Well-known networking expert George Fraser says that relationships either add, subtract, multiply or divide your life. Sometimes we spend too much time with those who only add frustration and disappointment to our lives and not enough with those who uplift us. To make progress in your life you must eliminate or avoid the following seven groups of people:

Talkers – All they do is talk and talk is cheap. They say they’re going to do something and they don’t do it. They promise but don’t deliver. They make threats but don’t follow through on them. Relying on them leads to unnecessary frustration. Talkers can be anybody. However, they can only hurt you if you allow them.

Naysayers – They are negative about everything, oftentimes for no reason. They discourage, doubt and question you. When you dream, they make you feel guilty. They pollute those who associate with them and soon you’ll be negative.

Gossips – We love good gossip but we don’t respect those who provide it. And if they gossip about someone else around you, you can bet they will gossip about you when you’re not around. They gloat about other’s misfortunes so you can bet they won’t be too excited about any success you have. It doesn’t help their cause and they won’t help yours if you associate with them.

Dream Killers – They kill dreams. But since we usually share our dreams only with those close to us not everyone can be a dream killer. Their comments usually carry more weight than a stranger’s would. Usually, they try to kill our dreams to protect us from harm. Some dream killers are innocent and faithless; some are jealous and malicious. Either way, avoid them.

Obstructionists – They oppose you at all costs, even if it’s for reasons other than principle. They sometimes change their opinion based on where you stand, because they don’t stand for anything. In other words, they’re jealous, spineless people who just want to get in your way. These people are tough to break away from because we often feel that we have to work with them. In many cases we do but once you recognize this person for who he or she is, beware.

Frenemies – Frenemies are enemies who masquerade as friends until they feel threatened. Frenemies feel superior to their “friends.” They may even appear friendly by helping you – as long as it doesn’t threaten their position as top dog. But once you try to improve yourself your “friend” will feel threatened and the enemy inside of them will come out. From this point on they will use every opportunity to keep you in your place. They are very competitive and always want to beat you at their game. Don’t play their game.

Carrot Danglers – This person preys on the desperate and usually has the keys to something that’s really close to you – money, family, helping you with something in the past – and uses these keys to make you feel indebted to them. Being desperate and feeling indebted to someone is a deadly combination. They use these keys to hold you hostage while only benefiting themselves. Regardless of how this person can help you, the psychological damage they cause outweighs any benefits they can provide. Avoid them like the plague.

Relationships are life’s hardest part to deal with. Because of sentimentality, it’s hard to cut these people loose. But we must honestly assess where our relationships are. Relationships are like food. Good food helps us but bad food hurts us. To move forward we must eliminate and avoid the relationships that hurt us to make room for those who will help us. And once you make room you’ll be ready to look at those relationships in my next article.