We all know them, we all hate them, these annoying people, these know-it-alls, these arrogant and intriguing people, these naysayers. They can make our lives harder, our jobs dreadful and they can get in our way when it comes to reaching our goals. Poisonous people can be a major obstacle when it comes to reaching your goals.
Cause and Effect
Imagine a situation where you walk down an alley and suddenly a tree branch falls down and hits you on your head. Nothing serious, but it hurts a little bit and you have a small bruise. This is annoying.
Now imagine a similar situation. You walk down an alley and suddenly a stranger on a bike passes by and hits you with a stick. He hits your head and then he disappears. Nothing serious. It hurts a little bit and you have a small bruise.
Which of the two situations would annoy you more? What would make you angrier?
The consequences in both cases are exactly the same. You have a small bruise and it hurts a little bit.
However, if you are like most people, the guy hitting you with a stick will make you much angrier.
Don’t Take it personally
That means if people are involved we take things personally, and for good reason. When a person is involved it is, by definition, personal.
But even if something is personal, you are not necessarily opposed to it as a person.
Most people care much more about themselves. So chances are people have much less bad thoughts about you than you’d think.
Is It Me or Is It You?
You may have heard the following before – from a friend. Your friend told you about how annoying and stupid her boss was. Then she moved on to a new job only to tell you a bit late that her new boss is as annoying and stupid as the old one was.
This leads us to two important questions.
- When is a person poisonous?
- What to do if a person really is poisonous?
Is It Poisonous?
A person who is poisonous for you might not be poisonous for other people. In his case it just does not fit. Also, a person that used to be super helpful for you might become poisonous over time. Please note that it doesn’t necessarily mean that the person turned from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. It can be the whole situation that has changed, it can be your goals that have changed and of course it can be you who has changed. So, don’t try to blame the other person. It is not about who’s guilty.
People can be poisonous for you although they have their best intentions. If your goal is to lose weight and to exercise more and your friends offer you cake and want to go out with you for a drink every night they might have good intentions. They want to spend time with you. But certain parts of their behavior might not be helpful for your goals.
Even relationships that started most romantic can turn into poisonous ones. Your partner and you might develop different goals. That’s fine. However, if your partner’s goals turn into obstacles for your own goals, or vice versa, it can get difficult.
If you want to cross the sea it is easier to build a ship than to dry the whole ocean. This means it is easier for you to change yourself than to try changing others.
If you have identified a poisonous person or a poisonous behavior of a person and you cannot find a reasonable approach on how to handle it, the escape might be the best solution.
It can well be a mini escape. If it is a colleague you can try to avoid joint projects. If it is a “friend” you might loosen the relationship. You might have identified a certain behavior that makes it harder for you to achieve your goals. Can you talk to that person to prevent the behavior or even to turn her into a supporter for your goals?
If this mini escape should not be possible, a more drastic escape can be required. In other words you might need to consider avoiding certain people altogether.
Is It You?
Beware false friends. But also beware being a false friend. In other words, think about situations where your behavior might be poisonous for other people’s goals. Then think about how you can change your behavior or even help the people around you with their goals. This will certainly help to make the world a better place. And, there is a good chance that it will also help you. It will help you to have better relationships, to be happier and eventually it might even help you to achieve your goals.