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Take a Lesson from Sheikh Mo and Retire Some of Your Friends

Take a Lesson from Sheikh Mo and Retire Some of Your Friendships

Shekh Mohammed Visits a Municipal Office for an Early Morning Inspection

By now, we've all seen the video of Sheikh Mohammed strolling through an empty office during a 7:30 am field inspection of the Land Department and Department of Economic Development. You've also seen the results -- the forced retirement of nine top municipal executives. But this isn't just an executive setting the tone for the lives of his employees, it's a reminder for us to set the tone in our own lives as well.

Sheikh Mohammed did something so few of us do in our personal lives -- he stopped showing up for the people who didn't show up for him.

Particularly in the UAE, and particularly as an expat, it's easy to lose track of this. We make and lose friends frequently as people excitedly immigrate and then go back home after a few years. It's also a place that attracts some toxic personalities.

That's why it's more important that ever to think deeply about all of the people you consider your friends. Which of them have showed up for you when you needed them? Take a moment to look at the rules for identifying toxic relationships and see if you need to make a few early retirements of your own.

Here's a few rules for identifying a toxic relationship:

  1. Hanging out with them leaves you feeling worse, not better.
  2. You realize you've been trying to find reasons to avoid spending time together.
  3. They only seem to want to hang out when they want something from you.
  4. You always invite them, and they never invite you to their plans.
  5. They try to isolate you from other relationships in your life, particularly your significant other.
  6. You find yourself trying to make excuses for their behavior to other friends who can see the toxic behavior.
  7. While all friendships are a give and take, they seem to take more than they give.
  8. They want you to listen to their problems, but won't listen to yours.
  9. They ignore your interests when making plans.
  10. They complain that you're not available enough, or active enough. This is likely because they just want you to be available for their needs.

If any of these sound like your friendship, we suggest you follow Sheikh Mohammed's lead and cut them loose. You'll be better for it.

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