12 Ways Successful People Handle Toxic People

The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control. One of their greatest gifts is the ability to neutralize toxic people. Top performers have well-honed coping strategies that they employ to keep toxic people at bay.

While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that successful people employ when dealing with toxic people, what follows are twelve of the best. To deal with toxic people effectively, you need an approach that enables you, across the board, to control what you can and eliminate what you can’t. The important thing to remember is that you are in control of far more than you realize.

While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that successful people employ when dealing with toxic people, what follows are 12 of the best. They Set Limits (Especially With Complainers) Complainers and negative people are bad news because they wallow in their problems and fail to focus on solutions. 12 Ways Successful People Deal With Toxic People. One of my Facebook friends - and one of the few I've actually once met in real life - just shared this on their wall. In carefully familiarizing myself with these 12 very effective sounding ways of 'disengaging' from the impact toxic people can have on.

12 Ways Successful People Handle Toxic People. Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive. Being able to recognize toxic behavior puts you in a better position to handle interaction with a manipulative person. Here is a list of examples of toxic behavior some people use to manipulate others to their own advantage and how to minimize damage to yourself. 1) They are never act the same. Toxic people are manipulative. Their modus operandi is to get people to do what they want them to do. It’s all about them. They use other people to accomplish whatever their goal happens to be.

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 solutions. They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. People often 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 their negative emotional spiral.

You can avoid this only by setting limits and distancing yourself when necessary. Think of it this way: if the complainer were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with complainers. A great way to set limits is to ask complainers how they intend to fix the problem. They will either quiet down or redirect the conversation in a productive direction.

2. They Don’t Die in the Fight

Successful people know how important it is to live to fight another day, especially when your foe is a toxic individual. In conflict, 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 only stand your ground when the time is right.

3. They Rise Above

Toxic people 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?

The more irrational and off-base someone is, the easier it should be for you to remove yourself from their traps. Quit trying to beat them at their own game. Distance yourself from them emotionally and approach your interactions like they’re a science project (or you’re their shrink, if you prefer the analogy). You don’t need to respond to the emotional chaos—only the facts.

4. They Stay Aware of Their Emotions

Maintaining an 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 this way—if a mentally unstable person approaches you on the street and tells you he’s John F. Kennedy, you’re unlikely to set him straight. When you find yourself with a coworker who is engaged in similarly derailed thinking, sometimes it’s best to just smile and nod. If you’re going to have to straighten them 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. Once you’ve found your way to Rise Above a person, you’ll begin to find their behavior more predictable and easier to understand. This will equip you to think rationally about when and where you have to put up with them and when you don’t. For example, 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 them that you have with other team members.

When you get disappointed then it can hurt. Sometimes a bit. Sometimes a lot.

It can drag you down into a negative funk for days or even weeks.

But if you learn how to deal with that disappointment in a healthier and more helpful way then it can be less a lot less scary and painful and actually a springboard or learning experience for further personal growth.

That’s at least been my experience in the past decade.

And in this post I’d like to share 12 steps, tips and habits that I’ve learned over the years and that help me to both handle disappointment and to reduce the situations where I get disappointed in the first place.

1. First, accept how you feel.

Disappointment hurts. And that’s OK.

Don’t try to push it away. And don’t try to hide it under a big smile.

I’ve found that it works better to not be swept away by such tempting impulses.

But to instead accept how I feel. To let it all in and to hurt for a while.

Because if I do then it will go quicker and in the long run be less painful to process what has happened.

If I on the other hand reject how I honestly feel then those emotions can pop up later and at unexpected times. And make me moody, pessimistic or passive aggressive.

2. Remember, you are not a disappointment.

Just because you may have been disappointed, had a setback or made a mistake and disappointed someone else doesn’t mean that you are a disappointment or failure.

And this situation that you’re in right now won’t last forever. Even if it might feel that way today.

The truth is:

  • Just because you were disappointed today or you disappointed someone doesn’t mean that you’ll be or do that tomorrow or the next time.
  • This does not label you as a disappointment (unless you choose to put that label on yourself).
  • If you keep moving forward and you keep taking action then you’ll move on and you'll improve.

3. Learn from it.

12 Ways Successful People Handle Toxic People

Instead of getting lost in the pain and negative emotions that can come from a disappointment choose to see it more as something you can learn valuable things from (and something that’ll help you to grow).

You can do that by asking yourself better questions.

Questions like:

  • What is one thing I can learn from this?
  • How can I adjust my course to avoid this disappointment in the future?
  • What is one thing I can do differently the next time?

Maybe you learn that you can likely communicate better the next time when you're in a similar situation or working together with someone else on a task or project.

Or that you need to give yourself a better balance between rest and work to avoid mistakes or to think more clearly.

You might even realize that you need to make a bigger change in your life and start spending less time – or no time at all – with someone who has disappointed you too many times (or always makes you feel like a disappointment no matter how hard you try).

4. Remind yourself: disappointment will happen if you go outside of your comfort zone.

Who is never disappointed? Or never feeling low about a setback or a mistake?

The people who never really go outside of their comfort zone.

Everyone who is now successful and you may look up to have had his or her share of disappointments and failures.

Setbacks and sometimes feeling disappointed is a natural part of living your life fully. A sign of you trying to grow and improve your situation.

I’ve found that just keeping this fact in mind helps me to stay strong and to more easily handle my own stumbles and setbacks.

5. Refocus on what you still got in your life.

To move on shift your focus to what you still got in your life.

The people, the passions and the things you sometimes may take for granted like a roof over your head and clean water.

Tapping into gratitude in this way helps me to put things into perspective and to not let a disappointment overwhelm me and derail my whole week.

6. Talk it over with someone close to you.

Getting a healthier and wider perspective on what happened is, as already mentioned, a vital part of dealing with disappointment in a better way.

And one of the most powerful ways to do that is in my experience to let it out into the light and to talk it over with someone close to you.

By venting as your friend just listens you can release that inner pressure, sort things out for yourself and accept what has happened instead of trying to push it away or ignoring it.

And if the two of you have a conversation about it then you can see the situation through someone else’s eyes and from another perspective.

This person can help you to ground yourself and to not make a mountain out of a molehill. And the two of you can together come up with the start of an action-plan for how you will move forward.

7. If your expectations are of perfection, then adjust them.

If you demand or expect perfection from yourself or from other people then you’ll often be disappointed.

So adjust your expectations a bit.

If you’re disappointed in what you did, what someone else did or how a situation turned out in your life ask yourself:

Will this matter in 5 years? Or even 5 weeks?

That’s one thing that has helped me greatly to not make mountains out of molehills and to adjust my own expectations.

Another helpful thing is simply to remind yourself that if you buy into myths of perfection then you will hurt yourself and the people in your life.

Because such myths that you may have picked up from movies, songs and simply what the world or Instagram highlight reels are telling you will clash with reality and tends to:

  • Cause much stress and suffering within you and in the people around you.
  • Get you stuck in procrastination because you become fearful of being disappointed or disappointing someone else once again.
  • Harm or possibly lead you to end relationships, jobs, projects etc. because your expectations are out of this world.

Keeping this reminder at the forefront of my mind – and sometimes written down on a piece of paper – has definitely helped me to adjust my expectations and reduce my own suffering and disappointments.

8. Take a break (and find other ways to reduce your stress levels as you move forward).

Just focusing on your goals and working towards them all the time can cause unnecessary stress and make you lose your perspective.

And sometimes you just need a break to get over a disappointment. So take some time to rest up, recharge and to have some fun.

After you've taken that time off from your goals and dreams you’ll likely be in a better place to accept and learn from what happened and to then move forward once again.

When you’re in this more level-headed place then also take a bit of time to see how you can plan for a better balance between work and restful downtime.

I’ve found that when my balance between those two things is in order then it is usually quite a bit easier to handle setbacks and things not going as I’d like in a more constructive and mentally centered way.

9. Get outside of your own head.

If you know you have a tendency to get stuck in mulling over a negative situation for too long and going down into a downward spiral then get out of your own head and thoughts bouncing around in there.

Two ways to do that and to focus your attention outward is to:

  • Help someone out. Help a friend plan for a party or a meeting at work. Or help him with moving boxes and other stuff into his new home. Or simply be fully there and listen to her as she vents about a disappointment in her life.
  • Exercise. I find that lifting weights or going out for a long walk is a great way for me to focus outward once again, to renew my energy and to sharpen my focus.

10. Find energy and motivation again with the help of others.

Lift your spirits, up the motivation and your positive thinking with the help of others.

It could be with the help of conversations with friends, family or co-workers.

But also help from other people further away in the world (and sometimes in time). Renew that focus and motivation to keep moving towards your dreams with the help of for example:

  • Books (motivational ones or perhaps biographies of people you look up to) and podcasts.
  • Movies, TV-shows and Youtube-channels.
  • Online forums and social media channels.

Spend anywhere from 10-60 minutes with one or a few such sources to find new energy and a shift in your thinking.

11. Find a small step to start moving forward again.

After you have accepted the situation, perhaps learned a thing or two from it and upped your motivation again start to move forward.

12 Ways Successful People Handle Toxic People Get

You don't have to take a big and bold leap though.

12 Ways Successful People Handle Toxic People At Work

When I’m in this place myself I usually try to come up with at least the start for a small action-plan for how to go forward. I do that together with someone – like for example my wife – or on my own.

Then I break that plan down into small action-steps. And get to work with the first of those steps.

If I start procrastinating on that step then I break it down into even smaller steps and take action on one of those.

12. Improve your self-esteem.

Improving my self-esteem has helped me to avoid getting dragged down too far into self-criticism and negative emotions after a disappointment.

It has also helped me to not get disappointed in myself as often as I used to but to handle a setback with a more level-headed mind and more emotional stability.

This also makes it easier to not blame others to feel better about myself and to learn more from this situation and get better results the next time.

So how do you improve your self-esteem?

A couple of the most helpful tips and habits I’ve found are:

12 Ways Successful People Handle Toxic People Want

Write down 3 things in the evening that you appreciate about yourself.

Take a couple of minutes at the end of your day to ask yourself: What are 3 things I can appreciate about myself?

Write down your answers in a notebook, on your laptop or a smart phone. This will help you to start focusing on the positive things about yourself and to stop being so self-critical.

Stop falling into the destructive comparison trap.

12 Ways Successful People Handle Toxic People

If you compare what you have, what you’ve done and who you are to other people and their lives then you’ll most often start to feel depressed and bad about yourself.

Because there’s always people ahead of you.

So choose another way of comparing instead. Start comparing yourself to yourself. See how far you’ve come. What you’ve overcome. And focus on how you’ve improved your results.

12 Ways Successful People Handle Toxic People

Those are just two helpful habits for improving your self-esteem.

12 Ways Successful People Handle Toxic People Happy

You can also use much of what you find in this article such as being constructive in the face of adversity, being kinder and more helpful to others, not thinking that YOU are disappointment just because of one setback and replacing perfectionism with something healthier.

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