Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Spend Limited Time with These Eight People

We are to love all people. I know this. You know this. But I’m not aware of a command that says pour all our time and energy into people that drain the living daylights out of us. Truth is to do so is just plain unhealthy. It robs us of time better spent on those who are more likely to motivate us and prod us toward the reason we’re here in the first place. You can’t get time back. It matters how we use up our minutes.
All this said, I’ve given some thought to some folks we might want to consider minimizing our minutes with:

The Blamer
Everything is someone else’s fault. (Little brother to The Complainer.)

The Victim
Life, in all its unfairness, has dumped on me. Wah. (Brother to The Blamer.)

The Excuse Maker
That’s not my project or problem or property or possession... Besides, I’m too busy cleaning out my ears. (The Victim’s best friend.)

The Discourager
Why bother? It’s not worth it. You just don’t have what it takes. (Mom of The Victim.)

The Complainer
Life is always a dull brown or gray. This person could find a way to rip apart a rainbow. (Cousin to The Blamer.)

The Eternally Bored One 
(The Complainer’s neighbor.) Nothing worth engaging with. No real valuable way to spend my time. Waste it away.
The Gossip

Should carry a sign that says, “Willing to talk behind backs for free.” Thinks it is building her up. Instead, she looks like a fool. (Girlfriend to The Bored.)
The Taker

Mine. Mine. And more mine. Talk. Talk. Talk. Dump. Vent. Bleh. (Trains The Victim’s dog.)

And there you have it in the land of toxic. Crazy how they’re all related, eh?
This list serves as a great self-check for me. It’s natural to slip into any one of these behaviors. But it’s dangerous and it bleeds into our relationships. On more than one occasion I’ve learned the hard way after spending far too much time concentrating on individuals with these traits. Now I’m more discerning about how I invest my time—and in whom.

Can you think of another example of a life-draining behavior?

*There’s a difference between going through a difficult season and embodying one of these traits for years. I’m a strong believer in coming along side others to help them out of the pit. But when it gets to the point where they want you to bring your belongings and live down there with them, you’ve hit a crucial point. Do you let them drag you in the pit with them or not?

**photo by stock.XCHNG



  1. Another life-draining behavior: the controller...or micro-manager. It's just...stifling. Thankfully, my experience has not been personal--some people live with controlling people--I don't know how they make it. But even in just limited work-related experience, it's, yes, toxic.

    I love your p.s. at the end though. You're right--there's a difference between someone going through a hard time and slipping into one of these behaviors versus being that behavior.

    Really good stuff!

    1. Yeah, I really felt I need to add that p.s. And I've met a controller or two in my time. Never feel very free around them.
      ~ Wendy

  2. The Downer. Peppers each conversation with how terrible her/his life is. So much worse than yours. Or anyone else's for that matter. Negative. Negative. Negative.

    1. Aka: The Eeyore, right? I feel like whipping off their cloudy glasses and shouting, "There's a sun out there. See, right there!"

  3. While I was reading your list of 8 things to stay away from in people, I thought about how in times past I'd acted like a few of them. Glad you added the P.S. at the bottom.
    Controlling was one I was going to add.
    A braggart, their story is always better or worse than yours.
    Judgmental or hyper-critical, they are constantly on the prowl to find fault.
    The liar, you can never believe a story they tell you.
    The socialite maven, not interested in giving you the time of day unless you are in "their" socio-economic group.
    I stated this last one because I was in a Bible study last year that had a few of this type. Being new to my area I was anxious to meet new people, but they were not perceptive.
    Great post!

    1. I'm a mess. I've probably been each of these at one time or another. God help me! :D Refuse to stay stuck.

      Braggart reminds me of a one-uper.
      Judgmental is one of the hardest types for me to be around.
      Thankful I don't believe I know too many liars.
      Socialite one reminds me of the clique obsessed. Yep, met those. Annette, I would have hugged you every time if you came into my Bible study.

  4. Oh my, yes. These are so true. I have to work at not becoming the Complainer or the Victim. Have played those parts in the past but have tried my best to move past them. It's not only draining to be around those people, but to BE those people too.

    1. Excellent point, Lindsay! It can be a time suck to be one of the above just as much as it can to know one. Yeah, the complainer is such a tempting one for me to fall into. Yikes.

  5. The Entitled person! I have one in my extended family and it seems that the world owes them everything, simply because they breath. It's hard and draining because this person believes we should bend to do her bidding because she should have the best of everything and there's very little appreciation. The other that comes to mind is the Poverty Mentality (maybe a twin to the Victim?). This person looks at life through the lens of I will never succeed, nothing good will come my way, I'll be poor, sick and lonely for the rest of my life and I can't expect things to get any better.

    I agree, wholeheartedly with your P.S. God calls us to the downtrodden and the broken hearted - but when they try to pull us into their pit, we need to walk away - or run - as fast we we can.

    1. Yep, I've met The Entitled One. Teaches me a lot about who I don't want to be.

      It's a slippery slope (ha, pun intended...) sliding into that pit. We might not even see it happening until we're down in the dark with said person.

  6. We have a victim, complainer, and gossip at my work...I stay away.
    Excellent examples, Wendy.

    Gabrielle came up with a good one too - The Entitled person. I've seen a few of these around.

    1. As Christians I think we hear that repeat voice that says be nice to everyone. While that's true, we're not called to devote chunks of time to people that continually drag us down.

  7. This is great post, Wendy! Wonderful examples. I love how you say (eg. Girlfriend of the Bored) true and cute.

    1. I had fun making them all connected. I might have intermarried some, but I'm not sure at this point it makes any difference. ;-)

  8. I think that's a very thorough list! I so cherish those friends who are none of these and who exude positive, uplifting energy.

  9. It's amazing how easy it is to get sucked into the behavior of others. I love the word you used: toxic. Definitely gets to the heart of it.

    1. This word gets thrown around a lot, but I think it does wonders to create just the kind of visual that might help any time we're wavering about whether or not to invest.

  10. Ooh, Wendy. Good post - love how they're related, yes! I've got one - The Guilter: "I know you don't have any time but could you spare a few minutes (turned into hours)? I just have a quick question...." or "You're always so busy. It must be nice having so many people in your life. I wouldn't know what that was like."

    Ugh. So hard, especially when they're little old lady neighbors who really are lonely.


    1. Ha! Oh, Becky I'm "ha"ing you because I'm guilty of this one. Yep, I do this. And I feed into it too. I'm a sucker for it. Especially the lonely ones. I became good buds with an old lady that lived near me in Georgia.

      It can go overboard, I certainly understand this. But I think of all the ones listed I slip into this one the most. Thanks for giving me something to think on. I'd hate for it to come across like I was guilting someone into something when I really wanted to connect. Hmmm.

      First day of school for kiddos = success. Went for a run and wrote over 5K (jimminy, yes, yes I did).

  11. Very true...and a good reminder to avoid being these people, too! It's easy to fall into any number of these habits, depending on which way our personality is inclined, but I think awareness is half the battle.


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