Our relationships are definitely a crucial and big part of our lives.
In fact, the quality of our relationship directly correlates with how much we enjoy life in general. This implies that a huge part of our unhappiness can also be traced to our relationships. (Including relationships with ourselves.)
An article on the study on Social Relationships and Health* observed that maintaining these “healthy” social connections can reduce your risk of mental and physical health problems (like anxiety, and depression), and even lengthen your lifespan.
But the world is not a perfect place. It can be rare to find someone who has all their interests, values, and goals perfectly aligned with yours. And we are imperfect ourselves, so we often keep looking for people who are “compatible” with us.
Those who are – despite the minor differences – provide us with emotional support, stand by us, and encourage us to pursue our interests. Such people are what is termed the "right company." They are great to have.
However, sometimes we find ourselves without a lot of people to depend on. We get lonely. And maybe to stem that loneliness, we turn to people who are definitely not good for us.
But it seems better than being alone, right?
No judgment, if going for dinner with an acquaintance who constantly interrupts you eases your troubles, then go for it! But sometimes, it really is better to spend time alone than with people who may not be worthy of your company. Here's a few common types.
It's better to stand alone and feel strong than standing with people who make you feel weak— Steven Aitchison
Sometimes in life, you may not always have the right people around you to support, or serve as a safe space for you. But allowing this loneliness to push you into the wrong company can make you feel even worse!
Here are some things to remember about people who may want to hang out with you, but don't have your best interests in mind.
The wrong company will waste your time and energy with unimportant nonsense.
You may find that they undermine what you do, and in trying your best to make them understand what you are passionate about, you end up exhausting yourself, with little results. Because they are not interested in you or what you do; they don’t even have the intention of cheering you on, and probably don't respect you.
Being around them only serves to waste your time and drain your energy.
Those who pay attention to what you say may brush off your ambitions as ridiculous or lame.
When they see the fire in your eyes, they attempt to snuff it out. They may say things that make you second-guess yourself, and maybe, even question your goals and dreams.
Rather than let you be you, they attempt to change you, perhaps to make you more compatible with them.
They may want you to like what they like and value what they value, while disregarding your own likes and values. They will likely not care much about you unless you are beneficial to their cause, and would quickly drop you if you refuse to bend to their demands.
Some people won’t disregard you, but rather leach you.
They want too much from you. Too much of your time, money, and attention. Maybe you go out of your way (all the time) to do one thing or the other for them. This type seldom gives back to you and know too well how to start a drama when it is their turn to return the favor.
Other times, the wrong company may stick around you, and even seem supportive in front of you, but then they secretly try to pull you down.
This may come in the form of lies and gossip and can become as serious as downright backstabbing you when you least expect it.
Rather than being courteous, warm, and welcoming, hanging around the wrong people feels more like tiptoeing across a minefield.
You find yourself always being cautious of what you say in order to avoid receiving a downpour of mockery, drama and even sly insults.
When you hang around them, everything feels generally unpredictable and you have this uneasy feeling.
Even when you successfully stay off all the landmines, they may be jealous of you after you share a little of your life or success, leaving you feeling like you did something wrong.
The absolute worst thing that happens when you hang around the wrong company is that you miss all the great things the right company could have helped you with.
The right company would have supported you and even pushed you to do more and be more.
But since you’re too distracted by, and attached to the wrong company, you miss all of that. Rather than being propelled, you find yourself dragging heavy baggage. Don’t do that to yourself!
Even though it may be hard to be on your own, and it may even feel a bit lonely at times, it can actually be so much better than hanging around those who make your life worse off.
*Article by Debra Umberson and Jennifer Karas Montez at the University of Texas at Austin.