No doubt you’ve come across at least one toxic person within your work environment, school, or circle of friends. These people bring you down more than they lift you up. They can be verbally abusive, non-supportive, and emotionally draining.
You may not be in a situation where you can remove yourself from interacting with the person so here are some tips on how to identify if a person is toxic and steps to handle this type of person.
Signs of toxic people
You may be involved with someone that is toxic and not even realize it because it’s subtle or you have grown accustomed to it.
- You feel drained afterward an interaction. This can be emotionally, mentally or even physically depending on the person.
- They never give a true compliment. Their “words of encouragement” are backhanded compliments, sarcasm or just plain rude.
- They are very focused on themselves. They get jealous easily, resent others wins, see themselves as a victim and they have no interest in your personal life or what is important to you. They also rarely apologize because they don’t see themselves in the wrong.
- They are forceful. Toxic people typically don’t respect boundaries, are aggressive with others to get what they want, and don’t take no for an answer. They can be relentless in their pursuit to fill their own need or want.
Getting your life back
The first thing to consider is possibly removing the person or yourself from the circumstances that put the two of you together. This could be difficult depending on the length and type of relationship involved. Include others like a counselor or mentor if needed to help you navigate the situation.
Here are some tips if you have to deal with a toxic person. Each step is going to require you to have a real and honest conversation with the person.
- Build your self-awareness. Reflect on your relationship with the other person. Do you unknowingly support the behavior by giving in to demands or by giving them more attention then they need? There may be opportunities to make some adjustments here to begin pulling back the power of the relationship from the other person.
- Establish boundaries. Think about how the toxic person breaks your trust, invades your personal space or time and set clear boundaries with the person. Be fair and to the point.
- Be honest and give feedback. It’s okay to be assertive and to the point. “When you _____activity_____ I get/feel/become ____emotion_____. I need ________ going forward. I wanted you to know this because__________ (It impacts my work and I want to have a good relationship with you, I care about you, I want us both to do well, etc)
- Hold them accountable and keep the power. Now that you have had that tough conversation, the situation will only improve with your commitment to keeping them accountable. Call them out matter of factly and keep emotions in check when they cross your establish boundaries. If they are especially needy, hold your response unless it’s convenient for you or absolutely necessary to solve a larger issue. An example fo this would be someone inundating you with texts. Turn off notifications and get back to them later.
A toxic person does not have to dominate and control your happiness and quality of life. Take time to identify if they are a truly toxic person, take stock in what’s important to you, and how the relationship is holding you back. Find counsel and follow these actionable steps to bring balance and boundaries in the relationship.
Make a better tomorrow.