Don’t Let Toxic Friends Poison Your Circle

Q infusion Unfriend
July 27, 2016 By Karen Que

Have you ever looked at the people around you when you were succeeding and realized some of your friends weren’t clapping for you?

This moment says a lot about the people you choose to surround yourself with. In my blog post “Box Office Business Lessons: Joy,” I talked about the discouraging effect Joy Mangano’s family had on her ability to turn her dreams into a reality. The toxic relationships in the film held back her business and continued to plague her as she fought her way to the top.

In my own business relationships, I prefer to only form connections that promote learning and growth, whether it’s a vendor, partner or my accountant. I don’t want to do business with someone who doesn’t have the best interest of their company and my company at heart. That’s how you give your company soul.

There are people who are going to support you no matter what. And then there are people who will go back and forth. Sometimes they support you; sometimes they don’t. You’re never really sure which version you’re going to get.

For your emotional health, it’s not good to have people in your life who aren’t willing to back you 100 percent. I think we’ve come to a time when it’s okay to choose the people in your circle.

Our society used to place a lot of importance on longevity and loyalty. People worked at the same company for 40 years. They were friends with the same people their whole lives. But things are changing.

Now, it’s becoming culturally acceptable to have seasonal relationships and for people to have different roles in your life. Some relationships will be for a lifetime, some will be seasonal, and others are going to be in the middle.

If there are people in your circle who don’t support you and are slowly eating away at your happiness, it’s time for them to go.

My own circle has changed 80 percent over the last five years. There are some people I’ve specifically broken up with to make room for the friends who are a good fit for my life. There are a few ways to do this.

The Sit Down

When I’ve cared about someone but wasn’t able to continue our relationship the way it was, I’ve had a sit down with them and broken off the friendship. This allows me to tell them in person why I don’t think things can move on.

In one instance, I found that a colleague and I got along really well together at work, but when our families got together, it was a different story. There were dynamics and interactions that I wasn’t happy with. So I told my colleague that it was okay for us to continue working together, but I no longer wanted to be social out of work, unless we were doing a work project.

While the conversation was hard, the person was mature about it and we still talk today. It was the first time I really asserted my boundaries, and it worked out in the end.

Let It Go

There are other people who you just kind of let go. I’ve learned over the years that you don’t always have to get closure when a friendship ends. Growing up, I over-functioned for a lot of my friendships. I worked harder than the other person did, making the plans and always reaching out.

Eventually, I stopped calling and waited for them to call me. Some people realized I wasn’t around as much and reached out to me. Those people are still in my life.

When someone didn’t reach back, I just let it go. There’s no need to be angry with them. It’s okay to accept that this is where your relationship is right now and let it be.

The important thing is to build a standard for who you want to have in your life and uphold that standard. On top of everything else, follow your soul. Once you make decisions that feel good inside – no matter what judgment you receive – stick with it if that feels good to you. That’s how you grow.

Choose with Care

In business, it’s really important to be intentional about who you let into your circle. Steve Harvey requires his employees to have high integrity or they won’t be there long. He wants to be surrounded by really smart people who are going to elevate him, his family and his business to the next level while keeping his values intact.

When you’re hiring for positions, it’s important to set standards for what you’re looking for and take your time finding it. If you force it, you may end up with someone on your team who brings everyone down instead of lifting them up. Anyone you hire should have a positive influence on your business

I’ll admit this process isn’t easy. I grew up with the mentality that you’re supposed to be friends with everybody and you’re supposed to be friends forever. I have to fight the discomfort of never talking to someone again. It’s very emotional. It’s very messy. But being on the other side of it, I can say I’ve never been happier.

Have you ever had to sever a personal or business relationship?

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