Boss Lady

5 Tips to deal with toxic people


Dealing with toxic people can really take the wind out of your sails. While most of us (hopefully) have colleagues, clients and other relationships that are 99% enjoyable, that 1% of unpleasantness, or that one person that causes grief, can seem to ruin it all.

Whether interacting with your difficult person is mildly irritating or fully combative, it can be much easier to handle these frictions – and the frustration or demoralization that can accompany then – than you might think.

Here are 5 tips you can use with difficult relationships and stop being at the effect of nasty behavior:

  1. Acknowledge the situation is not personal

In some circumstances, it is easy to realize that someone being difficult isn’t personal. A it’s once-off ordeal could be them having a bad day. But if we have ongoing issues with someone, we can tend to start looking at ourselves as the problem and wondering what we are doing wrong to incite their behavior. Even if they say their reaction, upset or attitude is because of you – it isn’t! The only person responsible for their choices, is them. You cannot make them choose anything. You may be a convenient target for them (simply by being in the same place and time), but it is never personal. You are not the cause.

  1. Don’t let it consume you.

What you put your attention on, grows. Obsessing and talking about the toxic people in your life only makes the problem grow bigger. Stuck in this mentality, you will feel like a victim of another’s actions and distract yourself from the moments you could be enjoying, the opportunities for levity, and the attention you could be putting on the creative and generative aspects of your business and life. Don’t miss out on your own life because of someone else’s behavior. If you get stuck in those thoughts, change them into a question like, “What can I choose that would be fun and productive for me right now?”

  1. Have gratitude rather than judgment.

Someone is doing their best to make you miserable – and you should be grateful? It may sound completely counterintuitive, but gratitude is one of the most powerful tools we have. Sitting in judgment of yourself or the other person is like getting on a carousel and never jumping off: “Why me? This is not fair. How dare they. This shouldn’t be happening.” You’ll go around in circles, seeing the same view over and over, with no change. Gratitude allows you to jump off the carousel, see things different and invite a fresh perspective. Even if it’s just for 20 seconds a day, ask, “What can I be grateful for about this situation or person?” Gratitude takes your focus off resentments and anger, allowing it to dissipate, and giving you some space to think and feel differently.

  1. Erase your history daily.

Think of your life like your internet browser history—if you clear it, it no longer sits there, clogging up the cache and reminding you of everything you were concerned with yesterday. Take this same approach with toxic people and your interactions with them. Rather than let the history or resentments of yesterday impact how you view things today, give everyone a clean slate. If you spend your time anticipating the worst, based on the past, you increase the chances of that exact thing showing up again. Erase the past and start over, every day. If you feel old resentments or the anticipation of a problem coming up in your mind, ask, “What else is possible here I haven’t considered?” and choose to be open to all possibilities, rather than approach that person with anger and frustration due to the past.

  1. Be you and don’t lose your sense of humor.

Of all the effects that having toxic people in your life can have, the diminishment of your enjoyment, of being you and doing what you love, is probably the worst. The good news is, you have total choice in this area. You can choose to make yourself small in reaction to others, you can choose to make their choice the most significant thing in your life, you can give up your joy in the face of unkindness, or you can keep being you, having fun, and not hold yourself back for anyone or anything. If you were truly being you, no matter what anyone else said, thought, or how they acted—what would you choose?

You don’t ever have to get stuck with difficult relationships or bad behavior. Use these tools to go beyond the usual sticking points of dealing with troublesome people, and you’ll stay in the driver’s seat at work and in life (and enjoy it!) with much more ease.

About Doris Schachenhofer

After completing her social work studies in Vienna, Doris Schachenhofer worked with children, homeless people, delinquent teenagers and prisoners transitioning back into the real world. As an Access Consciousness® facilitator, she now travels the world supporting people to be more of themselves. The classes she delivers both live and in online settings includes Right Voice for You, Being You, Conscious Parents and Conscious Kids, all specialty programs of Access Consciousness. Follow Doris here.

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