1. They Set Limits
(Especially With Complainers)
Complainers and negative people are bad news
because they wallow in their problems and fail to focus on
people to join their pity party so that they can feel better
feel pressure to listen to complainers because they don't want
to be seen as callous or rude, but there's a fine line between
lending a sympathetic ear and getting sucked into a negative
You can avoid
this only by setting limits and distancing yourself when
Think of it
complainer were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon
inhaling the second-hand smoke?
yourself, and you should do the same with complainers.
way to set limits is to ask complainers how they intend to fix
either quiet down or redirect the conversation in a productive
2. They Don't Die in the Fight
people know how important it is to live to fight another day,
especially when your foe is a toxic individual.
unchecked emotion makes you dig your heels in and fight the kind
of battle that can leave you severely damaged.
When you read
and respond to your emotions, you're able to choose your battles
wisely and stand your ground only when the time is right.
3. They Rise Above
drive you crazy because their behavior is so irrational.
Make no mistake
about it - their behavior truly goes against reason. So why do
you allow yourself to respond to them emotionally and get sucked
into the mix?
irrational and off-base someone is, the easier it should be for
remove yourself from his or her traps. Quit trying to beat
toxic people at their own game.
yourself from them emotionally and interact with them as if they
were a science project (or you were their shrink, if you prefer
You don't need
to respond to the emotional chaos, but only to the facts.
4. They Stay Aware of Their Emotions
emotional distance requires awareness.
You can't stop
someone from pushing your buttons if you don't recognize when
it's happening. Sometimes you'll find yourself in situations
where you'll need to regroup and choose the best way forward.
This is fine
and you shouldn't be afraid to buy yourself some time to do so.
Think of it
mentally unstable person approaches you on the street and
tells you he's John F. Kennedy, you're unlikely to set him
When you find
yourself with a co-worker who is engaged in similarly derailed
thinking, sometimes it's best to just smile and nod.
If you're going
to have to straighten him out, it's better to give yourself some
time to plan the best way to go about it.
5. They Establish Boundaries
This is the
area where most people tend to sell themselves short.
They feel like
because they work or live with someone, they have no way to
control the chaos. This couldn't be further from the truth.
found your way to rise above a person, you'll begin to find his
or her behavior more predictable and easier to understand.
This will equip
you to think rationally about when and where you have to put up
with toxic people and when you don't.
even if you work with someone closely on a project team, that
doesn't mean that you need to have the same level of one-on-one
interaction with this person that you have with other team
establish a boundary, but you'll have to do so consciously and
If you let
things happen naturally, you are bound to find yourself
constantly embroiled in difficult conversations. If you set
boundaries and decide when and where you'll engage a difficult
person, you can control much of the chaos.
The only trick
is to stick to your guns and keep boundaries in place when the
person tries to encroach upon them, which will inevitably
6. They Won't Let Anyone Limit Their Joy
When your sense
of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from the opinions of
other people, you are no longer the master of your own
emotionally intelligent people feel good about something that
they've done, they won't let anyone's opinions or snide remarks
take that away from them.
impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of
you, you don't have to compare yourself to others, and you can
always take people's opinions with a grain of salt.
That way, no
matter what toxic people are thinking or doing, your self-worth
comes from within.
what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is
certain - you're never as good or as bad as they say you are.
7. They Don't Focus on Problems - Only Solutions
Where you focus
your attention determines your emotional state.
When you fixate
on the problems you're facing, you create and prolong negative
emotions and stress.
When you focus
on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create
a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and
When it comes
to toxic people, fixating on how crazy and difficult they are
gives them power over you. Quit thinking about how troubling
your difficult person is, and focus instead on how you're going
to go about handling him.
This makes you
more effective by putting you in control, and it will reduce the
amount of stress you experience when interacting with him.
8. They Don't Forget
Emotionally intelligent people are quick to forgive,
but that doesn't mean they forget.
requires letting go of what's happened so that you can move on.
It doesn't mean you'll give a wrongdoer another chance.
people are unwilling to be bogged down unnecessarily by others'
mistakes, so they let them go quickly and are assertive in
protecting themselves from future harm.
9. They Squash Negative Self-talk
absorb the negativity of other people.
wrong with feeling bad about how someone is treating you, but
your self-talk (the thoughts you have about your feelings) can
either intensify the negativity or help you move past it.
self-talk is unrealistic, unnecessary, and self-defeating. It
sends you into a downward emotional spiral that is difficult to
pull out of.
avoid negative self-talk at all costs.
10. They Limit Their Caffeine Intake
caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline.
the source of the fight-or-flight response, a survival mechanism
that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when
faced with a threat.
The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps
rational thinking in favor of a faster response. This is great
when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you're
surprised in the hallway by an angry co-worker.
11. They Get Some Sleep
this one to death over the years and can't say enough about the
importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence
and managing your stress levels.
When you sleep,
your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day's
memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams),
so that you wake up alert and clear-headed.
self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you
don't get enough - or the right kind - of sleep. Sleep
deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even
without a stressor present.
A good night's
sleep makes you more positive, creative, and proactive in your
approach to toxic people, giving you the perspective you need to
deal effectively with them.
12. They Use Their Support System
yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by
To deal with
toxic people, you need to recognize the weaknesses in your
approach to them. This means tapping into your support
system to gain perspective on a challenging person.
We all have
someone at work and/or outside work who is on our team, rooting
for us, and ready to help us make the best of a difficult
individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their
insight and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as
explaining the situation can lead to a new perspective.
Most of the
time, other people can see a solution that you can't, because
they are not as emotionally invested in the situation.