Actually, there was more than one right answer! Having a generally bad temper, gossiping, being self-obsessed, or sucking up time are all signs of toxic behavior – but be discerning. There may be times where someone expresses a toxic behavior – but may not be a toxic person. Check out some of the differences:
Related Article: Is Your Friendship Worth Keeping?
Toxic people are everywhere. Your office, your neighborhood, the grocery store, your home. No matter where you go, you’re bound to run into someone that lives knee-deep in misery. Toxic people thrive on misery. They’re rarely positive and generally have nothing good to say about anyone.
If you get caught in the snare of one of these miserable souls, they can bring you down faster than you can try and stop them. Their energy penetrates yours, breaking down your happy shield and injecting negativity into your soul quickly.
So how do you take care of yourself when feeling under attack? Just remember, you don’t owe anyone an explanation for taking care of yourself. If their behavior is toxic to you – there is no need to justify it. Sometimes we can’t escape toxic people, like if we have to work with them everyday, but there are a few ways to protect ourselves from them:
You are allowed to terminate toxic relationships. you are allowed to walk away from people who hurt you. you are allowed to be angry, selfish, and unforgiving. you don’t owe anyone an explanation for taking care of yourself. -Unknown
- Set Boundaries
If you work with or live with a toxic person, that doesn’t mean they have to be where you are at all times. Set boundaries. If they want to go to lunch with you, tell them you have other plans, thank you very much. If they want to be part of your team at work, tell them you’ll consider it, but you’ve already got the team assembled and are moving forward. If they call you up and seemingly won’t end the conversation, say “You know what, I’ve actually got to go now but it was so nice talking to you. I’m hanging up now but we’ll talk soon. Bye!” If you don’t set boundaries, they will, and their boundaries will include preying on you.
- Stop Saying Yes
Some of us are afraid to say no. We don’t know how. If we’re people pleasers, we want to try and keep the peace, so it’s easier to say yes. Decide to say no. If the toxic person gets mad, does it really matter? After an attempt to intimidate you into doing what they want through their intense – possibly staged – reaction, they’ll leave you alone. Many times it drives them crazy to not get a reaction back since that is what they are seeking. Keep your cool and stay collected. Once they discover you’re not going to play along, they’ll go bother someone else.
- Slowly Let Them Go
Stop returning calls as much. Don’t text back until the next day. Don’t encourage outings. You’re allowed to pick and choose the kind of people you want to spend time with. There are beautiful people out there. Let the miserable, toxic ones go and embrace the ones that give you a reason to smile.
- Don’t Fight Back
Remember that miserable people want a fight. If they rile you up, they win. (Or so they think they do.) Don’t let them. No matter how much you want to lash back out, don’t. If you fight back, they become energized – it’s enjoyable for them. But if you just let them roar, eventually they’ll run out of steam – plus they’ll just look crazy if they keep it up. If they experience defeat enough times, they’ll stop.
- Love Them Through It
This is a tough one for some, but once you recognize that toxic people are toxic because they’re in pain, you might be willing to love them anyway. The truth is they’re not mad at you. They’re mad at themselves and are taking it out on you. Keep that in mind and mentally send them love. Positive vibes create more positive vibes. This is what we call compassion – it’s not easy to do at first when you feel under attack. But you’ll find it surrounds you with it’s own kind of shield of protection.
How do you stay positive when everyone is negative around you?