How to deal with toxic people

by May 17, 2015

Bumper sticker advice for toxic people

There is a great line that says “some people are like clouds, and when they disappear the day becomes brighter”. We all know who they are. They are the ragers, nay sayers, the problem fixated, the complainers, manipulators, the rude, the interrupters and the just plain bad-tempered or even abusive. Toxic people bring us down, pollute our lives and head space, and take up emotional and physical energy.

Toxic people are unlikely to change. However they should react to the changes that you make to your own responses and attitudes towards them.

So how do we handle the difficult people in our lives?

A quick look on Pinterest will find you any number of little homilies about respecting yourself enough to walk away  – but what, if anything, can you do before then?

Here are 5 great strategies to deal with them

“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.” Dale Carnegie

1. It’s not about you

When these types of people shift into negative behaviour, remember it’s because they can’t get what they want, in the way that they want. This is about them, not you. It is an inability to communicate their needs effectively and constructively and suggests some inner, possibly long standing, unresolved issue. Understand well that it is not your problem.]

2. Adjust your expectations

Reframe any previous experiences and create some distance. They are not going to change. In your thought processes, make it about the business and stay neutral, rather than making it  personal.  Many of us have to interact with toxic people all the time. We can drive ourselves crazy with self-blame. In personal relationships let them go. But even then it can be difficult, especially if others are involved.

3. Give them time

Trying to cut an angry or emotional person off mid-flow, very often makes things worse. Unless they are out right yelling at you, let them finish. How often you do this depends on your level of tolerance. At some point you have to draw your line in the sand.

  •   “Could you repeat that,  because you were so agitated, I haven’t really understood your point”
  • To neutralise the mood  you can also calmly say “This issue seems to make you (describe emotion : upset, angry, frustrated, sad) … what’s going on for you?

If this doesn’t work, remove yourself by firmly telling them: “This is not an effective way to communicate. I am going to return to my office and when you have calmed down, call me then.”

If you have someone in your life who is exhibits toxic behaviour make them a coaching gift! They may not even be aware of it!   Purchase a gift card here!

4. Confront repeat offenders

This is easier said than done, especially if the toxic person is senior in the hierarchy. If the toxic behaviour is from an immediate boss or colleague the best way is to ask to schedule a meeting to discuss communication expectations, in relation to the impact on the business you are both in. It could be lunch or coffee if being more informal will work better. Sometimes it’s better to keep things low key. In a personal relationship, then it would be to discuss the impact of this behaviour on your relationship and any other potential fall out.

  • When x happens (yelling, whining, complaining, venting, criticizing) this impacts our business (or relationship) because I find this  xxx (define your reaction)

Often times toxic people are taken aback and genuinely don’t realise their default communication settings are upsetting or alienating anyone.

5. Leave or exclude

There comes a point when you may have no choice but to follow that bumper sticker advice and sever the connection totally if needs be. You are the only one who knows when things get to that point. In professional settings this could involve a transfer or even leaving your job. In a personal context it could ending a relationship or friendship.

What do you do?

Do you need support managing a toxic relationship?  Get in touch now

 

 

Guest Contributor Subscriber
3Plus is delighted to publish posts from guest contributers

Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services for building inclusive workplaces

Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services for building inclusive workplaces

Individual services

Only 50% of women create a career strategy. Make sure you are on the right side of that equation to reach your potential

Corporate services

“Inclusion is not a matter of political correctness. It is the key to growth.” — Jesse Jackson

Upcoming events

Events

📢New program: How to create inclusive job postings

In today's rapidly evolving world, it's essential for organisations to embrace diversity and inclusion. Organisations unconsciously communicate their company cultures and values in everything they do including their job postings. These can either attract or repel talent from a diverse range of backgrounds.

A crucial step in this process is ensuring that your job postings reflect these values. Our training program will equip you with the knowledge and skills to craft job descriptions that attract candidates from all backgrounds, eliminating bias and fostering an inclusive hiring process.

 

create inclusive job postings

Full programme details HERE

 

📢New Programme available with 3Plus International

“If you have a brain you have a bias” and nowhere is this more apparent than in our hiring processes.

The ‘How to Mitigate Bias in the Recruitment Process’ programme is designed to convey the serious nature of bias in the recruitment process with a focus on gender bias and the way it impacts both businesses and organisations, but in a way that is thought-provoking and engaging.

 

 

Full programme details HERE

Dates for the Diary

 

11th June 2024 : Corporate Training  - Build your Personal Board of Directors

14th June 2024:  Corporate Training How to Handle Everyday Sexism

1st July 2024 Corporate Master Class  “How to make your job postings more inclusive “

9th October 2024 Corporate Event  ‘How to Build your Circle of Success for Career Advancement”

Download and listen free podcasts

Latest Podcasts

Related articles