We all have them in our lives. Whether they are a family member, an old friend, or the grocery store manager, toxic people seem to be showing up everywhere in our lives. And while we might yearn to get rid of them, chances are someone toxic to you will always be a part of your life. Instead of wishing the problem would go away, try one of these methods of dealing with it. Over time you’ll find that these toxic people can be handled quite effectively.
Keep a Professional Attitude
One of the ways that a toxic individual can become so damaging to your self-esteem or spiritual well being is by pulling you into an emotional, opinion-based argument. They thrive on this type of confrontation, and often will leave their victim, unintended or not, gasping for emotional air. The best way to avoid this situation is to take their weapons away from them. Keep your attitude when dealing with a toxic person strictly professional, focusing on the facts of the situation, and not opinions or conjectures. If the toxic person can’t seem to make any progress with resorting to emotional weapons, suggest that the subject be approached at a later time.
Seek Help From a 3rd Party
Sometimes no matter how professional you try to be, a toxic person will not work with you. During these times, it is often prudent to bring in a third party to help mitigate the situation at hand. Sometimes a third party can help the toxic person see things from your point of view, or even allow for a toxic person’s ideas to be presented in a more palatable format. Whichever the case, a third party can often mean a new perspective and a fresh idea when everything else has been exhausted.
Pay Attention to Your Body Language and Posture
Toxic people are adept at reading your body’s cues and reading your posture. They are looking for weak areas in your defenses, places where your armor is not quite as strong. Things such as crossing your arms, pounding your fists on the table, biting your lower lip, and even glowering can be prime indications that you are frustrated or mad – perfect opportunities for a toxic person to make their move. Instead, try and keep a relaxed pose, with your arms loosely at your sides and your breathing steady and normal. If they can’t see a way to agitate you, chances are they won’t even try. Plus, keeping a relaxed pose has been shown to aid in keeping your mental state relaxed and reduce stress.
Revenge is not worth it
Many a movie and book have been created through the idea of revenge. However, in practical terms, revenge is really not all that it is cracked up to be, especially when dealing with toxic people. In truth, it will often make you look even worse than the toxic person that instigated the desire for revenge. Instead, use those feelings for revenge and re-focus them into becoming a better person, professional, or partner. The world itself will eventually bring its own justice to the toxic person. Why put more effort into it when you clearly don’t need to? Trust me, the higher road is the better one to take.
Create an Exit Plan
If you know that you are going to encounter a toxic person, take the time to plan and exit strategy. This can be as simple as “remembering an appointment” to requesting more time to research some new information. The trick is to get out of the situation as quickly and as professionally as you can before it turns bad. Remember though, to keep your interaction, no matter how brief professional and above board.
Often the only way that a toxic person can truly affect you is if you let them. By answering their vitriolic remarks with words of kindness or a smile, you’ll find that the impact of their attacks won’t be as great. It is also a great way to keep your mind focused on the task at hand, and not worrying about how you’re going to best them during the next round. While it probably won’t change their outlook, it will certainly improve yours.
Avoid the Situation and the Person
Every so often, however, there are people and situations that cannot be fixed or alleviated, no matter how hard you try. If you find yourself in this situation, sometimes the best course of action is to walk away. Life is entirely too precious, and too short to waste it on people who bring you down to a level you don’t want to be at. However, if avoidance isn’t a viable option for you, perhaps one of these other methods will be effective.
Article source: Tracey Marks, MD