How to handle toxic people!
When we strive to raise our emotional intelligence by living a more positive life, sometimes we go through a tough transition period having to deal with the negative nellies who surround us. Whether it’s family or friends, it takes a toll on us emotionally and sometimes even sabotages our dreams of a better life for ourselves.
Some toxic people are unaware of the negativity they carry throughout the day and unfortunately there are toxic people who derive satisfaction from creating chaos and inflicting emotional harm to us. Either way, both forms create massive stress for us.
The impacts of stress are proving to be quite serious. Hormones are disrupted, sleep is disrupted, it causes weight gain and more importantly stress directly impacts the wiring in our brains. When stress gets out of control, your brain suffers, your body suffers and your performance will suffer. It pretty much impacts body, mind and spirit……it impacts whether we THRIVE or just survive.
What do we do?
Negative people love to wallow in their problems rather than focusing on solutions. They love a pity party! We end up listening for way too long because we don’t want to be rude or insensitive. Set limits! If distancing yourself isn’t possible (maybe it’s your mom or your best friend) then set limits with questions. Ask them, “how do you intend to fix this?”, “what solutions have you researched?”, “what other options have you explored?” Most negative nellies will move onto another subject because they haven’t thought of any solutions. That’s not how they operate, it’s only about the problems. What also begins to happen is you will begin to set boundaries with these people. All of the sudden you become the person who asks too many questions…..you become the person who won’t listen…..and that is a great thing!
Rise above. Negative people attach stories to their events that happen or have happened in their life. Most of the time the stories are not even real. It’s like hearing about the 4-foot-long fish someone caught when in reality it was a foot long! Respond only to the facts. Ask them, “what are the facts of the situation?” and then guide them to finding solutions for the facts. If they are still sitting in their negative spiral then go back to the questions “based on the facts, how to plan on finding a solution?”
When someone is pushing your buttons, just smile! When we get a jolt of emotion especially when the person in front of us speaking is intent on proving us wrong or proving themselves right, it is very easy to fall into the trap of arguing; yelling; emotional disagreeing and even putting up the wall of silence. Just smile. This will buy you time to collect your thoughts. Another favorite of mine is to calmly and quietly sit back and let the person have their emotional outburst and then simply thank them for expressing how they see the situation and then calmly ask them if you can share your perspective on the situation. Either a calm will come over the discussion or you’ll see that the person you are engaged with is not quite ready to have a calm and collected discussion and then you can agree to carry on the conversation at a different time.
Don’t let others limit your joy. When your joy, happiness, pleasure or satisfaction is derived from the opinions of other people, you are no longer in control of your own happiness. When emotionally intelligent people feel good about something they’ve done or know that the circulating rumors going around the office have no basis in truth, they don’t let anyone’s opinions, comments, remarks or gossip take away their joy. Sometimes it stings, this is true, but when you have stretched your emotionally intelligent muscles far above toxic people, you usually don’t let yourself wallow in the sting for longer than 2 minutes!! I’ve made it a rule that I give negative thoughts; agitation; aggravation and worry no more than 1 minute in my brain.
Forgive toxic people! This doesn’t mean allow them to spew their negativity to you and around you, it just means you accept who they are and you have decided that you are best served by limiting contact with them so you move on. How many times do you claim to be Ms. Positivity and all you do is gossip with your girlfriends about the negative friend in your group? You deal with toxic people by forgiving them and ignoring them which means dropping their behaviors from your discussions. If you are going through a time right now with someone in particular and you are sitting around with a friend discussing all the things the other friend is doing to you or saying about you is an exercise in focusing on the problem. This is what toxic people do and you are engaging in toxic behavior. My question to you is “what is your solution?”
Use your support system! That friend that we just mentioned above, the one you complain to about the other friend who is gossiping about you……ask her or him for help to find a solution. Rather than focusing on the problem with them ask them for their help in finding a solution. Friends are a great source to brainstorm solutions!