Do you need a Social Detox?
January is the traditional time for a detox after the excesses of the festive period, so how about a social detox?
Do I need one? If there is someone in your life who drains your emotional energy, then that person is likely to be toxic and you are better off without them.
Fortunately, our seven-step plan will free you from social toxicity in 2019
Identify – Toxic people are manipulative and selfish. They are impossible to work with. They rarely apologise for or own their mistakes. If you dread spending time with a person, they are probably toxic and it’s time to move on. If it’s a colleague or a boss start looking for another job.
Be determined – The person might be part of your social circle, or your immediate superior, or they might recognise that you are distancing yourself and try to claw back the friendship. You need to be clear in your own mind and create a mental separation, even if you can’t create a physical one right now.
Set boundaries – Don’t respond to texts, block their number if you can. If it’s a work colleague, only respond to work-related matters and keep the relationship strictly professional. Social media is trickier. Blocking or unfriending can make life awkward if you share mutual friends or work together. I would suggest you unfollow rather than unfriend, and don’t interact with them. The algorithms of most social media sites tend to flag up people you interact with regularly, so by not commenting or responding to them they will gradually disappear from your online world. Stick to your boundaries because toxic people exploit weakness.
Be less ‘nice’ – Not to everyone, just to toxic people. Toxic people take advantage of kind people. They thrive by draining your good energy. There is no need to be nasty, simply stop being overly accommodating.
Accept you can’t save them – Toxic people show up when they need something: attention, money; a shoulder to cry on. They want a way back into your life. Be determined and maintain your boundaries. If they are in real straits direct them to resources that specialise in the help they currently require. Solving their problem is not your responsibility.
Family matters – Toxic family members are particularly difficult to deal with as a clean break is often impossible. But you can still establish clear boundaries, even if they are in your head. Limit interactions, perhaps only phone a toxic parent once a month for 20 minutes, or restrict visits to three times per year, whatever works for you. The point is, take control, visualise your boundaries clearly then stick to them.
Treat it like a relationship break– up – Be kind to yourself. We are primed as humans to need relationships, but we don’t need unhealthy relationships. The more time you spend away from toxic people, with positive, loving people who bring joy to your life, the more uplifted you will feel. Make time for people who bring you happiness and let go of those who bring you anything less.
IMPORTANT – Please note that there is a difference between people who are truly toxic and people who have a negative outlook because they struggle with depression. Most of us can tell the difference between toxicity and depression. If your friend or family member suffers from clinical depression let them know that you love and support them. Don’t cut them out of your life.
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