Learn how to deal with toxic people in this guide. Audio version available here.
Having to deal with toxic people is one of the worst things that can happen to someone. But unfortunately, toxic people are very common, which makes knowing how to deal with toxic behaviour an essential skill.
Learn how you can deal with toxic people and their behaviour in today’s guide.
Last time I talked about toxic people and how to identify them. Knowing how to identify toxic behaviour is the first step in dealing with it, because often toxic behaviour isn’t very obvious, or you might be too close to the problem to see it.
Happens more than you think.
As such, learning how to identify toxic behaviour is very important in order to become aware of any such behaviour in your own life.
Once you know what to look out for comes the part of actually dealing with it, and that’s what’s this talk is going to be focused on. In fact, I have for you ten tips and strategies to help you deal with toxic people and behaviour – tips and strategies to help you get a handle on things, and to help empower you to deal with any such issues in the future.
But perhaps more importantly, these tips and strategies will help you to stop suffering in silence.
Ten ways to deal with toxic people
Here are the ten ways to deal with toxic people. These tips and strategies will get you started on effectively dealing with toxic people and behaviour.
Tip # 1: Communicate
The first tip or strategy I have for you for dealing with toxic people has to do with communicating.
Communication is nearly always the most effective way to deal with toxic behaviour.
Often, people do things that are toxic without even realising that they are doing it. We are all guilty of doing things that might not be the best thing to do, but it’s generally a result of our lack of awareness. It can be easy to miss things, or lack perspective, when you are the one doing something.
The point is, the person who is behaving in a toxic way in your case might be doing it without even realising that that is what they are doing, and as such when they find out the toxic behaviour should stop.
People are generally good, and want to behave well, especially when it involves someone they care about. So if you openly and honestly communicate with the person about their toxic behaviour, and the way it is affecting the people around them (namely you), that should deal with the situation.
Or, you can stay quiet.
Staying quiet is a great way to avoid confrontation, but it is also the best way to continue suffering in silence. So if you have someone in your circle who is a bit toxic, have an honest and open conversation with them.
That said, I do know that having an open conversation like that can be a bit of a scary thing to do – no one likes confrontation after all, and often conversations like that can become a bit confrontational. But go into it with honesty rather than with the goal of having an argument, and that will help.
Also, realise that open communication can be just what you need to resolve the whole issue and even get rid of the toxic behaviour in question, and that makes this worth a shot.
Communicate, don’t suffer in silence.
Tip # 2: Pay attention to how they make you feel
No one has a good day every day. We all have bad days, and some times, unfortunately, we might lash out at others, especially those we care about. But that sort of behaviour does not make anyone inherently toxic. What does, however, is when the negative behaviour is regular – the behaviour becomes toxic when the it happens a lot, when there is a pattern.
However, to notice that sort of pattern, you need to be aware of how someone’s behaviour makes you feel.
Often people don’t notice toxic behaviour until a lot of time has passed, but by then they have experienced a lot of suffering. It is much better to pay attention to how you feel on a regular basis so that you don’t end up absorbing toxic behaviour for a long time.
Practicing mindfulness, meditation and journaling can help you with this, so you might want to give those a shot if you don’t practice them already. These practices can also help you become aware of your own behaviour and actions, in case you are acting in a way, without knowing, that is not the best way to act…
Tip # 3: Don’t get drawn in
It can be easy to get on the train of negativity with a friend who always complains, but that is a terrible idea.
You might think that you are only being a good friend, but you are not – joining in only eggs them on and encourages toxic behaviour like constant negativity.
If there’s a genuine issue, you can sympathise without jumping on the negativity train. Saying something like “I’m sorry you feel that way” can be enough to let them know that you heard them.
Tip # 4: Don’t blame yourself
Do you blame yourself for something other people did, or do?
If you do, then you have toxic people in your life.
Sometimes the toxic behaviour you experience might make you feel like you are responsible, that you are to blame.
But that is very unhealthy for you, and can really take a toll on your mental health and wellbeing.
Remember, we are all responsible for our own behaviour. How someone else acts is their responsibility, not yours. So whatever else you do, do not blame yourself for someone’s toxic behaviour.
Tip # 5: Prioritise self care
Have you ever had a friend or family member who always needs your help? They always ask you for help, and because you care about them you help them. But what that sort of dependency does is prioritise their needs and wellbeing over yours.
Helping others is good, and is something you absolutely should do, but if the person in question is someone who is always in need of your help, and just takes, takes and takes, then you need to take a step back and evaluate the situation.
At the end of the way, healthy relationships are two-way streets – both parties give and take. But if you are the only one who gives, then that is a one-sided relationship.
When you keep supporting someone who doesn’t support you back, you sacrifice your energy and wellbeing for a selfish person, and prioritise their needs over your own. That is not a good relationship, and most certainly not a healthy one.
Invest in healthy relationships.
By all means, help others, but do not prioritise the needs of someone who only takes, takes and takes.
Here’s another important thing to remember when it comes to being there for others: taking care of yourself involves saving enough mental energy to look after your own wellbeing – you can’t do that if you spend all of it on others.
You need your own help too, so don’t ignore self care.
Tip # 6: Define your boundaries
One of the biggest reasons why people end up experiencing toxic behaviour for a long time is because they never defined their boundaries.
Defining your boundaries involves being clear on what you will and will not tolerate, and letting others know about it, especially when someone crosses the line.
If you aren’t sure about your boundaries, have a think about what they are, about what is not acceptable for you.
Having that clarity is important, because unless you are clear on where your sand in the line is, others will have no idea.
Tip # 7: Don’t try to fix the toxic person
Often people think that they can change the toxic person that is in their life. I’m not saying it is not possible. We all have the capacity to change – that’s what improving your mindset is all about after all.
We can all change how we think, and how we act.
That said, change will never happen for someone who is not willing. After all, you can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink the water.
You can’t help someone who doesn’t want the help.
So if you have someone toxic in your life, talk to them about their toxic behaviour rather than spending your time and energy on trying to fix them.
Tip # 8: Distance yourself
Often, it will make sense to distance yourself from the toxic behaviour. This can be particularly effective if the toxic behaviour in question is from an acquaintance like a work colleague.
You can politely remove yourself anytime they try to engage you with their toxic behaviour, and over time they should get the hint.
Distancing yourself can be an effective way to deal with toxic people, especially those who you aren’t very close to (like acquaintances at work etc).
Being nice is fine, but does not mean you need to keep experiencing toxic behaviour.
Tip # 9: Limit exposure
The ninth tip is a lot similar to the earlier point, but they are not the same. Limiting exposure involves cutting down the amount of time you spend with someone, often someone like a friend or family.
If the person is someone you feel stressed or anxious about meeting, then perhaps you need to reconsider meeting them. At the end of the day, why would you want to meet someone who makes you feel that way?
If they are someone who you value despite their toxic behaviour, try the other tips I mentioned earlier, like talking with them.
However, if none of the other tips work and you don’t want them completely out of your life, then cutting down on how much time you spend with them can be a good option.
Tip # 10: Cut ties
The last tip I have for you for dealing with toxic people is a permanent one, it’s where you completely cut ties with the person. This is a bit of a dynamite option, but it might be the only option you have left if none of the other tips work with the person, or even when the situation is just not tolerable or good for you.
Having people in your life is important, but not when those people do more harm than good.
That said, this is a drastic and final step, and only you can decide if it is the right one for you.
There you have it, ten ways to deal with toxic people.
To reiterate, the ten tips for dealing with toxic people are:
1. Communicate openly
2. Pay attention to how they make you feel
3. Don’t get drawn in
4. Don’t blame yourself
5. Prioritise self care
6. Define your boundaries
7. Don’t try to fix the person
8. Distance yourself
9. Limit exposure
10. Cut ties
Dealing with toxic people is not really something any of us like to do, but it is essential that you deal with it because the longer you experience the toxic behaviour, the more of a toll it takes on you.
If you have someone in your life whose behaviour is toxic, try one or more of these tips to deal with their behaviour. That will get you started on dealing with the issue.
Implementing what you have learned here is also the only way you are ever going to get a handle on the toxic situation so that it stops affecting your health and wellbeing negatively.
If you don’t do anything about the toxic behaviour, nothing will change, and you will keep suffering.
Don’t do that to yourself.
Now you have the knowledge to deal with toxic people, so don’t just suffer in silence – deal with it.
Look after yourself.
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