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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

There is such a thing as “too much of a good thing.” You can be too loving, too empathetic, too understanding, too forgiving. There is a philosophy that you attract what you are. I couldn’t disagree more. Sometimes, those with bad intentions know that you are the bigger person and will never stoop to their level and they take advantage. They treat you however they want, knowing you won’t retaliate. The most virtuous strengths can be exploited and become your greatness weaknesses, your Achilles’ heel. While manners, politeness and consideration for others’ feelings are important, I’m becoming more concerned about protecting myself and you should too.

If friends do not treat you with respect, it might be time to put yourself out there and make new ones. Join a club or sport, find a new hobby that allows for socializing or make an effort to sit next to someone new at school or work. I’ve never tried it myself, but I know people who have found success on Bumble BFF. If all else fails, being alone can truly be better for you than being surrounded by opportunistic people. As the saying goes, misery loves company, but I choose to look for the red flags and stay away from the misery.

How do people find themselves in exploitative situations with romantic partners, friends, family members, colleagues and peers in the first place? One might be too passive to express their true thoughts and feelings and end up going with the motions to keep the peace. This can cause a buildup of resentment. There is a fine line between passiveness/pushover behaviour and sweetness. Either way, one thing I know is that sweetness does not get anyone anywhere. Sweetness won’t help you graduate or get your dream job. Sweetness won’t cue others to treat you with respect. Sweetness alone won’t let you get, and keep, loved ones in your life. I’m not suggesting that anyone be cold-hearted, but it is important to acknowledge that we live in a world driven by competition and no one is here to coddle you. Some things in life must be done alone, by yourself and for yourself.

A tried and true method to protect yourself and your energy is to be more private. Unfollow those who bring you down. Get off of social media and enjoy your days. Even the brief private moments of your life that may seem insignificant should be valued, like your morning or bedtime ritual. Don’t feel the need to divulge details about your life to others if they haven’t given you a reason to trust them, or if you simply don’t want to do so.

 Some people can act as moths to your light. I’m not stooping to anyone’s level. Tonight, I’m simply choosing to turn off the lamp.

Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier University
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