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10 Toxic Persons You Should Just Get Rid Of

10 Toxic Persons You Should Just Get Rid Of

Is it time to do some spring cleaning with the group of people who make up your circle of acquaintances, colleagues and friends? There are probably some toxic persons in there who are undermining your confidence, betraying your trust, and spreading negativity. There is no escaping the fact that we cannot live in total isolation, as we are social animals. We need to find empathy, compassion and positive stimuli to survive in the jungle. To avoid shutting off from everyone completely, here are 10 toxic persons you should get rid of or, at the very least, avoid as much as possible.

1. Those who soak up your time like a sponge.

These may be family members or friends who seize your time like bank robbers! Yes, you have heard it all before. They repeat the same old refrain and there is nothing for you to gain. Friendships need a give and take.

As soon as you ascertain that they do not even want help or can’t offer you affectionate support in return, it may be time to drastically reduce your exposure to these people or just get rid of them. They will waste too much of your time, if you let them.

It may be impossible to get rid of family members, though. So try a few tactics like switching off your phone at certain times of the day or simply invent urgent messages or callers. We all need alone time.

“I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not defined by another person.” – Oscar Wilde

2. Those who criticize you far too often.

Nothing wrong with a bit of honest and fair feedback. But when you find that certain people are engaging in constant criticism, it may be time to take action. When the criticism is not constructive in any way, you might even drop them a hint that they are going to lose any friends they have left.

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You can also always tell them that their constant criticism is not helpful in any way and it upsets you.

3. Those who play the victim all the time.

These are the experts at the blame game. They never take ownership of their own shortcomings or mistakes. They are the victim and it is never their fault! It always seems to be the fault of their colleagues or their upbringing which never really gave them a chance.

These people just have to be avoided at all costs and avoid being pulled in, because they may start to involve you in their blame game.

4. Those who have a negative mindset.

These people spread negativity like a contagious disease. Try to get vaccinated by avoiding them at all costs. These people get into a negative downward spiral and it is sometimes difficult not to get dragged down there. These are the people who are always anxious, worried, pessimistic, depressed and complain a lot.

You need to get rid of them because if you want to live longer, a positive outlook will add years to your life. One Yale study has found that having a positive attitude to aging can help you live seven years longer.

5. Those who lose their temper and zap your energy.

These are the ones who really drain your energy. Why do you have to absorb their silly and sometimes childish outbursts? We all have difficult moments. Keeping self-control will test us to our limits and we usually have ways of controlling it. Letting off steam may help these people but why should you have to absorb the fall out?

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These short-fused people are underdeveloped psychologically and their emotional intelligence is hovering around zero. There is no need for them to be part of your inner circle.

I remember having to witness my doctor insulting, berating and screaming at his son on the phone while I waited to have a check up. It was awful having to listen to all that. Needless to say, I changed my doctor as soon as I could!

6. Those who show no compassion or empathy.

You do not want these in your inner circle either for the simple reason that they are not capable of lending a sympathetic ear or understanding your problems when you need them to be around. These people have personality problems and some of them display narcissist tendencies.

They do not have the ability to put themselves in other people’s shoes. This is the key to social interaction and sound, ethical behavior. That is why you do not want them around you.

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity can not survive.” – Dalai Lama.

7. Those who are dishonest and lie to you.

“Lying is done with words, and also with silence.”- Adrienne Rich

Some friends will swear secrecy when you tell them something confidential. When you find this information is now common knowledge, you may well be furious and decide to end the friendship. But dishonest and untruthful people can also do harm in many other ways. They may lie to you about their debts or if they are having problems at work. They may also be insincere and lie to you about what they think of your behavior when you ask them for feedback.

These people can only damage friendship over time because trust, truthfulness and honesty are the most precious qualities in any friendship. If they do these things, they are not worthy of your friendship.

8. Those who are manipulative and will exploit you.

There are some friends who just want to use you to get an introduction to an important person you know, a job interview or even a date. They use gossip as a weapon and there is always a hidden agenda. They are angling for that job so they will make sure you do not apply.

They will tell you scary stories about the job, the boss and the miserable salary. They are just reducing the number of contenders to their advantage.

Manipulative friends know how to extract information from you or get you to reveal certain weaknesses which they will then use against you. They will exploit your generosity and your social conscience and will rarely give anything in return. You can soon spot it if you are the one who is always the giver or the one who pays for everything! These people have to be avoided because they are using you.

9. Those who are deliberately hurtful.

These people have a range of tactics and remarks which can be very hurtful. It might be your parents criticizing how you are bringing up your children when your own upbringing was nothing to write home about. It could be an off the cuff remark, which is sly or hurtful, and leaves you feeling wounded.

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Sometimes, people make nasty remarks which call into question your own honesty, diligence or ability. Other occasions are when friends fail to deliver on their promises such as not doing you the favour you requested or just forgetting to call you.

These are hurtful tactics that you should not overlook and have to put up with. These friends and family members seem to be more intent on laying mines than displaying warmth, affection and support. That is why you need to get rid of them.

10. Those who are stressed out.

Did you know that humans are programmed to think negatively and they are always worried about safety, health and survival? Anthropologically, this makes sense, since as cavemen, things were not that great. It is amazing how this built-in stress is still with us today. That is why, when stressed out people appear in our cubicles or phone us, we have to be ready to withstand them.

And there is no shortage of these people, as between 75% to 90% of all visits to the doctor are stress related! Research studies show that any exposure to stress in the long term will affect our brains and performance.

We have enough stress of our own to deal with, without having to deal with stressed out people hovering over us. We need to distance ourselves from them to survive.

How have you have managed to get rid of toxic persons in your life? Let us know in the comments!

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Featured photo credit: couple silhouettes on the beach with horses via shutterstock.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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