Why You Need To Leave Your Negative Friends Behind | Dr. Isaiah Hankel | Focus, Create and Grow Your Way To Intelligent Achievement Why You Need To Leave Your Negative Friends Behind | Dr. Isaiah Hankel | Focus, Create and Grow Your Way To Intelligent Achievement

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Why You Need To Leave Your Negative Friends Behind

Negative Friends
“Everybody isn’t your friend. Just because they hang around you and laugh with you doesn’t mean they’re for you. Just because they say they got got your back, doesn’t mean they won’t stab you in it. People pretend well. Jealousy sometimes doesn’t live far. So know your circle. At the end of the day real situations expose fake people so pay attention.”

Trent Shelton (Former NFL Wide Receiver)

“Cutting negative people from my life does not mean I hate them, it simply means I respect me.”

Marilyn Monroe (Actress, The Seven Year Itch)

“You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.”

Joel Osteen (Author, You Can, You Will)


The only way to move forward in life is to leave your negative friends behind.

I ran into the emergency room like a maniac and told the first nurse I saw I was dying. My heart was racing, I was light headed, and I couldn’t breath. The nurse looked at me like I was an idiot, which somehow made me feel better.

I was legit freaking out. Twenty minutes earlier I was in a movie theater watching the second preview when my body started playing tricks. My face felt red hot and the room started spinning. I tried to play it cool for a minute but ended up snapping—I leapt over the dirty velvet chairs, jumped into my car, and drove to the hospital. I thought I was having a heart attack. The fact that my chest didn’t hurt and I could drive fine didn’t register.

The emergency room doctor told me I was having a panic attack caused by stress. I went from feeling like I was dying to feeling like a 6-year old girl. What kind of grown man has panic attacks?

Friends Who Are Not Your Friends

I had just spent three days partying with my friends. But these friends weren’t really my friends. They were just a few guys I had been trying to impress for years.  You know—those friends you have who don’t really like you. The kind who just tolerate you as long as you do what they do. But, if you step away and do anything different, they cut you down.

I hate parties. The only reason I went was to make my friends happy. Sure, it was my choice but it was a bad choice. It was a choice based on obligation and wanting to fit in. I always felt obligated to do what my friends were doing. Like there was something invisible pulling me to the group. My brain would fight the pull. But it would lose. Over and over again.

I was being pulled in a hundred other directions at work and home too. I was trying to make my boss happy so I could get promoted. I was trying to make my girlfriend happy so I could live in peace. I was trying to make my family happy so I wouldn’t feel guilty. I felt like my entire life revolved around making other people happy at the expense of my happiness. I thought I was handling the stress of all of this well. But I wasn’t. Eventually it was too much and that’s when I had the panic attack.

Which Came First, Misery Or Miserable People? 

Your body and mind can only handle so much stress. You can only carry so much obligation. Obligation is like a rubber band. It can stretch and stretch but at a certain point it’s going to snap. No matter how big, old, strong, or smart you are. Everyone has a snapping point. 

Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” You may have heard other versions of this like “most men lead lives of quiet desperation and die with their song still inside them.” Either way, Thoreau’s words ring true for many people. We often feel stuck and desperate in our lives. We go through our days unconfident and unfocused. Maybe we read something offhand or watch a particular movie that fills us with energy. But this energy quickly dissipates. It vanishes because we have nothing to channel it into. Or, it’s snuffed out by the crowd of negative people we’ve somehow let into our lives.

The combination of being stretched thin by obligation and feeling stuck will ruin your life. Over time, your internal drive will die. Guilt and despair will take over. Your misery will attract more miserable people until you find yourself asking, which came first? Misery? Or the miserable people?

Ditch Negative Friends

Stop Ignoring Reality, Start Getting Real

The case against keeping negative friends in your life is a strong one. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see how these people can destroy your dreams, ruin your health, and turn you into an equally miserable person.

100% — Chances you will become more negative for each negative person you let into your life. In contrast, each positive person you let in your life increases your chances of becoming positive by only 11%.

Double — Put another way, one negative friend doubles your chances of becoming unhappy.

50% — People who give in to worries and demands from negative relationships have a 50% increase in risk of dying early.

34% — Negative relationships boost heart disease risk by 34%.

Poverty — Negativity is linked to poverty and reduced brain activity.

Brain damage — Listening to a negative person for just 30 minutes peels away neurons in your hippocampus, the part of your brain that’s responsible for problem-solving.

Reduced creativity — People who work for a negative boss are far less creative than those who work for a positive boss.

Depression and anxiety — Complaining about your problems increases your risk of developing both clinical depression and anxiety.

Low self-esteem — Listening to or watching negative people interact lowers your self-esteem and makes you more neurotic.

Poor performance — Engaging with negative people prior to performance tests, rather than ignoring them, decreases test scores.

Increased pain — Negativity overrides effect of pain medication in surgery patients.

Loss of sleep — Negativity increases the effect of poor sleep on pain.

Early death — People who use negative emotional language have higher rates of mortality.

Negative friends will ruin your life. It’s not a question of if they will ruin your life, it’s a question of when. Study after study shows that negativity has a drastic impact on your physical, mental, and financial wellbeing. The only way to protect yourself against this is to start being very deliberate with who you let into your life. Otherwise, you’ll never be anything more than average.

Don’t keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t keep interacting with the same negative people and ignoring the reality of what these people are doing to your life. Instead, get real. Be honest with yourself about how much your negative friends are costing you. Then, make a strong decision to drop them.

Two Biggest Reasons To Drop Your Negative Friends

Friendship is important. Humans are social animals and interacting with people can make you happier, healthier and more successful. But, these people have to be the right people.

There are over 7 billion individuals on the planet. Yet, we often let ourselves get obsessed with making just one or two individuals happy. We fight for the approval of a select few who will never like us and never treat us well instead of casting our nets back out to the masses to find positive people who will like us just the way we are. This is a mistake for two essential reasons.

1. Positive people will not come into your life until the negative people are gone.

Like attracts like. If you and your surroundings are positive, you will attract positive people and things into your life. If, on the other hand, you are negative or if you allow negative people into your life, you will repel positive people. Instead, you will draw negativity and pain toward you.

Self-reliance is critical to success but there’s only so much you can do on your own. You only have two eyes and two ears. A strong network of positive and likeminded people will allow you to see and hear more. You’ll also be able to tap into more wisdom. As as result, you’ll never stay stuck. Imagine what you could do if you had the right connections.

You have to make room for positive connections. You’ll never be able to build a strong network of positive people until you delete the negative people from your life. It’s a zero sum game. Positivity and negativity can’t coexist in your life. You have to get rid of one to attract the other.

2. You will never do anything positive or meaningful with negative people in your life.

You cannot be a positive person with negative people in your life. It’s a losing battle. Have you ever sat next to someone who yawned and felt the urge to yawn? Have you ever found yourself repeating a particular phrase that someone close to you often says, or getting a song stuck in your head that someone else was singing? Did you ever sit down to lunch at the office and overhear two people gossiping and feel the urge to jump in and gossip too?

Mirror neurons in your brain cause you to automatically copy your surroundings. Powerful psychological factors including groupthink, negativity bias, and the chameleon effect drive you to fit in and replicate everything your five senses take in.

Research shows that people who are lied to are more likely to lie and cheat. Similar research shows that having an obese friend increases your chances of becoming obese by 171% and having a smoker in your family increases your chances of smoking by 61%.

But, people can make you better too. For example, studies show that having just one happy friend increases your chances of becoming happy by 15%. In fact, having just one friend of a friend who is happy increases your chances of being happy by 10% and having one friend of a friend of a friend who is happy increases your chances of being happy by 6%.

There’s no escaping the fact that the people you let into your life will influence how you perceive life. They will also influence what you achieve in life. If you feel stuck in life and want to make a positive change, the single most important thing you can do is drop negative friends, family members, colleagues, and negative people. Now you know what to do and why you need to do it. The only question left is how?

How To Leave Your Negative Friends Behind

Like cigarettes, booze, and jelly donuts, most people know that negative friends are bad for them. They know that their lives would be better without negative people in it. The problem is they don’t know how to get rid of these negative people.

The first step to getting rid of your negative friends is to realize that you are the problem, not them. It’s your own weak decisions that are keeping these people in your life. The truth is you’re addicted to negative people. You’re addicted to the gossip, to the cozy feeling of fitting in, and to the comfort of being accepted by familiar faces.

Perhaps you are using your negative friends as a crutch. You keep them around so that when you fail (or fail to try anything new), you can blame your failures on your negative friends, not yourself. Or maybe you enjoy having negative people around who aren’t doing anything with their lives because it makes you feel better about your life.

Replace Bad People With A Good Plan

The second step to ditching your negative friends is making a strong decision to focus your life on something new. You need to create a magnificent obsession for yourself. You need to focus your powers on a single purpose, something that fully absorbs you and makes you feel alive again. If you don’t have any goals for yourself, you will never be able to quit negative people.

The only way to escape negative people is to replace them. Non-smokers quit smoking, not by giving up the habit, but by replacing it with a better habit. In the same way, you need to replace your negative friends with something positive and incredible–something exciting that makes you jump out of bed in the morning. You need to create a plan for your life that will bring you happiness and success, while attracting other happy and successful people into your life.

The time to get rid of your negative friends is now. Cut them loose. Create a plan for something better. Don’t look back at what you’re leaving behind, look forward to everything you can accomplish. Look forward to the endless possibilities and opportunities in front of you.

To learn more about replacing negative friends with a positive plan, and to get instant access to exclusive training videos, case studies, insider documents, and a private online network, get on the Escape Plan wait list.


You Comment, Isaiah Responds

  • Trey Merritt

    Thanks for this article. Very helpful. I decided a while back to feel good because I want to feel good. Reading some Eckhart Tolle, Esther Hicks, Thomas Moore and others, it dawned on me, I can feel good because I want to feel good. Leaving negative people out of my life is a step in that direction. This is a very good suggestion!

    • http://isaiahhankel.com/ Dr. Isaiah Hankel

      You’re right Trey, feeling good is a decision. So is walking away from negative people. I’m glad you’ve decided to do both.

      • Trey Merritt

        I did not realize until I started to consciously choose to feel what a habit negativity was! WAS. Then the negative relationships start to slough off.

  • Carolina Brown

    Very true, figure that out in my abusive Marriage and Boyfriend. It
    almost cost me my Life. Enjoyed reading this. Thank you

  • Katya Kean

    Being positive tends to repel negative people and attract positive ones. I find that focusing on good memories also helps me rehearse for the next positive ones!

    Isaiah, do you think this article might actually focus on eliminating negatives more than it does on pursuing positives?

    I liken it to wanting a beautiful garden. Denying weeds sun and water (attention and time) often will let them die of neglect or prevent them from coming up. Whereas planting and supplying good plants with what they need encourages their growth.

    It’s best sometimes to let go of these traumatic memories, and focus on times when things went really, really well, as a rehearsal on how to have things go well again in the future.

  • Fernando Calvin

    The first thing that i need to suggest is we need to think again either it is bad or good ,finding friends is not easy to do as clean your room man,if we cut the negative and put into the positive one,what u want to expect ,the positive come to your way after cutting the negative ,thats absurd theory.the universe is out of balance according to my experience some bad people have all that they want ,and same as the opposite,if we want to cut negative friend better think again,because after that you can be with no friend anymore.the suggestion is to change the negative to positive is the best way that do .

    • Jeff McCormick

      Dude, you’re entire comment is negative and ignoring everything the article said.
      You are your own worst enemy.

      • Johnta Oneil

        He is right. Because there is
        no positive or negative people. We are all both at times. Also you have friends and family who are going through depression and anxiety. Do we just cut them off also, would you want them to cut you off at your lowest point?

  • some guy

    Thanks, I needed this

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