Some people just aren’t nice – coping with toxic influences

If you’ve seen the title, you know the story. And honestly, it’s one I’m sorry that’s made it’s way over to my page, but I think we have to talk about it.

By toxic, I don’t mean people like murderes/rapists/terrorists, there’s a special place in hell reserved for them and for which toxic is too polite a word. By toxic, I mean people that have made their way into your life somehow but are rude/nasty/inconsiderate/controlling for reasons which seem bafflingly unclear to a relatively normal or sane person.

Toxic people are bullies whose behaviour is damaging and unacceptable. Their behaviour is not your fault, it’s their fault. Nobody should have to endure people like this. Buuuuuutttt….you can’t cut ’em all out of your life, sorry.

Because they’re everywhere, toxic people are unavoidable. I have  always had what I believed to be a fairly reasonable set of standards for people and friendship, sadly over the years I’ve come understand that my standards are in fact pretty high (not a bad thing) and my expectations had to lower. Sure you can minimise contact to an extent with toxic influences, but if they’re someone you deal with on your commute, in the workplace or a place you visit often, that makes things a wee bit more challenging. Much better I think, is to empower yourself by having the tools to deal with them.

Forewarned is forearmed. You’re likely to know who are the toxic people around you, so be aware of this and you have the chance to steel yourself for your next delightful encounter with them.

Take your time. You know the way person acts pushes your buttons which can make for a knee-jerk irrational response from you. Not only will that upset you, but you may come off as a bit of a dick in the process. Give yourself a little bit of time to think about what was said/done, calm down. It’s perfectly acceptable to politely excuse yourself from a room to prevent this and get some space if you need to.

Think. Does this person’s words/actions need a response? A lot of the time, it probably doesn’t. There’s no point telling them they’ve upset you because they won’t care or (worse still) that’s exactly what they want you to feel. Being dignified or silent makes far more noise.

Remember (this is the most important one). The words of toxic people do not mean shit. No, really. You don’t have to take criticism from somebody that you wouldn’t take advice from. Their words may be their (albeit warped) trust, but they’re not yours. Don’t accept them.

Someone always has your back. You have people in your life that are brilliant to be around. People that you would go to for advice, people who actively build you up with their words, people who you greet with a feeling of happiness rather than dread. Spend more time with or communicating with them, and remind yourself that this is what the majority of the world looks like.

If you have toxic influences you deal with on the daily, I’m sorry that you have to put up with that. They are the ones who are flawed and need to get better, so try not to be too bitter about their presence.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


Talk FOMO to me

This isn’t something you only experience as a kid, or a teen, or even as a young adult. Nope. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) can affect you at any age or stage in life.

I don’t think people fully appreciate how difficult this feeling is for somebody but, in extreme cases, FOMO has the capacity to be as harmful as any mental health condition. Not only can it breed feelings of anxiety or worthlessness, but it can also help them to grow if they’re already there.

I’ve often beaten myself up when experiencing FOMO and let the feeling really eat away at my insides – why didn’t they invite me? Do they hate me? What I do to make them hate me? And spend the rest of the day/night overanlysing every little thing I’ve done and said recently that may have warranted my exclusion from a social event. And in the digital age we live in, you find out pretty easily when people are somewhere you’re not.

So what do you do? Sit, wallow and hope you can work out how to be the delightful/funny/sassy person you need to get yourself an invite next time whilst tryna act all “I’m FINE” in public. People saw through that act in The One Where Ross Is Fine, and you’re not fine.

So, what should you do? Over the years I’ve learnt that if you have the tools to cope this will go a long way, but you have to use them committedly and consistently:

1. Reframe and retrain your brain. Tell yourself over and over “I don’t know the context of why I haven’t been invited. So and so could have wanted a private chat about something, they might’ve just bumped into each other, etc etc…” You just don’t know, and you might never know, so you can’t presume it’s a bad thing.

2. Do something. Call a family member, ring another friend and make plans with them. If you’re doing something, you’re not thinking about what you may be missing out on.

3. Embrace the JOMO (that’s Joy Of Missing Out). Quite different from the above but another tactic to consider. Ok, so you’re not out being a social butterfly, so why not embrace the time and indulge in a little self care. Pamper session with pizza and Netflix, a lazy wander round the shops, book a massage, maybe just retreat to bed for a nap and some trash tv. Whatever takes you to your happy place, do that and allow yourself to appreciate that you have the time to yourself.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not perfect and I do still have low moments where I cant help but let the FOMO in, but it happens less often and don’t last for very long. I don’t think I could ever fully embrace a JOMO state of mind, but having some strategies to deal with it (like any difficult situation) are a huge help. If you’re a FOMO sufferer too, I encourage you to try ’em out.

Thanks for reading,

J xx