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Recently I have been left to ponder what role that many “friends” in my life are playing.  I know a large number of people, and try to be a friend to all of them. It is my desire to be open and honest to all, and not to judge. That being said, I think that sometimes we must pick and choose those who we allow to get close.

There are a number of people that actively pursue my company whom I feel are rather toxic. These people desire to be near to me and spend time with me, but they seem to disrupt my “zen” when they are around.  I know that it is I that must take responsibility for allowing their comments and behavior to effect me, but at the same time I wonder where one draws the line in allowing these people my time and energy.

Let me offer an example:
One girl that I regularly see shares my love for dance and performance. The two of us even study the same styles of dance, with a fervor. This love in common should, in my thinking, bring us closer together and give us more to bond over. Instead, whenever we are together she sees it as a time to make snyde remarks about my body shape. Neither of us has a classic dancer body; she resemble Kate Moss while I have more of a Marilyn Monroe or Mae West shape. Neither is better or worse, but she would have be believe that hers is better suited to performance and attractiveness. In fact, she has gone so far as to say that she would rather not see someone of my shape perform, as it disgusts her.

Sure, in order for her harsh words to be able to bother me, I must allow them to do so. It is true that her words do trigger body image issues for me, even though I know that she is speaking from her body image issues. However, regardless of my own issues, I would never say something to intentionally hurt another, especially not one I considered a friend. For this reason, I have to wonder what is the best way to deal with such a situation.

Toxic people do nothing to enhance our lives and help us grow. Sure, we can take their interactions as a time for us to learn to outgrow old triggers and issues. Yet I have to wonder how far we should actually extend kindness.

In my life, I do practice the “kill ’em with kindness” philosophy, but there is a time when I believe turning the other cheek does not benefit anyone. My query in this situation is, “Where does one draw the line between compassion or kindness and self preservation?”