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Smart Ways To Deal With Toxic People

By Alicia Sanders
Posted on 28 May, 2015

Smart Ways To Deal With Toxic People
We’ve all come across them at one point or another in our lives. The colleague who seems to have it in for you, the friend who always has a drama they want to involve you in, the difficult neighbor, or the family member who wears you out every time you see or speak to them.

What all these people have in common is toxicity – they are unpleasant, draining and just hard to spend time with. While there are effective strategies that successful people employ when dealing with toxic people, what follows are twelve of the best.

1. Make Sure They Are On The Radar

list of names

It is important that you identify who the toxic people in your life are. You see, if you let things happen naturally, you are bound to find yourself constantly embroiled in difficult conversations. So, to make sure you are not caught off guard, here are traits common to toxic people:

They’re Selfish
Toxic people are so busy thinking of themselves that they’ll rarely show any concern for others. Their communication setting is usually stuck on broadcast and they’ll happily talk for hours about themselves. They only care about how they feel, what they want to do, what their needs are, and will happily manipulate you to ensure they’re met.

In the workplace, a toxic person may demand that you work late, knowing you need to pick your child from nursery, they’ll present you with an urgent project just before lunch, or prevent you from getting a promotion because they need you in their department. They also find strength in destabilizing others.

They Need To Be Right
Toxic people can’t stand the thought they might ever be wrong. It doesn’t matter how tiny the issue, they’ll argue their point of view until you give up out of exhaustion. Their need to be right trumps common sense, truth and even normal social bounds. They may even lie, fabricate and deceive just so they come out the winner.

They’re Surrounded By Drama
You’ll often find that a toxic person thrives on drama, and will dwell excessively on any negative experience that befalls them –sucking the positive energy from those around them. They relish the attention and sympathy that tragedy brings.

They Don’t Let Go
Toxic people never want to move past an issue. Instead they’ll drag it up at any given opportunity.

They Are Not Nice To Others
Don’t get us wrong, toxic people can be very charming. But only when it serves them. The clearest way to get a sense of someone’s real character is to observe how they treat others, especially people who aren’t useful to them, or never will be. Toxic people are often nice to bosses, but mean towards junior colleagues, the waitress or the janitor?


2. Limit Your Exposure

Limiting your physical distance from this person can be the easiest and most effective way to keep yourself from being directly affected. If you’re not around the person, it’s harder for their toxic attitude to rub off on you. If the relationship is in the work environment, try to arrange your day so your schedules don’t match up unless absolutely necessary.


3. Determine Your Core Values

When you have inner clarity, you go out into the world with a stance, and you are less likely to get pulled into someone else's emotional orbit.

And remember, just because someone else is rude or deceitful doesn’t mean you have an excuse to be. Ensure you always act by your own standards. Others will see toxic people for what they are.


4. Rise Above The Situation

Toxic people drive you crazy because their behavior often goes against reason. Don’t allow your emotions to get sucked into their vortex of irrationality. Instead, distance yourself from them emotionally and approach your interactions like they’re a science project (or you’re their shrink, if you prefer). You don’t need to respond to the emotional chaos—only the facts. Once you’ve found your way to rise above a person, you’ll begin to find their behavior more predictable and easier to understand.


5. Set Clear Boundaries

You have to teach people how to get along with you. Often, people who we feel are toxic behave that way because we have not set a boundary with them. It's not fair to expect them to understand how we interpret things if we don’t let them know in some way.


6. Respect Yourself

The more you value yourself, the less time you spend with people who don’t value you. By respecting yourself, you attract others of the same nature.


7. Don’t Let Anyone Dampen Your Joy

When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from the opinions of other people, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When you feel good about something you’ve done, don’t let anyone’s snide remarks take that away from you.


8. Don’t Focus On Problems—Only Solutions

When it comes to toxic people, fixating on how crazy and difficult they are gives them power over you. Quit thinking about how troubling your difficult person is, and focus instead on how you’re going to go about handling them. A great way to focus on solutions is to ask complainers how they intend to fix the problem.


9. Don’t Forget

Be quick to forgive, but that doesn’t mean you should forget. Forgiveness requires letting go of what’s happened so that you can move on. It doesn’t mean you’ll give a wrongdoer another chance. Don’t be bogged down unnecessarily by toxic people and be assertive in protecting yourself from future harm.


10. Enlist Help

It’s tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself. Sometimes you have to tap into your support system to gain perspective on a challenging person. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can’t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation.


11. Don’t Share Confidences With Them

Expect that anything you say to a toxic person will be repeated in a negative way, so be careful what you share with them


12. Avoid Being A Shoulder To Cry On

Nothing you can say will cheer up a toxic person – they enjoy being a victim. Save your energies for those who genuinely deserve your time.

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