of buying lunch.
You help them when they’re in a bind, but they’re never available to help you.
That one friend who borrows money but never pays you back.
The family member you travel to visit but never makes a trip to visit you.
A healthy relationship has some give and take from both sides. If you’re in a one-sided friendship, is that person really your friend?
These folks always have something to complain about. They never seem happy with anything in life, and they always feel like the victim in situations. No one has it as hard as they do!
Mostly, these people are seeking sympathy and validation. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but offering advice or trying to help doesn’t work. That can actually backfire. I’ve had someone come back and complain that my advice didn’t help.
Unfortunately, this victim mentality can be part of someone’s personality, and they never seem to change. Minimize your time around them, or they will wear you down.
I know someone who always blames their current employer for their terrible work experiences. The problem is, they’ve been doing this for decades and with every single new employer.
"If you run into an aholeinthemorning,youranintoanahole. If you run into aholesallday,you′retheahole."
— Raylan Givens, Justified
Some people just want to blame anyone else and anything else for their problems. They refuse to take any personal responsibility. Of course, that means they are doomed to live a powerless life. But perhaps they’d rather have that than take any ownership?
Nothing makes me more weary than someone who refuses to take ownership of issues but would rather blame everyone else. It’s always someone else’s fault. And, sooner or later, they will blame you, too.
Move on. These people are tiresome.
I’ve worked for some managers who were never satisfied. No matter how hard you worked or how well things turned out, it was never enough. They wanted more, more, more!
I know some people have experienced this with their parents, and that makes me so sad. They’d get an A on a test, and the parent asked, “Why not an A+?” They’d place second in an event, and the parent was upset that they didn’t take first.
There’s nothing wrong with some encouragement to become the best you can be. We all need a push now and then. But it sure is hard to be around someone who never celebrates your wins because they want you to do even better next time.
This also happens with people who feel like you never do enough for them.
You can never spend enough time with them.
You can never show enough love.
You can never buy enough gifts.
You can never give them enough praise.
You can never show enough gratitude.
These folks are a bottomless pit of neediness. At some point, you just give up because you know they’ll never be satisfied. You’ll never be good enough. You’ll never do enough.
That’s no way to live.
I wasn’t great at setting boundaries during my corporate career. I’d work late nights and weekends. I’d miss important family events because I had a hard time telling my boss, “No.”
However, I recovered my personal life and developed boundaries when I started my own business. I quickly discovered that I had to with an early client. They started texting me late at night and over the weekend, expecting quick responses and getting upset when I wasn’t always available. So, I started adding clear boundaries (and additional boundaries), client by client and month by month.
I still encounter people who try to step past my boundaries to get what they want. But I no longer tolerate it. If someone doesn’t respect my boundaries, they can move on. I don’t need clients like that. I don’t want friends like that, either.
When people don’t respect your boundaries, it means they don’t respect you. Do you really want someone like that in your life?
“To err is human, to forgive, divine.”
— Alexander Pope
It’s hard to be in a relationship with someone who can never forgive you for your mistakes. Or, they claim to forgive you but use every opportunity to remind you about it. That’s always fun… 🙄
If you’ve ever spent time with someone like this, you know how bad it feels. You end up carrying the burden of your mistakes forever. And, being human, you will make mistakes. Lots of mistakes.
Life is too short to spend time around people who will never let you apologize and move on.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
— Jim Rohn
I was just talking about this with my friend Nate Davis during his interview for my Invincible Solopreneurs podcast. Making a new inner circle of friends was an essential part of building a more successful life.
The people who will have the most influence on your life are the ones you spend the most time with. Choose wisely! Does your inner circle lift you up and encourage you to become your best self? Or does your inner circle hold you back and drag you into negative habits (e.g., drinking too much every weekend)?
If someone is a bad influence on you, you need to minimize (or eliminate) your time with them. Or, maybe you can flip things around and become a positive influence that helps them improve their life!
A New Year’s Resolution
So, there you have it. The ten types of people who can make your life unpleasant if you let them linger and have more of an influence over your wellbeing than they should.
It will be a tough resolution to keep, but minimizing or eliminating your time around people like this will improve your quality of life. It certainly has made me feel happier and emotionally healthier!
I’m Larry Cornett, a Personal Coach who can work with you to optimize your career, life, or business. My mission is to help you take complete control of your life so you can become a more “Invincible You.” I currently live in Northern California near Lake Tahoe with my wife and Great Dane.