Everyone has come across negative or toxic people in their life. I bet as soon as you read that sentence, someone immediately popped into your head, right? There are toxic people everywhere, unfortunately.
Toxic people are like vampires – they suck out all of your energy. No matter how you act or what you say, they always seem to have some negative response. They usually think of themselves as a victim, they complain a lot, and they do nothing to fix whatever is making them such a Debby Downer.
Even if something good happens to them, they still somehow find something to complain about. And if you accomplish something good, they like to try to bring you down because it magnifies whatever is going on with them that’s bringing them down.
There are so many ways a person can be toxic but here’s just a handful of examples:
- They’re always trying to make you or everyone as miserable as they feel.
- They’re passive-aggressive and give you backhanded compliments.
- They’re green with envy and they try to bring you down to make themselves feel better.
- They’re always involved in (or starting) some sort of drama or trouble.
- They’re constantly criticizing people.
And there are many ways that their behavior can affect you but again, here are just a few:
- You feel drained of energy and happiness when you’re around them or after you interact with them.
- You feel like you’re being controlled or manipulated by them.
- You always or usually dread being around them or talking to them.
- You feel like you have to be overly cautious around them; scared to say or do the wrong thing.
There are so many causes or reasons for a person becoming chronically negative. But they’re all a challenge to deal with. And they all have one thing in common: they’re unhappy with themselves and/or something going on in their lives. You have to remember that it’s (usually) not about you.
I know they’re tough to handle, but here are some tips that can help you deal with toxic people!
1- Think about your thoughts.
Sometimes we see what we want to see. If you think you have a toxic person in your life, ask yourself a few questions. Like: What is it about them that you don’t like? Why do they affect you so badly? Are they really that bad? Maybe your mind is playing tricks on you and you’re only focusing on that person’s negative traits, even though they have some positive ones too.
2- Prepare yourself.
If you can, try to center yourself before you interact with a toxic person. Tell yourself not to be so easily affected by how the person acts or talks to you. Remind yourself that their negative attitude has nothing to do with you; it’s their problem, not yours.
3- Try your best not to judge them.
Sometimes it’s hard to be understanding of someone when their behavior bothers you. But instead of judging this person or assuming that they’re behaving this way for a certain reason, try to be open-minded. Not only could this person have a darn good reason (that you don’t know about) for acting the way that they are – but when you’re being negative towards them, they might mirror that negative energy right back to you.
4- Don’t argue with them either.
Toxic people (usually) tend to be more close-minded, stubborn, and difficult to get through to. Don’t argue with them if they irritate you because your words probably aren’t going to change their mind or their attitude. This will just cause unnecessary drama between the both of you and unnecessary negativity for you.
5- Offer to help them if you can.
As I said, a lot of times people are toxic because they have their own issues that they need to work out. So try asking them if there’s anything that they want to talk about or anything that they need help with. If they want to talk, just listen. If they need advice or help with something that you can help them with, go ahead and help. If they brush you off or act rude to you, just let it go; you tried.
6- Avoid any of their triggers.
This isn’t true for every toxic person, but sometimes people go into a toxic mode when a certain topic is brought up. For example, I know a fellow writer that goes into defensive mode when I talk about recent writing work that I’ve gotten. I don’t know why she does this, but I just don’t bring up that topic to her anymore whenever we talk. If you know someone like this, your solution could be as simple as avoiding whatever topic triggers their negativity.
7- Kill ’em with kindness.
I don’t mean this in the same context as some other people. I don’t mean being a fake-nice meanie or trying to get under their skin with your positive attitude. No, I mean to be genuinely kind to them. Try to cheer them up; compliment them, tell them a joke, etc. First of all, if this person is negative because of an issue they have with themselves, this could mean the world to them – this could really brighten up their day. Second, if this person is truly a meanie, there’s no better revenge than… well, killing them with kindness. 😉
You might like: Making a Difference with Random Acts of Kindness
8- Flip the script.
If you’re talking to a toxic person and they’re being pessimistic about something that’s happening to them, flip the script. When they’re done telling their negative story, or making their negative comments, ask them to tell you something positive that’s happened to them recently. Or change the subject to something lighthearted. Some people probably don’t realize how negative they are and this could easily help them look on the bright side of things.
9- Help them see things a different way.
A lot of times, negative people tend to play the victim and complain about situations that they actually have control over. Try to point this out to them, in a polite way. Let them know that there are ways that they can fix whatever it is that they’re complaining about. Suggest that they do something productive about whatever problems that they’re having. But remember to be nice about it.
10- Stay away from them altogether.
If people are so toxic that you can’t handle them no matter what you do, or how hard you try, maybe it’s time to just avoid them altogether. If you can’t completely cut them out of your life, at least avoid them as much as you can. I know running away or giving up isn’t the best way to handle a bad situation, but sometimes you have to put yourself and your emotional well-being first. This person could easily make you toxic and if there’s nothing you can do to help them, help yourself instead.
How do you deal with toxic people? Have you ever tried any of these tips before? Let’s chat in the comments!