How To Identify & Manage Toxic People

Girl whispering into girl's ear --- Image by © November/Corbis
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Almost all of us have dealt with toxic people at some point in our lives. Toxic people aren’t just people who are having a bad day -they’re saboteurs, bullies, and repeat offenders. Classic traits of toxic people are: self-righteousness, jealousy/envy, dual personality, hypercritical, meddling, gossiping, abusiveness (verbal, emotional, psychological, physical) and general nastiness. Toxic people come from an unhealthy place -their intentions are never to be kind or supportive. They’re the people who act nice to your face and then gossip and put you down as soon as you leave the room. They almost never confront you directly. Instead they spread rumors and try to turn people against you -putting you in a vulnerable, confusing position. Make no mistake about it; if someone is gossiping and sabotaging you behind your back, it is emotional abuse and they are definitively toxic! Here’s how to identify and manage a toxic person.

Have A Conversation

First, try to solve the issue. Sometimes people aren’t horrible, they’re just unaware. If someone has offended you, it’s worth having a conversation to clear the air. Many of us do things -whether we’re distracted, tired, etc.- without realizing it may come off the wrong way. Approaching someone and making an effort to remedy the situation is usually the best way to deal with a problem. However, if someone has shown you to be repeatedly toxic, a conversation may not do much good.  Assess whether a person is actually toxic or if they just had a bad day. If someone has repeatedly thrown you under the bus, you can guarantee this person is definitely toxic and not just a one-time offender. Truly toxic people have on-going bad behavior.

Master the Art of Indifference

Sometimes the best reaction is no reaction. Toxic people can be unaware that they are toxic; other times they are purposely trying to get under your skin. Either way, mastering the art of indifference with toxic people is a skill you must learn. Learning to take what they say with a grain of salt and ignoring their negativity is the best thing you can do for your own well-being. They will likely at some point say something rude or try to get a reaction out of you -the only way to respond is with no reaction. Do not stoop to their level. Toxic people are often self-righteous and will almost never admit to their shortcomings. Remember: you can’t reason with unreasonable people. In such cases, indifference is your best friend.

Reduce Time Spent with Them

Sometimes we’re forced to be around toxic people, i.e at work, a family gathering, or mutual friend. This can be really tough, but the best thing you can do is reduce your time spent with them. Simply stop accepting invitations that involve toxic people. This doesn’t mean you have to stop going all together, but you can reduce how often you go. Pick and choose what events you absolutely must be at, and avoid the rest.

Remove Them

If all else fails, remove the toxic person from your life. This is very hard to do if it’s a family member, partner, colleague or close friend. No matter how hard it may be, if someone is affecting your well-being, it’s time to say #ByeFelicia! There is never a justification for bullying, verbal, emotional, physical, or psychological abuse.

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Desiree Rabuse is a social entrepreneur and Founder & Editor-in-Chief of StyleFox® Media. She’s been in the entertainment/media business for over a decade, working both in front of and behind the camera. She loves traveling, martial arts, philosophy, coffee, and helping people lead healthy, happy, more efficient lives.


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