Are You Toxic?

“How can you say you like (enter activity here) when you never want to go when I invite you?”

I hate to break it to you, but it’s probably because you’re toxic. If I never want to climb, hike, ski, bike, etc. with you, it’s probably because you are toxic to my adventure experience. Honestly, you’re probably not doing it on purpose. I can try to give you that benefit of the doubt, even though my brain is screaming at me that you’re the spawn of Satan and you want me to suffer. However, it’s still healthier for me and my development as an adventurer to not participate in that activity with you. Let’s talk about what makes a good, supportive environment for developing adventurers.

When you go on adventures, where is the focus? Is it on going fast? Having fun? Experiencing the outdoors? Being with the people you’re with? Practicing mindfulness? Improving?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with going on adventures for ANY of these reasons. I’ll say that again for the folks in the back. ALL of these reasons are GREAT reasons for going on adventures!

However, if I want to go mountain biking because I want to have some fun and spend time outside, and you want to go because you want to go fast, we might not be compatible adventure buddies. And that’s okay! We can still be friends, and even crazier, we can still talk about mountain biking and enjoy ourselves! Because we both love the same activity and the same places.

My Tips for NOT Being a Toxic Adventure Buddy:

  • Know your partner’s limitations, and accept them!
  • Encouragement can go a long way to help someone on an adventure, making them feel bad or guilty can go a long way for them hating you forever.
  • Do not use self-deprecating humor when it’s obvious you are more advanced.
  • Accept compliments and understand that if someone isn’t as good as you, they are impressed by what you’re doing, even if it seems simple.
  • Do not make fun of people who struggle with the activity you’re doing. Even if they aren’t there, don’t exist, etc., it will make the people you’re with feel worse if they can relate to them at all.
  • It’s okay to go on adventures with different people and have different goals! For instance, on Monday you can climb with Toby and send, send, send! And on Wednesday you can climb with Brian and take your time and appreciate the beauty of the place.

Honestly, I am disappointed that I even have to write this post, because really all I’m saying is:

DON’T BE A JERK.

But apparently, the adventure community has been socialized to think that it is okay to do some of these things (which is a topic that is definitely going to be a post of its own, if not its own blog) so here it is. Although I do think mental illness exacerbates the effect this kind of toxicity has, this really applies to anyone who wants to adventure with people.

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