Toxic people have a way of interacting that is beyond all logic and reasoning. This can make them especially frustrating for intelligent people.

However, where there is a will, there’s away. And while it can be difficult to shut a person out entirely, it’s important to deal with a toxic person in a certain way. Otherwise, the person will continue to add stress and frustration to your life, which isn’t good for anyone.

If you have someone in your life that is constantly draining you, is self-absorbed and self-centered, is manipulative and dishonest, and constantly creates drama in your life, you are likely a toxic person. You may be wondering, what am I supposed to do?

Here are some tips and tactics that intelligent people use to deal with toxic people.

1. Do not play into their reality.

Toxic people like to play the victim. And in their mind, they very well may perceive themselves as such. To maintain peace, you may feel prone to agree with them for the sake of your sanity. However, that is not a good approach. Instead, respectfully disagree with them.

2. Set limits.

While you may not be able to separate yourself from them entirely, you can set limits and distance yourself. And if this person is constantly coming around, and complaining or droning on about their latest drama, simply ask them “What are you going to do to fix this situation?” This can be a quick but effective way to redirect the conversation.

3. Learn to say no.

If this person continually comes around, bringing all of their emotion sapping toxicity with them, you will have to learn to say no, especially if you have set limits, and they still don’t get it. When they ask you to do something you don’t have time for or are coming to you with their hundredth complaint about the day- tell them, “I’m sorry I just can’t today.” Or simply say no to their requests.

4. Stay tuned in to how they make you feel.

When this person is around you, observe how you feel. When you are fully aware of how this person makes you feel, you will be better able to understand the best way to navigate the conversation.

5. Talk to them.

If a person is bringing nothing but drama into your life and is manipulating, gossipping, and constantly dragging you down, talk to them. But make sure to use I statements. Statements such as “I feel uncomfortable when I hear gossip,” or “I value honesty and trust in a friendship, so I can’t continue to be around you if you lie to me.”

6. Stop negative talk.

When this person is still bringing negativity around you, even after you have set limits and told them how you feel, when they come back around in a storm of negativity, change the subject. Or, leave the situation.

7. Don’t let them drag you into a fight.

Toxic people can be combative, and they love to engage in a heated argument. If they start to antagonize you or pick at you, do not let them drag you into a fight. Instead, tell them you don’t have time to fight with them, nor the energy, and walk away.

8. Know your weaknesses.

Be aware of what you cannot handle. In your mind, set clear limits for these weaknesses, and if you are triggered, you will know what to do. Make sure to have a real and actualized plan for when this happens and follow through.

9. Know your strengths.

If you have a knack for redirecting the conversation when it starts spiraling downhill, make sure you are prepared to enact that plan. Understand what your strengths are in a toxic relationship and use them when you can to protect your energy and maintain composure.

10. Do not forget.

Don’t be too quick to forget the past. Experience teaches us and we learn from it. While you can give second chances, use the experiences from the past to protect yourself using the knowledge you have.

11. Get support.

If you are dealing with a toxic coworker, get other coworkers to support you. Reach out to them and discuss what is happening. If this person is a toxic friend, get support from another mutual friend, or even from an outsider, if necessary. And if this person is toxic, try to have a mediator around that is neutral but understands this person’s demeanor.

12. Plan your reactions.

You likely already know what to expect from this person (for the most part,) and if there are certain things this person is doing that are leaving you drained, plan out how you want to handle them. Have a backup plan to either escape or shut them down.

13. Be solution-focused.

Don’t get hung up on the problem- instead work towards solutions. When you get too hung up on the negative aspects (problems) of the situation and overlook the solution- you are letting them win.

14. Stay rested.

Dealing with a toxic person is frustrating enough. And when we are sleep-deprived, we are not able to handle conflicts with toxic people. Instead, you are far more likely to get pulled down to their level when you are sleep-deprived because you are less emotionally controlled.

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