3 More Warning Signs About the Company You Keep (365 Days of Spirited Living – DAY 234)
“Evil influence is like a nicotine patch, you cannot help but absorb what sticks to you.”
— E.A. Bucchianeri
It has been said that one can tell a lot about a person by the company he or she keeps. That is true to an extent. What is more difficult to tell is whether a person is generally good at his or her core or if that person is being influenced into a negative direction by external forces. The company we keep can be stepping stones or stumbling blocks. They can build us up or tear us apart. They can help us succeed or cause us to fail. Before you jump into a relationship with anybody in any arena of life, be sure you look out for any warning signs that many people avoid.
Here are three signs the people around you are bad apples and you’re better off showing them the nearest exit:
1. They cause you to feel trapped.
Any relationship that causes you to feel suffocated, or even helpless, is a bad relationship, and you need to run as quickly as you can from that. When someone around you has become arrogant, proud, controlling, or demanding, you will begin to feel as though life has little meaning. People with this kind of attitude will zap your energy. Anything good you try to contribute to the relationship will feel meaningless. This happens in business relationships, romantic relationships, friendships, and other types of relationships as well.
A good relationship allows you to have space to learn and to grow. It should help you to become a better person, not tear you down or hinder you from reaching your goals. You can come and go as you please. You are not beholden to anyone or depended on anyone for happiness. It should be a part of what gives you meaning. You’ve heard people say things like “this relationship means so much to me” or “I live for this person.” What they really mean is that the relationship is whole and it is helping them to make progress in their lives.
2. They judge you by your past.
Some people will refuse to accept that you are a much better person than you used to be, that you are making better choices now, and that you have rejected your old ways, attitudes, and behaviors. In some cases, you may have had to let go of negative people around you who were trying to hold you back because you no longer run with them anymore. They don’t like the fact that you have matured and are growing and learning from your past and moving on with life. So they will try to tack your past on to your back in order to keep you from moving forward.
Do not assist these people in their behavior by paying them attention. Part of moving forward is realizing that the past is unchangeable and instead of trying to live there, you spend your energy and time building a better house for yourself. The past is only important to the extent that we learn from it. If someone is constantly judging you by your past and holding it as a weapon against who you are now, you need to make extra strides to open the door wide for that person to make his or her immediate exit.
3. They can’t handle a mistake.
Everyone makes mistakes. Even the best people, people I look up to, make big mistakes. But that is all they are — mistakes, an action or judgment that was misguided or otherwise inaccurate. An honest mistake should be accepted by anybody. But some people will hold your mistakes against you. This goes back to them wanting you to be perfect. Most times, someone else expects you to be perfect to make up for their flawed character that they try to hide. A person who can’t handle a mistake will try to seek revenge.
When things go wrong, people have a tendency to ascribe good intent to themselves but bad intent to the other person involved. However, in a good relationship, both parties have learned to forgive and forget, to live and let live. They understand that all people, including themselves, have flaws, make misguided assumptions, and have personal biases that get in the way of facts and one’s best judgment. Instead of judging you by your mistakes, good people will seek to understand the motive and intention behind an action or behavior before making a conclusion.
“Announcing the intended arrival of some people is kind of like issuing a hurricane warning.”
— Richelle E. Goodrich