How to Deal with Toxic People
Improving your life is not easy as it is and it makes it so much harder when you have to deal with negative and toxic people. Moverover these people have bigger impact on your life than you might think. And science supports that.
Dr David McClelland of Harvard University conducted a 25-year long study observing what impacts peoples’ growth, success and happiness. The single most influential factor was their ‘reference group’, in other words, the people they surrounded themselves with.
If you have toxic and negative people in your life, it’s time to do something about it because they’ve been having an incredibly damaging impact on your life.
Dealing with toxic people is not always easy, but it’s one of those things you can get better at and usually once you do the big cleanse in your network and restore healthy boundaries, they often tend to stay away.
As mentioned earlier, the people you surround yourself with have a massive impact on you. So, having toxic people in your life, or ‘energy vampires’ as I call them, is not only making you miserable, but it’s affecting the trajectory of your life in the long run.
Now let’s quickly talk about two kinds of toxic people because they are quite different:
The first kind is like acid and the second is more like radiation.
An acid like people burn you instantly as soon as you get into contact with them. They are the angry, miserable, shouting, and aggressive kind. They usually let you know quite quickly how they feel and that they don’t like you.
Radiation like people seem harmless or even pretend to be your friends. But through a fake smile, they are getting under your skin and into your head and little by little undermining your success.
So how do you deal with either?
1) Recognize toxic people
If you suspect that some of the people close to you are the radiation type and may not have your best interest in mind, ask yourself what emotions they bring up in you. If, after an interaction with them, you feel demotivated, down, angry, exhausted then they are energy vampires.
The acid kind is usually not hard to notice.
As soon as you realize you have toxic people in your life, proceed to step two.
2) Distance yourself from TOXIC PEOPLE
The best way to deal with toxic people is by distancing yourself from them.
Toxic friends and acquaintances: This depends on how good of a friend we’re talking about here and whether they are being toxic directly towards you or just toxic in general. If this person is toxic directly towards you, my guess is that they are not so much of a friend and the best thing you can do is to limit the time you spend with them. If it’s a really good friend or they are being toxic and negative in general (towards themselves or just everything), you can bring it up with them and explain how it’s affecting you. If they agree and are willing to improve it, that’s great. You can even help them through it if you want. I also suggest that you tell them that if it keeps happening, you won’t be hanging out with them.
Toxic people at work: Minimize your contact with them to as little as possible. If they are actively making your life miserable, talk to your boss or bring it up with HR. If there is no way to limit your contact with the negative people and it’s really making your life miserable, I suggest you consider changing jobs otherwise you’ll suffer for years to come. There are loads of jobs, but you only have one life.
Toxic family: This is a tough one. I recommend you try to explain to them how their actions make you feel. Be prepared that it may be met with denial or defensiveness. Don’t try to be right here or blam them. Just explain how it makes you feel. No one can argue about your feelings.
If they refuse to acknowledge they are doing something wrong and make changes to improve it, then I suggest you consider also minimizing contact with them. They may notice it and ask you why that’s so. Tell them again that it’s because of how they behave and how it’s affecting you. This can often give them an incentive to change something or dial it down at least. This can be extremely hard especially when you have strong bonds with your family, but it’s your life, happiness, and well being we’re talking about here. Why would you sacrifice that?
3) Throw them this comeback
I never argue with toxic people, because they are usually really good at that. It’s their game, and I’m not interested in nor good at it.
But I have something better for you. When they say something that is clearly meant to hurt you; a sarcastic comment, mean question, just ask them this:
Oh, why are you saying that? (with genuine curiosity).
What will happen is that in order to answer your question they will need to explain why they are being a-holes. They will either admit that it was an inappropriate thing to say OR they will start deflecting and explaining that it was meant in a good way.
Either way, you taught them a lesson that when they say something like that they may get tangled into their own toxicity.
From my experience, when you do this once or twice, they will think more carefully about the questions they ask you or comments they make.
The people in your life have a powerful effect on the person you are today, and on the person you will be in the years to come. Toxic people are seriously compromising who you can be. They drain the energy out of you and distract you from focusing on what matters. You’ll always be better off without them.
There are plenty of good people you can surround yourself with instead.
If you need the support of a life coach to help you with making a great first impression or with any other areas of your personal development, you’re always welcome to contact me and let’s find out if we’d be the right match.
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