Wow, powerful stuff! This really resonated with me.
“Avoid people who are vexatious to the spirit”* is something I have had stuck in my head for many years.
In some groups of people there are toxic personalities who are friendly and engaging on the surface, but are constantly gossiping, manipulating and undermining even to their own close friends.
My daughters use the term “Frenemies”.
It is not always possible avoid such people entirely (sometimes they are family members), so I find it best to be polite but keep them at arms length.
When you hear such people talking down others you can guarantee that they will be doing the same about you behind your back, no matter how nice they are to your face.
- this is a misquote from the poem Desiderata by Max Ehrmann