While the right people will always accept us for who we are, there are some behaviors we demonstrate that make it difficult for them to do so. Although busy schedules and changing priorities are the typical reasons for strained relationships, the negative ways we act through these relationships should also be considered when explaining our growing distance with people.
From always accusing your friends of excluding you from plans to constantly complaining about life to your coworkers, toxic behaviors drain everyone around you and consume every thought inside of you. Even though we blame lost connections on various reasons, the truth is that even the strongest relationships will struggle under the weight of destructive words and smothering expectations.
In spite of the guilt you may feel when looking back on your past actions, remind yourself that these flaws are what make you human and your ability to accept them is what makes you exceptional. To take control of your relationships (and become aware of your potentially negative habits in them), read further for the six behaviors that are pushing people away from you.
1. Taking things too personally
Life is hard — and taking everything that happens to heart will make it even harder. This habit tends to come in the form of basing your worth on how a situation turns out. For instance, your boss giving another coworker the assignment you wanted has to mean you’re not a good worker. Or your friend asking someone else for advice has to indicate you’re not a trusted friend.
Along with being destructive to the relationship, negative thinking is also detrimental to your self-esteem. The things that happen to you are not a direct reflection of you, and relying on the actions of others to decide your value is the key to unhappiness. Remember — you’re the only person in power of your thoughts and can be the only person to protect them.
- Take a step back and consider who the person is to you
- Avoid jumping to conclusions
- Try to see the situation from the perspective of the other person
- If the issue needs to be confronted, prepare beforehand and approach it with a clear head
2. Continuously being jealous
A little jealousy is good for motivation, but a lot of it is bad for everything else. While the natural feeling of jealousy can push people to become better, the constant feeling of it is the reason why people become pushed away.
It’s not unusual to assume that we all want individuals in our lives who support us — and it’s understandable that those you’re jealous of feel anything but your support. Whether your envy is due to your cousin’s acceptance into nursing school or your little sister’s successful love life, the trait of jealousy makes the person who feels it just as uncomfortable as those who notice it.
- Be honest with yourself and consider where your jealousy stems from
- Create a list of things in your life that you’re happy about
- Turn your jealousy into fuel to improve as a person
- Contact a trusted loved one to discuss your feelings
3. Needing constant validation
Similar to taking things too personally, the issue with needing constant validation is that it once again allows someone else to define how great we are. The more you rely on people to approve of you, the harder it becomes to find your sense of self to truly BE you.
Although the way we’re perceived to others matters to an extent, your entire well-being isn’t based off your reputation, and the amount of comments you have on your newest social media post doesn’t prove how loved you are. When it comes down to it, your wish to feel accepted and loved depends on how you feel about yourself — instead of how you think other people feel about you.
- Make an effort to take time to grow as a person (find a new hobby, unplug from the online world, master a skill, etc.)
- Differentiate and focus on the tasks that are important to you — instead of the ones that are simply approval-seeking
- Recognize when you feel yourself depending on others for reassurance and take it upon yourself to filter these toxic thoughts
4. Not accepting constructive criticism
We aren’t perfect, and that’s what makes us human. With the pain that comes from acknowledging our flaws is the strength it took in order to get to that point. Although there are people who have no issue with receiving advice, the weaknesses of others is their inability to do so.
By refusing to accept critiques, you not only hinder your potential of improving as a person, but could also unintentionally make people feel as though they have to walk on eggshells around you. Overall, the success of every type of relationship depends on communication skills, and your willingness to accept both positive and negative feedback will strengthen yours.
- Realize that the criticism comes from a good place and that the person is trying to be helpful
- Consider the entire situation and context of the conversation before reacting defensively
- Be mindful of your body language while receiving the critiques
- Truly listen to what’s being said and deem if changes should be made
5. Always acting like the victim
The world isn’t out to destroy you, but thinking it is could be why people seem to need space. From hiding under a handful of excuses for why you can’t apply for a job you want to listing off a number of reasons for why the wrong partners keep finding you, your problems are endless and your complaints take away your power to do anything about them.
If this scenario sounds all too familiar to you, your tendency to play the victim may be the reason why you always feel like one. While there are many aspects of our lives that we can’t control, the negative and helpless attitude you have is what’s controlling your mentality of taking action and stopping your progress of moving forward.
- Allow yourself to feel sad/overwhelmed, and then make plans to do something about it
- Stop yourself when you begin to blame others for your misfortunes
- Believe that you can take steps to fix the situation — regardless of if what happened is out of your hands
6. Gossiping about others
The positive people you’re hoping for in your life aren’t receiving pleasure from speaking negatively about other people, and neither should you. Sure, it’s impossible to take gossip out of every conversation, but the reason for the conversation doesn’t need to revolve around putting others down and sharing judgmental opinions in an attempt to feel better about ourselves.
Through focusing on your own goals and cheering on those who are doing the same, you’ll soon realize that you don’t have the time to gossip about what other people are doing — because you’re too busy doing important things yourself.
- Stay quiet or state that you’re not interested in gossiping
- Pinpoint the underlying issue of why you’re gossiping
- Attempt to change the subject
- Say something nice about the subject of gossip in place of participating