What kind of people are we surrounded by?

We all have a need to socialize with others. We spend most of our time socializing, enjoying the exchange of thinking, discussing different subjects and sharing our everyday activities. However, have we ever asked ourselves what is the quality of the conversation we have with others? Are these conversations fulfilling or are they draining us? And do they contribute to our development or are they  getting us further away from it?

Our friends are our mirrors

We choose who we are friends with. Even though most of the time we don’t choose our friends consciously, there is a reason we are friends with certain people: common interests, some compatible characteristics, similar worldview, a chance for them to learn something from us and for us to learn something from them… We can tell a lot about ourselves by the people we are surrounded by. What we need to ask ourselves is why are we friends with these certain people? What were the circumstances when we became friendly with them? What are their characteristics that bothers us? Are they the same characteristics that we don’t love about ourselves and that we want to change? What is it that we love about them? Is it the the same virtues we posses or the characteristics that we would like to posses?

Photography: Vladimir Tomić

Negative people drain our energy

I don’t know if you have had a similar experience like me, but for a certain period I was attracting a lot of negative people in my life, without even noticing it. Our conversation would sound something like this: We would meet up to have coffee and in the next hour or two I would listen to my friend complaining about life, others, work, her boyfriend… Because, I cared about her I would always empathize with her stories and try to give her some advice, which she would always respond to with: “Yes, but…” and would explain to me why my advice isn’t good. When I would come home after, I would always feel drained and in a bad mood. And when we see each other every time the same story would repeat itself.

There is a phrase that is used for these kinds of people, who are always negatively inclined and always complaining about something, they are called “energy vampires”. Being in their company is harmful for two reasons. First, they drain our energy and after a conversation with them we feel like a squeezed out lemon. Second, their negative programs can transfer on to us, if we are not highly aware of them, so if we continue seeing people like this over a long period of time we can start seeing the world through their eyes. These vampires can be our friends, relatives, parents, partner…

We are responsible for the quality of our experiences

When we notice that we are attracting negative people into our life, we need to ask ourselves why is that. When I asked myself this question, I came to an defeating conclusion. In that period of time I needed someone I can complain about all the troubles of my life, because I wasn’t ready to take on the responsibility for it. By giving advice to others, I felt better because I had an impression I was doing something (but actually I wasn’t doing anything except reinforcing the role of victim for myself and my friend).

When we consciously stop playing the role of a victim we can then try and help the person we care about by asking them if the situation they are in suits them or not. If not, we can then ask them what did they do to change it. If they didn’t do anything to change it and if we can see that they are willing to do something about it, then we can try and together with them consider all of the possibilities to solve it or we can refer them to someone that can be of real help or has more experience with this kind of problem. If they are not yet willing to take responsibility for their life or they just need a companion to complain about all the injustices in life, we can then just politely ask them to change the topic, and that when communicating with us to find some other positive subjects to talk about.

It is really important to know that we can’t change the negative people unless they want to change and that we are not responsible for the quality of  their experience. We are only responsible for the quality of our own experience and for the quality time we spend with someone.

Author: Ana