People are who matter. Relationships are an amazing, wonderful blessing. They are rarely easy, but the sense of community they bring is important to our wellbeing and personal growth. At times, however, there are people in our lives and even in our inner circles who become a source of negative energy or worse.
When this happens, there are a few different choices you can make. One of these choices is to let go of toxic people. This is a tough decision, but it is sometimes necessary for our mental and emotional health. But… how do you go about ending relationships with those people who are no longer good for you? And how do you know if they are a toxic person?
How to Make a Decision to Let Go of Toxic People
Before you decide to cut someone out of your life, think long and hard as to whether this is indeed the right decision for you. It’s not a decision to take lightly, after all.
- Is the person in question a dangerous person, or can your issues be worked out?
- Are there repeated issues of danger, or is this a one-time thing?
- Do they play an important role in your life, or in the lives of your immediate family?
- Do this person’s actions threaten only you – or do they jeopardize the lives of others around you, too?
- Will your decision help or harm the people you love?
- Is there a possible way to work out the dispute? Don’t rush to any sudden decisions.
If this person engages in repeated, dangerous behavior – especially if it’s threatening to more than just you, it could be time to politely excuse this person from you and your family’s life.
How to Remove Toxic People From Your Life
Once you’ve decided it’s time to cut ties, there are several things to consider. Will you do so in an upfront manner? Or will you simply ghost them – never talking to them again and blocking all future communication attempts via the internet, phones, and social media?
While ghosting someone is the easier route, communicating with them is definitely the higher road. And who knows? Your setting of firm boundaries could inspire them to make life-changing and relationship-repairing decisions. Okay, probably not… but hey. It could happen.
Lay out your specific concerns to the individual in a respectful manner. Remember, just because you disagree with someone doesn’t automatically make them the party in the wrong. Speak calmly and act in a peaceful manner.
There is no reason to fly off the handle when you have decided you need to let someone go. Be mature and be kind. If need be, use some deep breathing relaxation techniques to stay in the moment without getting lost in the past, hurtful feelings.
Give Your Reasons
Assuming the individual in question has not been violent or abusive to you or your family in any way, you may want to let the person you are cutting ties with know why.
State your reasons for the decision and make your intentions clear. Use specific examples.
Cutting someone out of your life and refusing to discuss it can be very confusing and harmful to them, and to you. Giving an explanation will help you to become more effective at communication. And it could open the gates for repairing the relationship in the future.
Listen to Their Side
Cutting someone out of your life, especially someone close to you, is no easy decision. You may want to consider that you might have been acting rashly.
In any case, you may want to ask for their thoughts about your decision, if only to try and understand them and their feelings. If you do ask for their side, make sure you truly listen to what they have to say about it.
If you choose not to ask their feelings on the matter, that’s okay, too. Just remember that they will have feelings about it – and they’re probably not going to be pleasant ones.
Be Firm and Set Boundaries
If you have decided this is what you need to do, you will need to be firm. You will need to have pre-determined boundaries in place going forward.
It is difficult to hear that someone no longer wants you to be in their life, so expect the person you speak with to have strong feelings about the issue. If you have been harmed by this person, be especially firm and careful not to mislead them into thinking that there is a chance to be reunited if there isn’t.
Of course, you can change your mind in the future if you feel your decision was wrong. But don’t raise false expectations on the part of someone who is having a hard time letting go.
Know it Isn’t Easy
Making a decision to let go of toxic people takes a lot of thinking, and is not easy. Be sure to really think about this and plan your strategy in advance.
And one final thought? Be sure to pray for them – and yourself. Pray for healing, forgiveness, and understanding for all involved. After all, we’re advised to pray for our enemies – and those we love. It’s the first step towards healing ourselves – and the relationship rifts caused by the whole situation – even if we don’t reconcile with the toxic or abusive person in this lifetime.
- How to Come to Peace with the Different Seasons of Life – it’s not just a song, y’all. There are actually seasons to life.
- Enjoy Your Season of Life: the Parable of the Pear Tree – read this to get some good perspective on things.
- And when all else fails, make new friends by baking any of these chocolate chip cookies for them.