I once wrote this post called 5 Signs You are Being Treated Like a Doormat…and it got people thinking.  Who is using them and what were the signs (have a look over there if for some reason you aren’t sure if that is you, but because you are reading this, I bet you are ready to move on).

I first want to expand on the word friend for a minute.  It is true, there are people we occasionally surround ourselves with who do not have our best interests at heart.  This definition cracks me up, so I want to look at it from Merriam-Webster.

1a : one attached to another by affection or esteem She’s my best friend.

2a : one that is not hostile Is he a friend or an enemy?

So first you have to be clear on who you are dealing with, is it a true friend who is walking all over you or perhaps an enemy?  Someone hostile?

Once you have established that, ask yourself, seriously, what qualities would you want in a good friend?  I can tell you a few of mine to help you think about it.

  • They have integrity.  I once stayed friends with someone out of a sense of loyalty…and she has zero integrity.  It really bothered me, yet I stayed friends with her because I thought it was “complicated” to get out of the friendship even though some of her choices were very questionable.
  • They are honest.  You have to be clear here on what you consider honesty.  I am very clear that lying to me is the worst thing someone can do…and lying to others in the friendship as well.  It is not cool to be the friend who knows an awful secret that would potentially break up someone’s marriage.  It feels like you are being set-up and you then carry the guilt (if you are like me).  It messes with your head.
  • They don’t try to push you into their beliefs. Again, if you have said that you feel a certain way about something and they are constantly bringing up a touchy subject AND trying to change your views or beliefs, ask yourself why they are doing this to you?
  • They respect you and value you.  This one shouldn’t need an explanation, but the truth is, I never felt respected or valued in that friendship.  I felt used…and I was to blame for not walking away faster.
  • They believe in you...and are the first one to cheer for you.  One sure sign that a friend of mine was using me, walking on me, and only wanted to talk to me when things were bad, was when things were NOT bad.  When things were actually good.  There was zero, and I mean zero enthusiasm from her when I actually lost weight, finished yoga teacher training and started feeling better than I had in years.  Crickets.

So to change, you must first assess what isn’t working.  As you can see, I clearly knew things were not working.  In the case that it is not a friend, and it is a work acquaintance or family member, same theory applies.  What do you value?  What have you said before is off-limits to talk about or pressure you about?

Write out a long list of what you want.  For me it might be something like this:

  • Find people who believe and inspire me.  Talk to them about what inspires them to be better.  You can even do this with people at work.  Weed out people who drift towards you only to pull you down from thinking you are not enough, you won’t get that raise, or who want to use your ideas to advance their careers.
  • Decide who really is in your inner circle.  Seriously.  Who do you trust enough to call at midnight and they would totally be there for you?  They would actually give you sound advice and not try to walk all over you or use you even in crisis or time of need.
  • It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.  A positive inner circle will say hey…maybe, just maybe you should work on that.  The “that” is the thing you are struggling with most, and you are definitely avoiding working on it like you are playing don’t step in the lava and you are using the couches to wade through life so you don’t step in it.

Once your values are clear, and you know where you stand, look at who possibly needs to move out of the inner circle, and perhaps needs to go to ohhhh say, I don’t know, Antarctica circle for a while.  These are the people you can limit having sway over you.  I don’t mean you won’t have to see them (especially if you work with them, live with them as family, or are near them), but I want you to consider your values list when they say things that walk all over you and your boundaries.

Once you start standing up for yourself because your values are clear, decisions are easier.  << I did not say that first, it was a great quote I wrote in my journal around this.  It has been attributed to several different people.  So write out, decisions are easy when values are clear.  << That’s from a month in my online journaling Club.  << We did a whole chat around toxic people.

I know this seems like a simple exercise, but it’s one of the hardest things you will ever do.  Decide what you will and will not allow in your life right now.  Don’t go forward into the next year with this old nonsense, this baggage, these people who clearly do not value you or what you stand for.

If you need help around this, and would like some serious, and I do mean serious help around changing your toxic circle, you can book a chat with me this week.  To be crystal clear, this is private coaching, and you will have to complete an application to see if we are a good fit, so >>  here is the schedule and form.

One of the best things you can do for yourself, is invest in a mentor.  A champion who truly wants the best for you and who you can trust in your inner circle.  For the 10 reasons why my clients trust me, << read this, and thank you for being here.  Feel free to pin this to your Pinterest boards to read again as needed.

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