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March 4, 2018

Working with Toxic People

Toxic people at work can turn the best office into a war zone since they are adept at fostering conflict, stirring things up, and causing dissension. Just as environmental toxins are poisonous, so too are toxic people! Here are some tips to protect yourself.

  • Stay away from gossips. Gossipers love to put people down and share everything negative about others. Not only does this hurt the targets of their comments, it hurts those who listen to them. If you associate with gossips, you will be lumped into the same category as they are—someone who is untrustworthy and must be avoided. Don’t fall into this trap. When someone starts gossiping, leave the area or be assertive and state that you don’t want to hear what they are going to say. See my blog post Dangers of Office Gossip.
  • Point out snipers. Snipers usually don’t make direct comments or state criticism because they don’t have the courage to say outright what they think. Instead, they rely on a sarcastic tone or state their hurtful comments as if they were teasing. This is a form of bullying. When confronted with a sniper, ask them to repeat what they said and explain what they meant. They dislike being called out, and this usually shuts them down. They will think twice before doing it again with you.
  • Avoid judgmental people. These people often have a fixed mindset. They are closed to new ideas and refuse to acknowledge that they have the power to change. They believe things will never get better, there’s no recourse, so why bother? Judgmental people criticize everyone and everything they disagree with and characterize them as wrong. Ask them for objective proof of what they are saying and be prepared to refute them.

Don’t let toxic people invade your life and space. If you can’t avoid them in the office, take steps to mitigate their influence over you. Establish boundaries and be assertive when communicating with them. Stay positive even if you feel overwhelmed since positivity will win out in the long run. See my blog post Does Positivity at Work Really Make a Difference? for more information.

Negative people need drama like oxygen. Stay positive, it will take their breath away. Unknown

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