How to Identify Your Toxic Relationships and Get Rid of Them Once and For All

Be careful of your environment for it will shape you, and be careful of your friends for you will become them. When was the last time you checked in on your environment? Is it supporting you? Are the people within your environment supporting you, or are they hurting you? Even if you like the people you associate with, and even if you love them… if they don’t see your future the way you do, they could be interfering with your efforts and pursuits. They could be toxic! Do you need to reason with them? Do you need to limit your time with them? Or, do you need to find new friends altogether? The answer is, “It depends.” But on what?How Do You Like ‘Dem Apples?

I was taught a system of categorizing the people of which I come in contact. It’s been very helpful in my decisions of whom I spend my time with, and that includes my personal and professional relationships. I’m sure there are other approaches, but this one works for me. It’s simple, easy and effective. Feel free to borrow it, if you like.

Be careful of your environment for it will shape you, and be careful of your friends for you will become them. When was the last time you checked in on your environment? Is it supporting you? Are the people within your environment supporting you, or are they hurting you? Even if you like the people you associate with, and even if you love them… if they don’t see your future the way you do, they could be interfering with your efforts and pursuits. They could be toxic! Do you need to reason with them? Do you need to limit your time with them? Or, do you need to find new friends altogether? The answer is, “It depends.” But on what?How Do You Like ‘Dem Apples?

I was taught a system of categorizing the people of which I come in contact. It’s been very helpful in my decisions of whom I spend my time with, and that includes my personal and professional relationships. I’m sure there are other approaches, but this one works for me. It’s simple, easy and effective. Feel free to borrow it, if you like.

The system consists of categorizing people into one of four different categories of apples. There are red apples, green apples, brown apples and rotten apples.

  • Red Apples – Positive, outgoing, open-minded, courageous and “fun to be around” people. Imagine that one friend you could call and invite to the movies and they would say, “Yes” without even knowing what movie you were going to see… they were happy with just hangin’ out. That’s a red apple! You want lots of red apples in your life.
  • Green Apples – Also, positive, outgoing and open-minded people, but they might be more opinionated than the Red Apples, and sometimes stubborn and closed off with their opinions. Green apples aren’t necessarily bad to be around, but I would suggest a limited number. That’s just me, you get to choose for you.
  • Brown Apples – These are more of your negative people, close-minded people, cynical, skeptical and obstinate people. Fearful of risks and mocks anyone that takes them. It’s the brown apples that can interfere with your pursuits, and sometimes it’s obvious… other times, not so much. I do my best to avoid brown apples once I’ve been able to identify them as such. Some are easier to identify than others.
  • Rotten Apples – I call these people “dream stealers.” They think your dreams and goals are stupid, far-fetched and humorous. They will patronize you around your ambitions and sometimes flat out laugh at you for even having them. I have completely eliminated these people from my life. No room for them! Again… you get to choose for you.

You Can’t Change ‘Dem Apples!

People are who they are. People can change, but YOU can’t change them. Spending any effort at all trying to turn a brown apple red will be a harsh lesson in futility. Every once in a while, you’ll get a brown or green apple to turn red, but it will never be because of anything you consciously did.

Family Apples

Unfortunately… and I’m not sure why this is… but most people come to find that most of their family falls in the brown or rotten apple barrels. There’s typically that one red and a couple greens in your family, but the majority of the family will be brown and rotten for most people.

It’s a little more difficult to just eliminate the brown and rotten family apples from your life, but what I have found as a good strategy is to simply change the subject if your dreams and goals should come up in conversation. Just because they’re brown and rotten doesn’t mean they’re bad people, you can still love them as your family. There may be other areas of your life of which you enjoy their company, companionship and conversation, just not when it comes to your ambitions.

If you fall into this norm, an additional suggestion is to build a stronger support system among your friends. You may not be able to pick your relatives, but you can choose better friends. It won’t eliminate the effects of an unsupportive family, but at the very least you won’t be alone in your pursuits.

Attracting Red Apples

What color apple would you consider yourself?

What color apple would your friends consider you? If you don’t know, ask them. You can learn a lot about yourself from doing this. Here’s the rule, though… you absolutely cannot hold their answer against them. Regardless of what the answer is, it’s nothing more than constructive criticism.

One of the most frustrating aspects for people around improving their network and friends is they spend a great deal of their time trying to turn brown apples into red ones; And when it doesn’t work, they find themselves becoming brown themselves. Here’s the secret…

If you want to attract red apples into your life, you must be a red apple yourself. Like attracts like. Be careful that the brown apples don’t attract you. It happens frequently without you even knowing it. Stay red! Not only will you attract other red apples, you will notice that some of your green and browns start to turn red. So, stay red.

Share Your Dreams and Ambitions with Red Apples

Don’t be a secret agent when it comes to your goals. How can anybody support you in your pursuits if they don’t know what they are. I made this mistake early on in my years as an entrepreneur for fear someone might steal my goals, meaning… they would steal my ideas and beat me to the punch. It’s a natural thought, but it’s ridiculous. We live in a world of abundance where anything is possible. There’s plenty to go around, besides… nobody is going to do it the exact way you’re going to do it anyway. Additionally, nobody succeeds on their own. Whatever you want to be, do or have, you’ll have to interact with and go through other people to achieve it. Don’t hold anything back. Share. Share. Share.

Seek Out Apples Who Share Your Goals Red Apple

In fact, you’ll probably get the most support from the people who do share your goals. My most supportive relationships are other real estate investors, entrepreneurs and bloggers. Technically, my most supportive and powerful relationships come from essentially… my competition. Often times your competition, or what you might’ve believed to be your competition, turn out to be your strongest allies. They can relate. They have relationships and resources you need, and vice versa.

If you want to write a book, seek out other fledgling authors. If you want to get into shape, seek out others with fitness interests. If you want to learn another language, seek out others wanting to do the same. Your progress will accelerate from these relationships.

Look at it from this perspective, if you came to me telling me you wanted to be chef, I could only offer mild support. I’d applaud your ambition, but that’s as far as I could probably go in relating to your desire. Now, if you came to me wanting to be a real estate investor, not only would I be excited for you… I could point you in several directions on how to get started and begin to introduce you to the network that enabled me to create a full-time career out of it. And yes… I would do that for somebody that had serious interest in doing what I do. Why? Two reasons… 1) because someone did it for me, and 2) you never know who your next business partner is going to be.

Neutral Apples

“Be like me” is not a prerequisite to be my friend. I can get along with a wide variety of people, and I do. I don’t want to cut myself off from new experiences. Variety is the spice of life, yes?

Having said that… I still look for the red apples in every circle. “Nature abhors empty space” I once heard, and I get it. By creating empty space, you create room for something else to move in. Get rid of the rotten apples in your life, and consider getting rid of as many browns as you can to make room for more reds.

A strong and supportive environment is a force multiplier. You’ll begin to experience faster progress, and it will often be almost unexplainable, by eliminating toxic relationships and surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people.