2 Ways to Turn Off the Negative People in Your Life

I have an acquaintance that I thought was a friend. Our children go to school together and we have a standing play date on Saturday mornings.

But every time the play date ends I walk away feeling horrible. Her tone and her body language are extremely condescending. So much so that I spend the remaining part of the afternoon in self-doubt and sometimes tears.

Apparently, her behavior is bullying, and it’s time for me to do something about it.

Yesterday I made the commitment to end this torture. It was difficult, as I’m not sure she has many friends. I begin feeling guilty at the thought of “dumping her”. But this is the same problem that people fall into when dealing with a mean partner or spouse. It scares me, also, that I will have to see her every day when dropping off and picking up Daughter.

The way I see it, I have two choices. I could tell her that being with her makes me feel ugly inside. I fear this will be met with more condescension.

My second choice is to stop seeing her.

Saying, “I feel yukky inside when I’m around you.”

My mini flowchart starts like this:

1. I tell her that being with her is not a positive experience.
2. I tell her which parts of her behavior make me feel this way.

Then it might conclude like this…

3A. She says that she doesn’t realize that she does it, and she appreciates the feedback. She commits to making a change.
4A. We continue our play dates with a sense of peace.

Or it could go this way…

3B. She rolls her eyes and condescendingly tells me that that’s ridiculous.
4B. I inform her I can’t see her anymore. I walk away.

I am quite disturbed that there is no certain route in this flowchart. As a control freak myself, it’s difficult going into a situation without knowing the outcome. This option is a clear jump out of my comfort zone.

Saying, “I can’t see you anymore.”

I can completely avoid the uncertainty in the above situation if I merely tell her that I’m starting a new diet and exercise plan that will take me away from our Saturday morning play dates. The problem with this, is that if I don’t lose weight over the next month while she sees me every day at school, the jig is up.

Furthermore, why should I have a jig at all? Lying and avoiding her is easier initially, but could get hairy down the road.

So what shall I do?

While I make that decision, I’m going to avoid today’s play date. A simple, “Something’s come up so I can’t meet today” should suffice. This won’t work long-term, as it will add more stress and anxiety for me.

I know I should tell her. I should tell her today. It will free me up for the rest of the week. But I’m scared.

Have you been in this situation? Will you share your outcome?

And just in case you’re wondering, she “doesn’t read blogs,” as she’s told me a number of times while rolling her eyes. So I’m not concerned that she’ll read this. Although if she does, it might be good.

5 Responses to 2 Ways to Turn Off the Negative People in Your Life
  1. Alise Isbell
    February 26, 2011 | 9:09 am

    Great blog! Sorry you’re having to deal with such a negative situation. You’re awesome, fun, great sense of humor, creative, interesting and You Rock!!! – and don’t you forget it!

    There’s a great book called “Safe People” by Cloud and Townsend. A whole chapter is devoted to “Should I repair or replace?” Also, another good book called “Bullies and Victims” was very helpful to me over the years.

    Lastly, you are an adult. You don’t owe anybody anything and certainly don’t need to justify choices to others. Believe me, the bullies aren’t considering your feelings when they’re condescending. Giving a toxic person reasons for your decisions only gives them fuel for further manipulation and bullying.

    All the best in this situation.

    • Idearella
      February 26, 2011 | 10:45 am

      Thanks so much for your support, Alise. It means a lot. I’ll be looking for those books too!

      The post I linked to about bullying helped a great deal as well. That’s by a new LPC in Houston who’s just starting his practice.

  2. Scather
    March 2, 2011 | 5:38 pm

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me.
    I really hope the situation works out for your Idearella.

    I just found your blog via thesitsgirls Follow and Be Followed thread. Please check out my blog, Scathing Weekly 🙂

  3. Gayla
    May 11, 2011 | 6:06 am

    I’ve found myself in very similar situations. I try to surround myself with all things positive – from vision boards to uplifting music/television throughout the day versus a continual feed of negative news. Still, negative people find their way into my life – where I feel I’m constantly treading water to keep from being sucked under.

    A few years ago I had to tell a close friend I could not be friends anymore. Our break took 3 years and we recently reunited with a new sense of respect for each others boundaries.

    • Idearella
      May 11, 2011 | 6:23 am

      3 years. Ouch!

      Indeed the challenge of surrounding yourself with positivity is a constant one. I find that sometimes “positive” people enter my life only to turn out the biggest problem.

      Thanks for the comment, Gayla!

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.idearella.com/2011/2-ways-to-turn-off-the-negative-people-in-your-life/trackback