Filtering The Filth

It might be cliche to say but no man is an island. We are social beings and we need human interaction and connection. The need for human interaction will vary with each individual. Each path taken on this journey called life; shapes each of us in different ways and unfortunately some of us become poisonous and toxic to others.

When people show you who they are, believe them.

Maya Angelou

The toxicity of someone is not readily apparent. But you can recognize the signs based on the things that are said – intentionally or unintentionally; the things that are done – intentionally or not and most importantly how people feel. This saying is very true – people will forget what you said, they will never forget how you made them feel. So have you ever spent anytime with someone and afterwards you felt exhausted; just utterly drained? You my friend suffered from toxic exposure. I want to share five tips that can help you filter the filth and protect yourself from exposure.

Spot ‘Em A Mile Away

Before you can filter, you have to know what you are filtering and why. According to Dr Travis Bradberry in his article 10 Toxic People You Should Avoid At All Costs there are 10 kinds of toxic people!! He talks about each kind and explains why they are different.  The signs vary and you have to be able to tell the difference between people who are annoying and those that are just toxic. You can spot the toxic people if they create drama, strife, conflict, unnecessary issues and most importantly stress. If each encounter with an with this person leaves you utterly stressed and emotionally drained – that is a toxic person and you should avoid or reduce how often you have to deal with them.

Be selective about your inner circle

Your inner circle should be made up of people who would take a bullet for you or give you a kidney. They should be your ride or die friends. If you can’t call them at 2am because you are in a crisis, then you need to reconsider their place in your circle.  Only special people should have access to that magical place. Exposing yourself to someone who means you no good is dangerous and increases your chances of becoming like them. Toxic people are destructive and are miserable! Allowing someone like that into your inner circle will only amplify issues in your own life and become emotionally draining.

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

Hans F Hansen

Become Emotionally Intelligent

Emotionally intelligence is the ability to identify different emotions and label them correctly. You can do this for yourself and others. To become emotionally intelligent requires great self awareness and does take practice. The benefit of this is, you are able to clearly express your emotions and handle your relationships with empathy and wisdom. As you improve daily, you will better recognize toxic people and their effect on you. This recognition will help you define and manage your relationships.

Avoid exposure

Avoiding toxic people is necessary to protect you from being poisoned and becoming toxic also. This might be difficult if these people are family, friends or colleagues. You can avoid toxic people by setting boundariesdistancing yourself and reducing communication. To set boundaries means to articulate what you are unwilling to tolerate during interactions with this person such as consistent complaining and negative talk. Be firm and explicitly express that you will not engage in such conversations and they are unappreciated. By setting boundaries, toxic people will know that you are not an enabler of their behavior, they may ignore your boundaries or they may respect them. Keep restating your boundaries and walk away from such  conversations until the message is received.  To distance  yourself means reducing your availability and accessibility. Become occupied with friends, family or colleagues who build and support you. You don’t need to offer an explanation. To reduce communication means to lessen the frequency and duration of contact time with the person. Lessen phone calls, messages, in person conversations, emails and social media. Avoidance may seem cowardly but it is necessary so you can maintain emotional health.


This becomes necessary if you deal with a toxic person. According to Dr Carmen Harra in 5 Ways to Detoxify From a Dysfunctional Relationship;  the goal of any relationship is to encourage an uplifting, nurturing, supportive and positive human connection.  Relationships that do the opposite should be avoided because they drain you of your energy and joy and rob you of your peace. To boost your spirits and restore emotional equilibrium you will need to do one or all of the following:

  • surround yourself with positive supportive people who can lift your spirits
  • do an activity you enjoy so that you can flood your body with endorphin
  • practice self care – which means getting a massage, getting a manicure, meditating anything where you are showing yourself some special attention and care.
Photo credit: Cozy This One 
Photo credit: "massage" (Public Domain) by Ayurvedic India
Photo credit: "Atrapada en la red" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Dani_vr