Relationships are complicated and some people can be bad for you. But how to know the signs you should stay away from someone? And what should you do next?
No one in your life is perfect. Sometimes people will hurt you. Some people will disappoint you. All these things happen and they don’t necessarily mean you need to stay away from someone. But are there some reasons and signs you should stay away from someone, because they’re just bad for you?
Some things are forgivable. Some people are important enough to us that we put up with their bad moods or mistakes gladly.
But, where do we draw the line? How do you know the signs you should stay away from someone? Let’s go through this step by step, and start with what really matters first.
How to make up your mind – Should you stay away from someone?
You might think that your partner being in a bad mood, and not taking time for you for a few weeks because they’re stressed with a project at work, is reason enough to stay away from them. They aren’t making you happy so why be with them.
Well, this isn’t a valid reason to stay away from someone. Relationships have ups and downs. People go through things and being in a relationship, whether a friendship or romance, means you work through those things together.
You support each other and forgive their shortcomings as you’d expect them to do for you.
Deciding to stay away from someone isn’t going to be an easy decision. You need to think about this person’s place in your life.
Is there something that can be changed? Can you talk to them and work through it? Do you just need some space temporarily?
Staying away from someone isn’t a way to punish them or fix a problem. Staying away from someone is a decision that you need to make because it is what’s best for you over the long term.
How to make the right decision when you’re confused
Think of it this way. If you aren’t fond of tomatoes, you don’t buy them. Maybe you’d eat a salad with them or a sauce with them but you don’t just avoid them altogether. You don’t hate them. They aren’t bad for you. And in many ways, they do add to a balanced meal.
But, if you were allergic to tomatoes, you would completely avoid them. You wouldn’t order anything with them because it wouldn’t be mildly unpleasant. It could be heavily dangerous for you.
Someone in your life who annoys you or made you upset a few times shouldn’t be written off when they actually offer you a lot of happiness. But if they become dangerous to your mental health and wellbeing, staying away from them makes perfect sense.
The most important signs you should stay away from someone
Staying away from someone isn’t a decision that is made easily or quickly. It takes time and consideration. But, knowing the signs that you should stay away from someone can help.
If someone in your life leads you to feel negative about yourself, harms your wellbeing, or drains your energy, it is very likely a sign you should stay away from them. But here are some examples so you can be sure.
#1 You complain about them. A major sign it is time to stay away from someone is that you complain about them all the time. Even when they aren’t around, you are bothered by something they did or said.
You talk to your friends and family about how this person is driving you crazy, and how they make you feel bad. And you can’t help it. This isn’t an annoying boss you don’t like that you come home and vent about.
This would be someone whose presence has power over you all the time. You think about them and talk about them all the time because their impact on you is so strong.
#2 Your confidence is suffering. Usually, someone who is toxic in your life isn’t just bothering you on the surface, but they can dig into your psyche and self-esteem as well. If you were bubbly and confident, and being around this person has made you second guess yourself and be quieter, it is a good sign they aren’t healthy for you.
If you leave their presence feeling worse than before you saw them, that is another sign you need to stay away from someone. This toxic person can take you from being happy about a promotion to making you feel terrible in a matter of minutes.
#3 They judge you. This is a major sign someone is toxic and you should stay away from them, but it can easily be manipulated into seeming like care or concern for you. Don’t be fooled.
If you are celebrating good news in your life, this person will give reasons why it isn’t so great. They will say things to make you feel smaller or less proud of yourself. And if you are going through something and need comfort, they will compare your hard time to theirs by saying they’ve been through worse.
They will judge your behaviors and say they are just worried about you, when in fact they are trying to tear you down. This is a major sign of an adult bully.
They may not be brutally mean to your face like a childhood bully would, but they will be passive-aggressive about it.
#4 They only talk about themselves. Someone who has no ability to listen to you or talk about your life, is likely a narcissist. And although not all narcissists are horrible people from a distance, being in a friendship or a relationship with someone who only cares about their life and their world is not healthy for you.
Any relationship goes two ways, and if you need to vent or just talk, they always bring it back to their life. Even if you are talking about a new show you like, they will prevent you from continuing. They often won’t even let you get a word in.
This person is bringing nothing to your life. They offer no support, comfort, or even fun.
#5 Your history is the only thing keeping you around. These relationships aren’t usually new ones in our lives. The person you should stay away from isn’t someone you just met but someone you’ve likely known for a long time and that is what makes this so difficult.
Your history keeps you around. You used to be best friends or you’ve been dating for so long or they used to be better, and those things are what prevent you from leaving. It’s hard to say goodbye to something you’re familiar with, even if it’s bad for you.
You could hate your time with them, you could dread answering the phone when they call, and even know they are making you miserable, but leaving something comfortable is hard. If these are the reasons you’re not staying away from them, they don’t really balance out the bad parts.
#6 They make you angry more than they don’t. Everyone makes you angry. Your parents, your partner, and your friends can all push your buttons or annoy you, but you know they are worth having in your life because that isn’t a constant.
The people that make you want to punch a wall, be violent, or even scream when it’s completely out of character for you, are the ones that are causing this reaction. If someone’s presence in your life is making you upset more than it’s making you happy, you have every right to stay away from them.
#7 You’re not dealing with them in a healthy way. Yes, sometimes we have to deal with annoying people. Maybe someone at work drives you nuts, but you just have to deal with it. Or maybe your nosy neighbor is a pain in the butt. These things can be dealt with, but when someone’s impact on your life is making you act out, it has gone too far.
If you feel the need to drink, binge eat, or behave recklessly, to deal with the burden of having this person in your life, it is not healthy for you. Their presence in your life isn’t just an annoyance. It is seeping into other aspects of your life as well.
#8 They rub off on you. For those of us who may not be deeply self aware, someone toxic can rub off on you. If you don’t see the signs of a toxic person in your life, their toxic behavior could spread. You may not pick up on it at first, but others will.
Maybe this person constantly compares themselves to others, and you start doing the same. Maybe they gossip, spread rumors, or just say mean things about others. Instead of fighting back, you join their bad behavior because it seems easier than facing the truth, that you need to stay away from them for your own wellbeing.
#9 You don’t want to be around them. You dread seeing them. Or you don’t want to pick up the phone when they call. You are dying to cancel plans with them but something is stopping you. If you aren’t looking forward to seeing them or hearing from them, why have them in your life at all?
#10 There are no boundaries in your relationship. When you’ve known someone for a long time, boundaries can fade. Maybe you and your partner keep the door open when you use the bathroom, fine. But when losing boundaries becomes a problem, this could be a wildly unhealthy relationship.
If you have a friend that shows up at your house unannounced, invites themselves to date nights, or expects you to answer their calls at all hours of the night, that is crossing a line. Every relationship needs some level of space and independence and if there is none, it isn’t healthy for either of you.
#11 Everyone else notices. If other people in your life are noticing changes in you when you spend time with this person, hearing you constantly complain about them, or just see you lose energy because of their presence, it is definitely time to stay away from them.
This isn’t just a mild annoyance or someone you don’t like, their presence is invading other relationships and parts of your life and you deserve to be in control of how you feel and act.
How to stay away from someone
When you decide to stay away from someone, what does that entail? Are you cutting them out? Do you delete their number and never talk to them again? Not necessarily.
Staying away from someone could mean just avoiding them when you can. If it’s a friend or coworker that you’re staying away from, you could choose not to see them outside of work. You could maybe even unfollow them on social media. But giving them the cold shoulder would be immature.
In this case, you would stay away from them in situations that would bring you frustration or emotional fatigue. In a meeting or work event, you may need to interact with them. But keep that to a minimum of polite small talk, and that could be what you need.
Staying away from someone on social media
If you follow someone on social media that makes you feel bad about yourself just by seeing their photos, you unfollow them and it’s that simple. But with more deep connections like relationships and friendships, you’ll need to stay away from them in a way that works for you.
Staying away from someone close to you
It could be even worse for you to just cut out someone you’re close to, even if you know it’s best. In this case, having a conversation is ideal.
Let this person know what your relationship means to you, but that it is no longer good for your mental health. They may offer to work on their issues that are causing your distress. But if it’s can’t be fixed, you are letting them know you are distancing yourself from them.
Stay away, but do it right!
If you recognize the signs you should stay away from someone, and act on it correctly, you won’t be bombarded with texts or phone calls asking what happened. They will get some sort of closure and so will you. Think of this as a break up, and in some cases, it may very well be one. But, if you are in physical danger or are scared of this person, just cutting off all communication would be best for you.
Before all else, or the other person’s feelings, you do need to focus on your own mental health and wellbeing in all situations. You can’t be a good friend or partner if you have a relationship that is draining your energy.
Whether someone is truly a positive spark to your happiness or brings nothing positive to your life, it is your choice to stay away from them. And even though it may seem harsh, sometimes it has to be done in order for you to take care of yourself.
If you notice these signs you should stay away from someone, please don’t put it off. Your future self will thank you the sooner you do it.