Stop allowing other people’s negative behaviour in your life

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Here’s a simple question for you…

Why do we tolerate so much negative behaviour in our every day lives?

I’m not talking about having negative-sounding people in our lives but bad behaviour in general. The friends that never make you a priority. The family that aren’t there for you when you really need them. The boss that speaks to us like crap. We accept so much of it and then blame ourselves for feeling like rubbish.

As the infamous quote states:

Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes – William Gibson

We tell ourselves that it’s ok that we haven’t heard from our friends in weeks because they’re ‘too busy’ (when, in fact, they’re not). We make excuses for people that take their bad moods out on us (without apology) even when they have no real reason to. We allow ourselves to be weighed down by the bad behaviours of others when instead we should be calling them out for it and telling them that it’s not ok to treat us like that.

I’m not saying we should find fault in everything or create conflict and stress when there doesn’t need to be any. I’m simply saying that if something affects us on a regular basis and it’s upsetting us, look to address the problem (or person creating it) but also recognise that what’s upsetting you could be a one of your habits that someone else can’t appreciate it. Punctuality is a huge bug bear of mine; I’ve been brought up that if you’re ‘on time you’re late’ and so even if someone is five minutes late (without explanation), I start to get upset until I tell myself that other people don’t always recognise the same standards and priorities as each other and that’s ok.

If, however, you are constantly at the bottom of someone’s priority list and it upsets you, speak to them about it. Yes, there is a fear that we will hear an excuse or reason we don’t like but if you don’t ask you’ll never know. It could be that they have something going on in their lives but haven’t told anyone and you’ve given them the catalyst to talk about it. Or maybe, you realise that actually, the friendship has come to its natural end and it’s time to think about moving on from that person.

There is, of course, a fine line between causing conflict and having a discussion and it’s not always something you can control so I understand the hesitancy to tell someone that their behaviour and words are upsetting you but surely it’s worth the risk if you’re always feeling negative or upset about something or someone?

Unfortunately there is something far more difficult than telling someone they’re upsetting you:

respecting yourself enough in the first place to allow yourself to realise that you deserve more that other peoples’ bad behaviour.

It’s incredibly hard to speak up for yourself or walk away from a situation or person that consistently upsets you but whilst it might ruffle a few feathers amongst friends and family, ultimately, the only person you need to look after in life is yourself first so don’t apologise for wanting to walk away from negative behaviour that you don’t want or need in your life.

  • Rachel


    If I come across someone who is incredibly negative all of the time (and I’m not talking about bad days, as we all have them), I just calmly cut that person out of my life. Life is far too short to deal with ongoing negativity or to be sucked dry by someone who is wallowing in self pity, and for most of my life I’ve refused to deal with it.

    Weirdly, when I cut them off, I rarely feel any sense of loss. Just a huge feeling of relief. I highly recommend it 🙂

    As far as negative behavior, I don’t classify friends not contacting me as ‘negative behavior’. People have lives and things they need to do. Me, for instance. My friends know it could be literally months before they hear from me, even if they live just around the corner. I’m incredibly busy, have so many things going on and don’t always have time to do what my friends want me to. The added stressor of a demanding friend just doesn’t fit in my life, particularly if the demands are for me to do something with them that’s not that important, and my true friends know that. Too demanding and they’re usually gone quite fast. 🙂

    • Toni

      Rachel – It’s so nice to hear that you have a strong sense of self-worth and what you’re prepared to accept/not accept. I think that’s half the reason so many people keep ‘bad’ friends in their lives – they don’t know themselves well enough to walk away when something it’s working.

      I recently cut someone out of my life and, like you, I felt a huge sense of relief rather than loss which speaks volumes to our relationship in the first place!

      Whatever works for you and your true friends, go for it!! If you all know what’s expected from each other and how your relationship is going to work, you can only have healthy friendships 🙂

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