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“Toxic people attach themselves like cinder blocks tied to your ankles and then invite you for a swim in their poisoned waters.” ―John Mark Green

My Mom and I were talking about some people we have run across during our lives. Some of these people are just stuck. They neglect themselves and wake up one day in a pit that is so deep they cannot get out. Some of these people persist in the escape. Others give up and get comfortable.

I remember the scene in the movie Titanic where all the passengers are in the icy waters of the Atlantic. They are frantic and terrified. One of these passengers attempts to use Rose to stay afloat, pushing Rose’s head under the water. Jack arrives on the scene and punches the passenger, rescuing Rose. The people you run into that are drowning in their self-constructed pits, will try one of two things. If they are trying to escape their self-constructed pit, they will try to use you as a stepladder. If you let them, they will suck you into the pit with them. If they are one of those people that have given up, they’ll invite you in and try to get you to stay for a while.

All of us have empathy. We feel each other’s pain. If one of our friends is in trouble, it is natural for us to reach out and help. Unfortunately, the person I have described above will not appreciate your help. They are “happy” with their lot in life. Their pit is comfortable for them. They may tell you they want to change, but deep down they do not, will not, or cannot change. They have dug a pit so deep, they will not escape from it.

When you run across a friend that wants your help, help them. Give them some advice. Point them to a book or a blog article they could read. Send them an online class or a YouTube video that has a “how to” to help them with their problem. Watch what they do with this help. If they follow your advice, awesome! You have a friend that truly wants to help themselves. If you follow up with them in a day, or they follow up with you, ask them how the video, blog posting, or YouTube video was and what they have done to solve their problem. If they have done nothing with it, you probably have a friend who is the person I described above. They will not change and are happy with their current circumstances.

It is frustrating to deal with people like this. They say they want help but do nothing with the help or advice you give them. A week, a day, a month, or a year from now, they will still be in the same or worse place. Why? Because they are happy where they are. They are comfortable in their pit. Their pit is horrible to people like you and I, but they have adapted. They have made do. Their pit is so comfortable that they no longer have the courage or ability to leave. Cut these people loose. They are so convinced that their pit is a nice place, they will continue to pull you in. Leave these people alone. They will not change. You cannot save them. They are happy living in the hell they have created.

Until next time…

Dave

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