A TONGUE has no bones, but it can break a heart. These are some thoughts to ponder and reflect on this Holy Week, especially with the retelling of Judas’ kiss of betrayal.

I will never understand why some people choose to spread vitriol and hate, when it is so much easier to just smile and love. However, not everyone is programmed the same way, and there really are some special people who thrive on making others miserable.

On the internet, we fondly refer to them as trolls. Instead of using their mega mouths, they brandish their keyboards like weapons of mass destruction. It is very easy for them to espouse negativity and attack because they hide behind their computers.

I asked Counselor Randa F. Inumerable, pastoral counselor for the Center of Family Ministries (Cefam) in Ateneo De Manila, about her professional opinions on these and she said, “We feed toxic people’s ego and excitement when we engage them. It seems like we live in a different world now. The various social media have brought out the vile in people. It has emboldened many because of the anonymity. ”

Unfortunately, this online behavior often transmutes into real life. She recommends that the best solution to combat toxic people for both the real world and in the virtual world is to completely stay away from them because they enjoy these kinds of controversy and negativity. To protect our spirit from contamination due to their toxicity, it is for the best to limit our exposure.

Studies indicate that people emulate the values and behavior of the 5 people who they spend most of their time with; thus, let's be careful who we give our time to. We all have the same 24 hours of precious time in a day. Once time is gone, we can't get it back. Be choosy; be picky. There is truth to the old adage: "tell me who your friends are, and I'll tell you who you are." (This includes boyfriends!) People reveal their character in the company they keep and the company they avoid.

I asked Counselor Randa to give me a lowdown on toxic personas, which I grouped because of my column’s limited space. This is by no means an exhaustive list. But these are the fairly common ones to watch out for:

The Loose Tongue

It is normal to discuss experiences with others; however, people like them take gossip into the next level. They have a lot to say about everyone, not caring if it is even truthful or not. No secret is safe with these people around. They don’t care who gets hurts, as long as the juiciest of scoops gets divulged.

The I, Me, and Myself

Arrogant people think the world revolves around them. All plans must be made in deference to what they like. They refuse to be considerate, but ironically, they expect that quality from their friends. They are rigid dictators and manipulators because they believe their way is the only one.

The Green-Eyed Monster

These type of people will never be happy for anyone; stealing everyone’s joy with their negative envious aura. It is hard to relax with them around because everything is a competition, wherein they compare the nitty-gritty of their lives stacked up against others.

The Temperamental

The moody ones with the wild temper, who can vacillate from happy to sad to angry in a span of seconds, are hard to be with because they put their friends thru an emotional wringer. They are difficult to read and can explode like bombs without nary a care where they are or who will be struck.

The Dementor

This is a creature in Harry Potter that sucks a person's soul. Friends like this do exactly that, milking their pals for all they’re worth. They just play the victim card all the damn time. Initially, people may take pity on them and their sob stories. But it is a never ever ending cycle that drains positive spirit.

The Triple Class-A

Similar to imitation hand bags, fake friends like to pretend. They smile at everyone, especially when they’re in a crowd, but they immediately backstab the moment everyone goes their separate ways. This one is closely related to The Gossip, and they often go hand in hand.

At certain points of time in our lives, we will surely encounter difficult people and situations. They come for a season and a reason. Some people have varying degrees of each of the aforementioned traits combined. Hey no one is perfect, after all! At best, we try and tolerate because kindness should reign supreme. Unfortunately, some have it far worst and possess an extreme case of negativity that must be avoided at all possible cost so we can keep sane.

Learn to tune them out! Reacting in annoyance and anger will only make things more complicated. Let’s just thank them for the short and sweet role they played in our lives; helping us grow into better people with more patience, kindness, fortitude, and understanding. Then move on!

In the grand scheme of things, what toxic people do is a reflection of their character; though, that doesn't lessen the blow or hurt that we feel. At the end of the day, fear not, because actions speak louder than words. Time and real situations expose negative people. Let us heed the warning signs before we get burned. It is perfectly okay if we set high standards for our life and the people we allow to be a part of it.

Counselor Randa gave me the following details. As a referral for those who feel “trapped” in toxic relationships and might need help, please don’t hesitate to contact RMT-CEFAM (RMT-for Father Ruben M. Tanseco, SJ as its founder).

Look for:

Mrs. Lourdes H. Cuartero

Executive Director

RMT-Center for Family Ministries Foundation Inc.

Spiritual-Pastoral Bldg. Seminary Road,

ADMU Campus, Katipunan Ave., QC

Tel. No. (02)-426-4289 to 92