Spring Cleaning Your Relationships

By Stacey Nolan


Spring is a time of renewal, of new beginnings and fresh starts. Cleaning out the old to make room for the new! We do this with our homes, our offices and our physical spaces. But what about your relationships? Many of us hold onto negative and toxic relationships in our lives, professional and personal, for various reasons. It may be a family member to whom you feel obligated. Or a co-worker you have to see every day. While it may seem overwhelming to think of eliminating those relationships, you have to ask yourself, what are those toxic relationships adding to my life? If the answer is nothing, then it’s time for some spring cleaning.

“Just like any toxic thing—like food or poison—toxic people are extremely dangerous. They distract us from our positive or productive habits.” Tara Mackey, author of Cured by Nature and founder of The Organic Life

Here are 4 ways you can eliminate toxic relationships from your life.

1.    Listen to your gut.

We often second-guess ourselves, and allow others to influence how we feel. If your intuition is telling you this person is a negative presence, listen! Don’t let other people or social expectations convince you to remain in a negative relationship.

2.    Set Boundaries

You have to set firm boundaries. And only you are responsible for holding on to those boundaries. Toxic people are accustomed to ignoring conventional social boundaries. It’s your responsibility to shut that down.

3.    Be Clear

Be clear about your expectations.  Be sure to communicate firmly and clearly about the boundaries surrounding your relationship. If it is a co-worker, you can decide to only interact with that person at work, and only about work-related topics. It is not “mean” or “rude” to be clear and upfront about your interactions. You are being kind to yourself.

4.    Place your energy into productive projects and relationships.

Find a place to invest positive energy. Toxic relationships often take a lot of mental and emotional energy, albeit extremely negative. Find another project or relationship in which to put your focus. A new hire in your department whom you can mentor, or a non-profit organization with which you can volunteer would be a good place to start. Replace the negative with a positive. Life’s better that way.