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How to tell if your friends are the reason you’re not thriving

Don't live life carrying the consequences of toxic engagements. It's time to clean up our lives of the toxic people who are killing our hearts.

Identifying the toxic people in your life and what to do about them. 

Have you ever noticed that when you are around certain people that you feel off?

You cannot put your finger on it, but you know something is different.

Your whole vibe changed.

You no longer feel upbeat. Then you realize that you are fighting with some deep emotional stuff. Anger, irritation, frustration, and all sorts of emotions begin to show up.

Then a realization happens. 

You realize that you were happy until you came in contact with this one person.

This type of person is toxic to your emotional health.

The subconscious knew it. Your soul knew it. Even your heart knew it. Your mind may not have come to the conclusion that this person is toxic to you.

Wouldn’t you like to identify the toxic people in your life and know what to do with them?

Don't live life carrying the consequences of toxic engagements. It's time to clean up our lives of the toxic people who are killing our hearts.

Toxic people can be cancerous to you.

The longer they remain in your life the more damage they cause.

[bctt tweet=”Just as cancer destroys the body a toxic person can destroy you emotionally. #emotionalslide #fightforhealth” username=”jim_Burgoon”]

When you get around them you feel angry, sad, fatigued, and/or emotionally drained.

Now before you take offense. 

If you are thinking that this blog is about you, or that I am being unloving, let me challenge you with something.

We all have a level of toxicity. 


We are all emotionally damaged.

Not all damaged people are toxic.


Many people become toxic because they ignore their damaged parts of their lives. 

Adding more damage to what is already there. Never working through the original damage.

All that emotional damage begins to drain the life out of you.

Then you become a shell of your former emotional self.

Then, before you realize it, you are bitter and isolated. Ready to jump on anyone who offends your sensibility.


[bctt tweet=”People who have been emotionally unhealthy for a long time become toxic. #toxicpeople #dontletithappen” username=”jim_Burgoon”]

If you refuse to work on your emotional health you could become toxic.

[bctt tweet=”The longer you allow your damage to fester the more poisonous it becomes. #soulcare” username=”jim_Burgoon”]

When you spend time with toxic people you will be emotionally drained trying to help them. 

If I am trying to fight for my emotional health then I have to be careful and cautious on who I let into my life. I have to be careful with who I try to help. 

It is time to decide if you are healthy enough to carry someone else.

Honesty time: 

I can to pray for everyone, but I cannot help everyone.

Although I try to help everyone I have to realize that I cannot. I also have to realize that those I am trying to help may be hurting me more than I am helping them.

In the fight for my emotional health, I have to decide who I allow into my life.

I have to also judge what access I give them to my life. 

We are all given a choice of who we spend our time with.  Who we give our lives to.

We have to pick who our inner circle is wisely.

This single choice could be the pathway to our freedom or the pathway to our downfall.

Hans F. Hansen once said,

“People inspire you or they drain you. Pick them wisely.” 

The cold hard truth:

We allow the wrong people access to the deepest part of who we are.

So how do you know that you may be dealing with a toxic person?

1. You dread being around them.

One of the sure signs that you are interacting with a toxic person is that you dread being around them. You avoid making plans with them. When you do make plans they are for shorter periods of time. Fear of being around them drives your interactions with them. Your palms sweat, the heart races, and your mind starts creating vain imaginations.

All signs of fear and dread of being around this person.

The greater the dread the more likely you are dealing with a toxic person. 

2. You have a physical or emotional response whenever you interact with them.

I remember this one individual. Every time I was in their proximity my heart would race. My palms would start sweating. I would develop a headache.  Worst of all, I would shut down emotionally. All the symptoms of increased stress. This wasn’t an isolated incident.

It happened every time. 

A one-time incident doesn’t equate to toxic interactions. Every time does. 

3. You’re exhausted or angry after interacting with them.

It takes a lot of energy to be around people that drain you. It costs a lot of time and energy when that person creates emotional and mental stress.

One telltale sign that you are engaging with a toxic individual is how you feel after the interaction.

If you leave worse off that you showed up then you are liekly engaging with a toxic person.  

4.   You feel bad about yourself.

This is a big one for me. I would dread being around this person. Having a physical and emotional response to the stress.  I became angry after an interaction with them.

Then I would feel terrible about myself.  

I thought that I was awful for feeling this way. Felling like I wasn’t a good person. I felt like I had failed people. Living under that weight of thinkg that I had failed Jesus.

Then I realized something.  

My emotional tank was drained from my interactions. 

My own insecurities started to overtake my emotional health. 

What do I do now?

Remember these tips when interacting with people who may be toxic

Not everyone is toxic.

So don’t judge people based on your insecurities. Sometimes what we believe to be toxic is just someone living a life and trying to make it. Be kind to them.

You must limit your time with toxic people or remove them all together.

Your own emotional health is at stake.

The more we hang around toxic people the more toxic we become. 

So to guard my own emotional health I have to either limit my time or cut my relationship ties with them.

Until you let go of all the toxic people in your life, you will never grow into your fullest potential. Let them go so you can grow.

A weed will kill a plant. Drain it of nutrients. Be healthy. Be the best version of you that you can be.

Letting go of negative, and toxic, people doesn’t mean you hate them. It just means that you love yourself more.

Dr. Steve Maraboli said it this way,

“Let go of people who dull your shine, poison your spirit, and bring you drama. Cancel your subscription to their issues.”

[bctt tweet=”Stop being afraid to hurt everyones feelings and start fighting for your health. #fightstrong #freedom” username=”jim_Burgoon”]

Sometimes you have to hurt someone’s feelings to focus on your own. learn to be ok with that. Your goal is to be healthy not become toxic.

Run from the toxic and run to health.

One truth that I have learned in my experience is that no one is toxic to everyone, but we all are toxic to someone.

The bottom line: You love everyone, but you only spend time with some.

[bctt tweet=”Live well. Live healed. Live on. #livefortoday #livingforfreedom” username=”jim_Burgoon”]

Join the conversation:

How have you discovered if a person is toxic in your life? What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with this topic?

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About the Author Jim

  • Crystal Gard says:

    It can be so hard to accept if a friend is why you aren’t thriving.

  • Joanna says:

    Hello. Thank you for that interesting and helpful post. Unfortunately I know many toxic people and must deal with them on a daily basis but now I will know what to do with it.

  • I’ve let go of friends in the past just because they are no longer making me feel emotionally safe. It feels like sometimes all they want is to drag you down and I am never game for that kind of struggle especially for people who are supposed to be my friends. There are also those that have grown in a separate direction, not necessarily toxic but we just end up clashing with one another. Thanks for the good read!

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for joining the conversation. I think you bring up a great point. Sometimes we just seperate from people. It isn’t because they are toxic. It is because they are just heading in a seperate direction. I love that point. Thank you for making it. I will pray for you! That you will continue to push towards health!

  • Our Family World says:

    This post raises a lot of good points, and little snippets of facts about human psychology as well. However, it would also be a good idea to try bringing it on the other side and think if we are being toxic to other people as well.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for joining the conversation! I agree, but I didn’t feel like I could give it due justice by adding it to this post. I planned the entire month of Jan to discuss this topic. I am going to talk about healing from toxic relationships, what makes us toxic, and what you can do to create a healthy lifestyle. I wanted to spread the concept over several smaller blogs vs. 1 extremely large one 🙂 Thank you for the input.

  • TColeman says:

    This has been something that I have been struggling with lately. I have people in my life that I love dearly but I feel like they are holding me back from my true potential.

    • Jim says:

      The closer the relationship the greater the struggle. When you realize that your loved ones could be the reason you are not moving forward there are a few things you can do. First, you can set distance and space. Limit time to work through your pain. Second, set proper boundaries. With proper boundaries (communicated well) you can have a line of defense that will allow you to exit a situation gracefully while maintaining your health. Finally, learn to give yourself persmission to heal. There are a number of things you can do. I hope you stop by next Friday for my next article on how to heal from a toxic encounter.

  • Robin Rue says:

    This is something that a lot of people don’t realize sometimes until it’s too late. These are great indicators.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for joining the conversation! You are right on. There are times that we don’t realize something until it’s too late. With knowing the indicators, constant evaluation, and a vigilent heart we can discern things quicker!

  • This is true. I have lost a few friends before in the past just because I felt they were bringing me down. It’s sad but sometimes you just need to cut them all out and make life better for yourself.

    Marie T- Divine

    • Jim says:

      I can be heartbreaking at times when you have to cut people out of your life. In these times I look at long term gain vs short term pain. I realize that people will come in and out of my life. When I do the hard things of fighting for my health I then have to realize that I have to be intential about things. So there will be people that I intentionally exit from my life. It doesn’t make it easy, but the short term pain will end. All that I will have left is the long term emotional health that I gained! Thank you for joining the conversation.

  • Urvi says:

    I didn’t know the word, toxic people. But I definitely experience this lately. I don’t know why I am off beat sometimes, it never happened with me before. Love your post.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for joinging the conversation! Sometimes we experience things and cannot put a name to it. I am glad that the article helped you define what you are experiencing. May future posts help you heal from the effects on your emotional health.

  • Ugh, I definitely have a couple of friends like this. And they aren’t bad people by any means! They just thrive on negativity and are constantly complaining rather than doing anything to change their circumstances. It makes me feel like a bad friend, and their bad moods always make me feel irritable and more prone to dwelling on the not-so-great aspects of my own life. Since I don’t think they are going to change anytime soon, I just try to limit my time with those friends, ha.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for joining the conversation! One of the hardtest things I have done was to limit a friend. This particular person brought the worse out of me. Whenever I spent time with them I would leave drained, angry, and often times insecure. Then there came a point when I decided to stop making myself go to that place. That was the healthiest decision I made. I agree with you. Just because they are toxic to you does not mean that they are bad people. It just means that they are continually living through their hurt.

  • Elizabeth O. says:

    This makes a lot of sense. I think it’s important to analyze the people in your life and check if they’re doing good for you or if they have been nothing but toxic. Of course not all people are toxic, some just change and no longer have the same views as you. But it’s nice to know when to let go and when to hold on to the people around you.

    • Jim says:

      You make a great point. That constant evaluation is key to living an emotionally healthy lifestyle. I like how you mentioned that sometime people no longer have the same views as you. That is powerful. We cannot automatically assume everyone is toxic. However, we can realize that people grow and mature and that life may take us in a different direction. That is ok as well! Thank you for joining the conversation!

  • All the time! I had to get rid of many toxic people because of this, they can have such a damaging impact on your mood and make you doubt yourself when you shouldn’t. They are like leeches.

    • Jim says:

      You are right. They can have do so much damage to you if you allow them. I am happy to hear that you are fighting for your emotional health! Thank you for joining the conversation!

  • Tina says:

    I think 2017 should be the year that I finally remove negativity out of my life because this post was so inspiring. I agree with the things you said about emotions and toxicity. I feel as though hanging around toxic people while you are trying to build yourself up is so harmful to ourselves. There are times when I’m really happy and then I come in contact with certain people and it’s okay for a bit but it never stays just okay. It’s so hard when you have toxic friends because you see the good in them as well and that’s the part you like the most. Because of this good my friends have, I don’t end our friendship. But maybe in 2017 I’ll start hanging around toxic people less so that I can be happier.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for sharing this. I appreciate your thoughts and your heart. Deciding to remove toxic things and people from your life is a great start towards your emotional health. Let your heart yell 2 words. Health and Freedom! 2017 will be the best year of your life. I suggest that you make some goals. Goals will help You can check out my article on goal making http://www.jimburgoon.org/resolution Next week, I am going to talk about healing from toxic realtionships. I Hope you can check in. I think it will really help you on your journey.

  • Caitlin says:

    Life is far too short to spend it with people who make you feel badly about yourself. Great piece.

  • Amanda says:

    What do you do when you know the person who is toxic in your life is your mother? I feel quite guilty even admitting it, but she really is the one who makes me feel all those things. Now she’s in her 70’s and I’m the only one of our siblings living near our parents it means I have to spend time with her.

    • Jim says:

      That is an incredibly important question. There is something very powerful when you learn how to place proper boundaries. For example: When someone in my family started saying very hurtful things to me (from a toxic place) I politely ended the conversation. After I ended the conversation I put space and distance between us. This was only a short period of time, but it was long enough to allow her to cool off and calm down. One of my boundaries, that I shared with her later, was that I will not allow her to talk to me in a manner that tears me down. It took a few years, but now she is at a place where she is ok with me letting her know she is coming close to the boundary. That is just one example. I’d love to further the conversation. Reach out to me at [email protected]

  • Chi Le says:

    What a great post! Good to know about the ways to move away from toxic people. 99 per cent sure that we’re often shaped by the way we’re surrounded with other people.

    • Jim says:

      If you are interested, next week I am going to be write about how to heal from these realtionships. Thank you for joining the conversation!

  • This really applies to the digital world too. Digital friends can be even more toxic and negative. Luckily it’s easier to get rid of bad online people, but still very important.

    • Jim says:

      If there was a drop mic emoji (That I knew about) I would so use it right now! Thank you for saying that! I think the digital world gives all of us (healthy and unhealthy) a huge platform with a huge voice. We have to be ever vigilant if we are going to fight for our health. Thank you for saying thins! Thank you for joining in on the conversation.

  • It’s extremely important to find and remove such toxic people from our life. Luckily I don’t have such people around!
    Thanks for sharing.

  • CourtneyLynne says:

    Omg love this!!!! Last year I gut rid of all the “friends” not adding positivity to my life and honestly life has never been better!!! That negative energy definitely spreads so you need to get rid of those people!

    • Jim says:

      Right on! I love your positive energy! The feeling of joy you feel when you begin to clean up your life is amazing. I hope you’ll check back next Friday. I am going to be talking about healing from toxic relationships. Thank you for joining the conversation 🙂 !!!

  • What a great post! My wife has been dealing with this a lot lately, feeling so stretched and drained from trying to help so many people. It’s so true that if you don’t start setting up healthy boundaries and quick, you will be drained very quickly! Thanks for the very informative, on point, although a little lengthy read!

    • Jim says:

      My wife often tells me that I have to learn to stop talking at some point. 🙂 I appreciate your words and am blessed that you were able to draw from it. If you are interested I am going to be spending the rest of Jan talking about this subject. Next week I am going to delve into how to find healing from a toxic relationship. Thank you for joining the conversation!

  • I’ve given up a lot a people since having a kid. When your time is precious and limited, you really find out who you want to spend your time with! Thanks for sharing this.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for joining the conversation. 🙂 I love what you have to say. Kids definately make life interesting. After my girls were born I found that a lot of my relationships slowly drifted away. With limited time I have to be very deliberate about who I spend time with. Loving your thoughts!

  • I people can build each other up or drag each other down. Its very important to surround ourselves with non toxic people and work on not being a toxic person as well.

    • Jim says:

      You have captured the essence of this article! I think you have said something very important as well. You have to work on not being a toxic person as well. The resonates with me to the core. We are always quick to blame others, but slow to take responsibility. Thank you for sharing that!

    • Jim says:

      You have captured the essence of this article! I think you have said something very important as well. You have to work on not being a toxic person as well. The resonates with me to the core. We are always quick to blame others, but slow to take responsibility. Thank you for sharing that!

  • I had to leave a group of “friends” behind because they were toxic. my life motto is “if it doesn’t serve or support me, it’s gone” and it applies to everything from the stuff in my house to the relationships in my life!

    • Jim says:

      I wish my wife would allow me to have that attitude with the house! If you haven’t worn it in 6 months it should go! As for life, I am still working on creating a healthy series of friendships. Thank you for joining the conversation. 🙂

  • Brittany says:

    This is so good, and just what I needed to hear right now. Thank you for sharing!

  • Veronica says:

    Luckily I don’t have these kinds of friends and I’m very happy about that! Very good written!

    • Jim says:

      there are times in my life when I have them and times in my life when I don’t. However, when I do have toxic people in my life I have learned to place proper boundaries. I am always trying to grow through and heal from my hurts. Thank you for joining the conversation.

  • Fi Morrison says:

    This is such a great post – I agree with everything in here. I’ve always believed that there are people who drain you of your energy, that there are some people who to them YOU are draining, and then there are people who are a happy mix of helping (and occasionally draining) each other, and they’re the people to be around!

    • Jim says:

      You are spot on!! Thank you for taking the time to join the conversation. I love how you mentioned that the best people to be around are the ones who a happy mix. What a great statement.

  • lauren says:

    I completely agree with this thought…I have never seen it explained so well. I am saving this post and sharing it…Also, just subscribed to you!



  • Amber Myers says:

    I had to let go of a toxic person. It hurt, but I knew my life would be better in the end–and sure enough, it was!

  • Negative friends can drag you down. Thanks for the open and honest post!

    <3 http://alpluslex.com/

  • I’m currently in the process of limiting (or removing) toxic people in my own life, and this just made it that much easier to do. I especially liked the way you compared dealing with toxic people to being a plant suffocated by a weed – that one really stood out for me.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for joining the conversation! I am blessed to hear that this post has helped you so! Throughout the rest of Jan I am going to be writing more about this topic. Next week I am going to talk about how to detox (heal) from these relationships. I hope you can catch those. Thank you for your kindness! My prayers are for you in this journey.

  • This is such a helpful tips! We face with toxic people in different walk of life. It’s very hard to ignore them but one thing I learned is to treat what they say like an “Indian rubber ball” (figure of speech). Agreed to keeping distance is a good way to keep some toxic people at bay.

  • I had to cut out a toxic friend this past year and it about killed me. I love her dearly, but she was really dragging me down and keeping me from growing.

    • Jim says:

      I am right with you! I am very loyal to the people in my life. It hurts me very deeply when I have to exit someone from my life. However,I realize that some will cause you to fall back into an unhealthy state. I have had to focus on my own emotional health. Thus, some people in my life no longer had a place there. I try to help who I can, but I have had to learn that it is ok to let someone go. Thank you for joining the conversation!

  • It’s always hard to let go of people that you’ve invested so much time, energy, and love in. Yet, at the same time, as I’ve grown older, I realize not everyone is in your life to stay there forever.

    • Jim says:

      You are so right! It has taken me a long time to come to the same realization. I use to think everyone was forever friends, but not I know that some people are only seasonal. I had to learn to be ok wth that. Thank you for your thoughts and joining the conversation!

  • Kristin says:

    Love this! It’s extremely motivating as I’m dealing with some “toxic” people in my life right now. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for your kind words! I would suggest that you subscribe. The rest of Jan I will be focusing on toxic relationships and how to heal from them! 🙂

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