Kick off 2017 by cutting out all those toxic people

Shunning gets a bad rap.

We all know people who definitely deserve to be shunned.

We all know people who are toxic and contribute nothing of value to either our personal lives or the community we live in.

I think 2017 is a good year to start shunning these people.

Who do I have in mind?

Well, let’s start with the spotlight-chasers.

As a reporter, I’ve dealt with these folks for nearly 18 years and they’re tiresome, not to mention annoying. These people always have to be the center of attention.

Whatever the event, whatever the issue, whatever the situation, the spotlight-chasers find a way to insert themselves and make it all about them.

If there’s a microphone around, they’ll grab it. If there’s a podium, they’ll seize it. If there’s a camera, they’re in front of it.

Spotlight-chasers always have some sort of a pretense to mask their boundless and blatant narcissism. They’re doing it for the good of the community . . . they’re fighting for what’s right . . . they just want to help . . . blah, blah, blah. Make no mistake, there are plenty of people who do things because they’re selfless, generous and kind, but that’s not the spotlight-chaser.

They do things because they need to feel important, they need to be seen as having the inside track, they need people to pat them on the back. They crave adulation and applause.

The best thing to do with spotlight-chasers is relegate them to the shadows where they will hopefully wither and die as their egos starve.

Another group that needs to shunned is the conflict-cravers.

Now, I’m not some filthy hippie who believes all conflict is bad. In fact, there are many instances when conflict is necessary, even beneficial, because it brings about reform, rights a wrong or protects life, liberty and property.

But some people thrive on conflict. They live for it. They fight just to fight because they have nothing else in their sad lives. They’re empty inside and the only thing that fills them up is lashing out at others.

Conflict-cravers are exhausting and tedious to deal with. They don’t respond to reason or facts or conciliatory gestures. They do whatever they can to twist things around and provoke more conflict.

The best thing to do with conflict-cravers is ignore them because eventually, they’ll get bored and go away. The worst thing you can do is fight back because they’ll feed on your every word, your every action, your every emotion. They’re like vampires.

Another group I have no love for are the people who believe it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

The 18th-century English poet Alexander Pope put it best when he wrote, “To err is human; to forgive, divine.”

But unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people out there who take advantage of others’ willingness to forgive.

They see it as a license to do whatever the hell they want with no repercussions. To them, forgiveness isn’t something noble or a virtue, it’s a weakness to be exploited for personal gain.

These folks have raised faking remorse and repentance to an art form. Bow your head, clasp your hands together, meekly mumble a few words about how we’re all God’s children, and if you’re really in trouble, manage to squeeze out a tear or two.

Preying on the forgiving nature of others to get what you want without first asking for it or following proper procedures is despicable and selfish.

How do you stop them? Consequences. Don’t forgive, don’t give in, don’t just let it slide. Punish consistently and effectively. Reserve forgiveness for those who deserve it, not those who abuse it.

Overall, I’m tired of seeing these three types of toxic people thrive. I’m tired of them infecting and infesting everything they touch and running roughshod over everyone in their path.

We all need to do a better job of recognizing these people for what they are, exposing them when necessary and in the end, cutting them out of our lives.

We’ll all be healthier for it.

Remember, the only power they have is the power we give them.

Take it away and they’re nothing.


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