I’ve known Betty since childhood. She’s the most direct and uncensored person I know. She says her opinions like it is and I love her for that. Though it hasn’t helped much with her relationship with others. Betty is a great friend and her scrutiny and criticism has helped me a lot of times.
Two years ago, Betty worked for a software development company. It was a dream come true until she met Alex, her supervisor. From a cursory glance, Alex seemed okay: charming and admired. Two months into the job, Betty called and said she couldn’t take it anymore.
“Vhoo, his demeanor is sophomoric. When he steps into the office, it’s like there’s this miasma of toxicity,” she said. “I can’t stand him, he’s always complaining about something, always bringing up the negatives in the past. Nothing is his fault,” she added. “Can you believe he blamed me for an error he caused on a project?” I was quiet. I knew the best part was coming.
She continued by recalling an incident. “So on Tuesday, he came to my desk to enquire about a debugging issue he assigned to me. I told him I was working on it and he started to complain about how slow I was. I got infuriated and I spoke my mind.” I burst into laughter because I knew what that implied. She had given him a personality diagnosis, expressed her feelings, and recommended some resources. They argued and she quit the job the following month. Her dream job.
Betty currently works with another software development firm and has pleasant co-workers. Betty was not the first person to notice Alex’s attitude. The others chose to avoid him which was almost impossible. Are you an Alex? Find out here. It’s tough to reevaluate your situation when it’s habitual. However, see this as an opportunity to improve and create a better personality.
We have all come across toxic people all the time. It could be your negative partner or the whiner at the back of the bus or your incessant complaining neighbor. You may have them in your life because of the sense of guilt you may feel for being disloyal or they just happen to be a part of day-to-day activities.
Nevertheless, knowing how to deal with toxic people could be the difference between feeling chirpy and feeling extremely exhausted and demotivated. Here are seven ways to effectively deal with toxic people.
#1. Quit pretending you’re okay with their behavior.
Pretense creates an illusion of hope. Hope that someone would change their behavior. As this hope continues to elude us, we continue to make excuses for their misdemeanor. This ineffective approach has to change. They may change their behavior someday but in the present, we should admit to ourselves that we’re not okay with their behavior.
Admitting to ourselves helps us dissipate the fog of the illusion. With a clearer perspective, devoid of any impetus we had for hoping they’d change, we can quit pretending to be okay with their behavior. It’s not okay to be toxic and it’s even worse to pretend to be okay with toxicity.
You can only receive better when you stop trying to adapt to their toxicity with pretense. That facade is unhealthy and it only delays the inevitable so much. Suffering in silence is not the way to deal with a toxic person. You’ve had enough of the manipulation, disrespect, abuse, and unhappiness. It is time you dealt with the problem and doing it effectively requires that you quit pretending you’re okay.
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#2. Be like Betty and speak up.
After dropping the facade, it’s time to speak up. Bottled up emotions have a dramatic way of revealing themselves. In being like Betty, you don’t have to give them a critical personality diagnosis. The goal is to express your feelings about their behavior and have a conversation.
You don’t need to give the whiner at the back of the bus your two cents about his attitude. You could if the Holy Spirit directs but I wouldn’t recommend that. You want this toxic person to open up so you don’t speak up by attacking them. As a friend or colleague, you listen then you express your concern. You may be the first person to point out such behavior and you’d be surprised by the impact. Speak up.
Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higherOprah Winfrey
#3. Create a time boundary.
When a toxic person is a part of your day-to-day, a suitable way of dealing with them is by setting a time boundary. Being enveloped in the miasma of toxicity demotivates and drains your energy. It’s imperative to have a time limit on your association with them.
You expressed your feelings, however, they seem to have forgotten about the conversation after a week. It’s time to reduce the time you spend around them and keep your distance.
#4. Talk to inspiring friends after each encounter.
To be effective in your dealings with toxic people, you would need the help of inspiring friends. No, not the motivational speaker among your friends. It could be a friend from college who sends you funny memes and makes you laugh or that optimistic co-worker who can rejuvenate you in seven words. Surrounding yourself with great friends could be your best arsenal in dealing with toxic people.
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#5. Find or create your personal detoxifier.
Music, a framed photo of your family, stress balls, or live wallpapers. There are a variety of options to choose from. It could be a comedy podcast or an old chat with your best friend. Whatever it is. Find and create that detoxifier. Some people have been able to create a resilient aura such that no amount of bad can pervade. You could too.
I can always correct my mood with some music from Bethel music, Eminem, J. Cole, and Kendrick Lamar. You could create a stress playlist or download an app like Calm to serve you the best of serenity tunes. You don’t have to feel grumpy at the end of the day because of some toxic dude. Detoxify yourself and radiate that positive energy.
#6. Understand that it’s not about you.
Some people tend to succumb to the thought that they are the reason for others attitudes. Especially those in relationships with toxic partners. They tend to rationalize their partner’s attitude by assuming the blame. HE-double-hockey-sticks no!! It’s not about you. Period.
Toxic people are the way they are due to years of cultivating negative habits. This has nothing to do with you. If you’re in a relationship with a toxic partner, you could try the following:
- Open them up through conversation.
- Be specific about what you dislike and the change you wish to see.
- Request their permission to remind them when they are drifting off.
- Enlist the assistance of a third party if you both agree it’s needed.
You should never blame yourself for another’s action. Irrespective of the justification, it’s not right.
#7. Get closure and detach
When you’ve done all could but this toxic person seems obstinate. If possible, it’s time to let go. Letting go is always difficult and painful. You could have been friends for years. However, staying in a relationship at the detriment of your mental health is uncalled for. No matter how hard it is. It is always worth it.
Letting go should be the last or first resort depending on the circumstance. If you can tell a person is toxic from afar, flee. But if you’ve been together with the person for some time, try the above, then resort to letting go, if everything else fails. The ends could just be the start of something great. Explain the demise, get your closure and detach. You won’t regret it.
The above solutions are effective for different circumstances. If it’s possible to completely avoid a toxic person, do so. If they’re a part of your day-to-day life, the above actionable tips would prove more effective.