You likely share common interests or hobbies with negative or toxic people. This doesn’t mean you should remain friends with them.

As I approach age 50, this has been one of my more recent realizations over the last few years. I’m not sure why it took me so long to come to this conclusion, so I hope this helps you reach the awareness much sooner.

It’s common for us to find others with similar interests, and we initially enjoy those early conversations, events, and activities with these people. We don’t know much about them, other than we have something in common, so we think they must be cool, too.

That’s not always the case. In every group of people, there will always be a few that lack integrity, are dishonest, envious, manipulators, unethical, thieves, and any other negatives you might think of. The good/bad ratios aren’t any different from a normal population of people.

For some reason, we tend to tolerate the negative behaviors, actions, and words more, from those we share interests with. Is it because we feel like we are part of a tribe, and don’t want to lose access to the tribe? Perhaps.

In the past, I used to tolerate fellow car enthusiasts and racers. Some of these connections were 20+ years deep. I knew some of them weren’t good people, but I didn’t want to rock any boats.

Nowadays I assess each person in my life and my proximity, on an individual basis. I couldn’t give one shit what we have in common.

If I see too many negative words, actions, and behaviors, that’s a pattern. It reveals your character, your insecurities, and your intentions. I don’t tolerate it, and I’ll create boundaries and remove you.

I hope this message raises your awareness. Don’t hold onto people based on how long you’ve known them. Don’t hold onto people because you share an interest. People change, and you should also change – by improving.