Article written by Blog Post Contributor Maria
Maybe you’ve worked with someone who complained a lot or someone in your friend group turned into a “negative Nancy” over time. Perhaps you have a friend that always seems to have some type of drama going on, and it’s hard not to get roped into it. It can be draining to be around that negativity. Maybe you’ve heard the term “toxic relationship” or “toxic person”.
If you’ve been following this series, we’ve been talking about things we do that hurt our self-esteem. Now we're wrapping up the series with the third thing that can hurt our self-esteem: toxic people.
Signs Your Friend, Co-worker, or Relative is Toxic
So how can you tell you’re hanging around a negative person? A toxic person can be described by any or all of the following:
-complains a lot
-doesn’t encourage you
-doesn’t provide you with any support
-is never satisfied/grateful for what they have
-puts you down/belittles you
-yells at you
How They Make You Feel
In addition, what’s super important to notice is whether, after spending time with this person, you feel any of the following:
-have a negative outlook
-down on yourself
Above all, what’s important is how this toxic person or people affects you and your self-esteem. Here are a few tips on how to deal with a toxic person.
How To Cope With a Toxic Person
1. Stop and evaluate whether the person is toxic to you. Use the criteria I mentioned above to start. If they are putting you down, calling you names, or similar, I strongly believe you need to distance yourself from this person as much as you can. This type of behavior could even be considered verbal abuse.
2. Can you talk to the person about your concerns? Maybe no one’s ever told them they complain a lot or that they seem to seek-out drama. If the friendship is valuable to you, I suggest trying to talk to them calmly and from a place of love. Just know that the person may not take it well, but you can’t control that.
3. Give them a little time after the talk to see if they do try to make changes. Then you can decide whether you need to put some distance in between you or not.
4. If the toxic person is a co-worker, I would suggest always being cordial at minimum. Try to keep to yourself, spend time with other co-workers, or get to know someone new at the office. Be open-minded. You may end up with an amazing new friend.
5. Sometimes we grow apart from our friends and that’s okay. Evaluate the pros and cons of the friendship. Are you having fun when you are with this person? Can you rely on them? Do they encourage you and support you?
Everyone deals with toxic people at one time or another. Often, we learn from the situation and try not to make the same mistakes again. Focus on surrounding yourself with people that are positive and love you for you.
Maria Inoa, LCSW
Therapist, Public Speaker, & Blogger
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