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We all attempt to stay focused on what’s important to us in our lives. Time with family, exploring our passions, and exercising are all examples of some of the best uses of our time and emotional energies. The people in our lives can be our best allies and advocates in achieving our goals and aspirations. The decision on the quality of people that we surround ourselves with will ultimately create happiness or discord. Just like the potent and powerful affect positive people and healthy relationships have on us, inversely negative people and unhealthy relationships can be sources of much detriment.

Those negative people are weeds we need to pluck from our life to keep our gardens healthy.

The first example of the weeds are our drama queen friends. You’ll hear things like, “I always have a problem brewing in my life and you’re such a great friend for being there to hear me complain about it.” These types will be a constant drain on your positive energy.

The drama queens seem to be magnets for bad relationships. Additionally they always have issues that exist that make them unhealthy to be around. Do you really want someone close to you, your loved ones, and/or your goals that gets into legal, financial, or interpersonal trouble on a consistent basis?

We all have people like this that we have known for much of our lives. Sometimes those relationships are forged before we know that engaging with problematic people bring additional problems into our own lives.

You may give this person your time. You may expend intelligence capital helping them come up with creative solutions to their quandaries. Unfortunately for them, they are not going to take your well meaning and well thought out advice. They will just repeat the same cycle of mistakes, not learning from them, and continue to come to you to complain about their plight.

We will cut these people out of our lives!

Perhaps one day they will make enough positive progress like we have done in our own lives. Only then will they cease their incessant, destructive behavior. I believe that is unlikely, so keep them at an arm’s reach at most. Until we see evidence of consistent positivity and added value from our overly-dramatic acquaintance, they are just weeds sucking nutrients from the fertile garden that is our lives.

These negative drains exist in our network in all forms. They may be an old close friend. They could be a family member. These weeds are some of the most difficult to pluck out. We have family members, some close, some not as much, that choose to repeat their preset cycles of negative behaviors. One example of behavior to watch out for is the trashing of others who are out of earshot and are unable to defend themselves.

Another example of poor behavior is that they always have something to complain about. Similar to the above-mentioned drama queen friends this family member may say, “I’m sick,” or “I’m always in pain.” They don’t exercise, they don’t eat healthy, and they don’t do anything positive to break their self-destructive cycles. They just want your pity like it’s gold.

We may not be able to pluck out these weeds as easily as those energy leeching drama-queens.

We can limit our engagements by reducing time spent with them. We will make a point to talk to them less, or not at all. We can be pleasant when around them, but when they proceed to engage in this inevitable behavior we will just quietly walk away and go hang with some more pleasant family members.We will gain so much more from the positive, loving, and higher energy interactions with these people anyway.

If these negative family members even notice our absence or lack of interest they may confront us because they feel some internal gain from having new problems to complain about.

Do not become their target!

We are in the right as loving and value adding family members. If they ask what your deal is then let them know firmly, but gently that you are not interested in listening to their incessant complaining about others or their situations.

You will accomplish one of two things. Hopefully it will open the eyes of the offending family member to an issue they have they may not have even realized is occurring. It is possible that no one else may have been as honest with them due to fear of reciprocation or conflict. You are loving and letting them know what they are doing and how it makes us feel may be just the push they need. It may prompt them to begin the process of changing their behavioral pattern.

The second possible reaction they may have is the scarier of the two. They may become cold and distant because they are unwilling to accept the truth of what they are doing. If they want to continue being a weed instead of a flower then they are doing us all a favor in the end. Don’t fight the changes. They will make it easy for us because these types of people are threatened and scared of our powerful positivity and recent ongoing growth and improvement.

Another tougher example of weeds that pop up in our life’s garden can be our partners. I use the term partner to describe a lover. A lover who is guilty of these types of negative behaviors is no lover at all. They are potentially as much a hater.

Some say we find a match out of a beautiful and indescribable emotive pull. Others argue we only pair with another human being due to an evolutionary need to breed. The fact is nobody wants to be lonely. Everyone hopes that the person they pair up with will share similar interests. The things we care about and are passionate should hopefully be the same things that our partners care about and are passionate about as well.

Even good fruit and vegetables can go bad and spoil. Sometimes it’s not meant to be and the flame burns out. Sometimes it was never there to begin with and we trick our own selves to combat the loneliness.

When you come home from a long day at work or a day where you just went out into the world wandering and exploring your passions you’d hope when you return that your partner would want to hear about it. They should want to celebrate your wins and gains. They should want to be your support to lean on in your times of pain and failures.

Unfortunately sometimes we may come to learn that your partner truly isn’t capable of this. They just are not interested in your stories and needs. They are unwilling to reciprocate the positivity you attempt to bring into your relationship.

As Dan Savage had so eloquently stated in his Savage Love column, “DTMFA!” {1}

Or in the words of the immortal GURU from Gang Starr, “Ex girl to the next.

If your partner is more interested in watching Netflix or texting on their cell phone then communicating with you or having physical and emotional contact then they are not worthy of you. There is someone out there ambitious, energetic, and beautiful enough for each of us. I know this to be true. You will only have the opportunity to connect with this other person when you pluck that nasty weed from your garden.

Negative coworkers are another example of weeds that pop up in our lives. They can be extremely difficult to deal with. They can have an unpredictable effect on us internally. Additionally they can be damaging in their ability to influence our other coworkers, bosses, clientele, and network.

It’s best to recognize these types early. Don’t share more than is absolutely business crucial. Anything extra you give them may eventually become ammunition in their impossible, but ongoing quest to pull themselves up while bringing you down.

These coworkers will be fake and friendly to your face and then they will twist the knife right into your back at the first opportunity. We are stupid sometimes and try to give these people the benefit of the doubt and second chances at redemption. These awful coworkers cannot respect you. In fact, they do not respect themselves.

They are only treating us the way they feel about themselves on the inside.

Despite having this knowledge those weed coworkers are dangerous to us. Conflicts with them can lead to punitive measures, including our own termination. They will attempt to set you up to be the bad guy and will try to get other coworkers to side with them in effort to make you a pariah.

If you absolutely love your job and are passionate about doing it then it is possible to ignore and diffuse. I recommend keeping documentation and a paper trail with dates and details in case it ever comes down to you versus them. I personally have been in tight situations due to vicious workplace relationships I’ve had. Being the better performer will definitely help your case. However the maturity you handle the conflict with will inevitably provide an immensely better case for your side.

We approach our day with an energy and vigor that is helpful, yet competitive. We are high performers that sets boundaries. We set the value of our work through our behaviors. This is threatening to the bare minimalists as well as the losers that will not affect positive changes in their lives to get to a better and happier place. They are insecure, so they lash out.

Ignore them. Focus on what you have to do and do it. The negative coworkers get emotional and even attack, but remember to refrain from adding logs to their fire by responding in kind. Know your performance and actions will win the day. If it comes down to a them-or-me decision, and it does not play out in your favor then so be it.

We are worthy of remembering that there are better companies with better leadership and better coworkers out there that will be ecstatic to have us among their ranks.

Remember this important fact. You are a valuable commodity with marketable set of skills. There are plenty of fish and fish bowls in the world. If you work in a toxic environment where you are surrounded by weeds you are likely to become a weed as well if you stick around for too long. Don’t do it.

After friends, family, partners, and coworker weeds are cleared from your community garden the rest is a cake walk. You’re through the worst and have gotten reps at having the tough, but needed, conversations. From here stranger haters are easily disposed of by ignoring them. The less attention we pay them the less they will benefit from hating. It’s not as fun heckling someone who doesn’t respond or frankly just isn’t present to hear the heckling.

Competitive people in our lives can teeter between being worthy of our time and attention and being weeds. Stay on guard around competitive types. On one hand the competitive acquaintances create a drive within us to excel and succeed. They can provide an excellent push towards achievement.On the flip side they can cultivate feelings within us such as envy and an unhealthy desire for material items and pleasures. Just remember competition is good as long as it is friendly and healthy.

If a competitive person in our life brings out the worst in us then we need to pluck that weed out.

There are many types of weeds we can uncover and pluck from our networks. The last one I would like to expose is the addicts. Addiction is a serious mental illness that can affect so many people. Physical addictions such as drugs and alcohol as well as mental addictions such as gambling, porn, sex, money spending, and work can create black hole within lives. These are by far the worst type of weeds.

When an addict gets into a fight or gets arrested it will never be their own fault. It will always be due to what the other person involved in the confrontation has done or said. In their own warped perception of reality the addict was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Like the drama-queen friend and the negative family member, it’s most likely best to give up hope that they will come into the light. If we don’t we will just enable their detrimental life choices. The addict needs to learn and accept that positivity and positive change has to start within themselves. They cannot hope to move forward in this life if they expects others, specifically us, to do the work for them.

We cannot be certain that the addict has the presence of mind that our security and best interests would be their priority.

Cut the addicts out of your life completely. Sever this dead limb from your network and be prepared to cauterize the wound. Whenever you reach out to an addicted person they will throw it back in our faces. Being a victim has some weird value that exceeds the value of being accounted for in others’ lives.

I have two friends who are recovering drug addicts that I had to previously pluck from my life. Thankfully they have begun to prove through time and actions that they are moving forward and away from their demons. Trust is delicate. It is easy to ruin and difficult to recover from once violated.

I am very guarded in engagements with these friends. The capital I spend on these relationships is still less than it once was. As they continue to grow and flourish in life we may one day get back to the place we were before their addictions became more important than the love and relationships in their lives.

Plucking out the weeds sounds more difficult than it is in actuality. The weeds are already doing half the work for us. They are already not coming when we invite them to workouts, workshops, or any other growth-related activities we choose to attend. The red flags the weeds project make picking them out simple. From our end we just need to divest energy when they begin to create the void that is their negative energy.

When they start talking about their shitty job, change the subject. If they bring it back up, disengage the conversation entirely. If they reach out again via text or voicemail or if they get mad or become offensive towards you then you will recognize the value in not engaging.

We will expose the weeds for a person not worthy of our friendship, time, and energy. They are people who are not representative of our own value. They do not hold to the standard of who we choose to allow in our lives.

Few things send a message to the rest of the world or expose our own personal value than the quality of the company we keep.

Would you take an alcoholic friend to dinner at the house of the owner of the company you work for? Should you take that trashy, rude girlfriend home to meet your parents? Obviously not.

So remember, pluck the weeds out. Spend time, energy, and love on those worthy of it as opposed to the those who consistently drain the nutrients from our being. We will live a happier and healthier life by keeping positive company.

{1} “Dump the motherfucker already!”

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