Monday, January 6, 2020

3 Ways to Deal With Toxic People at Work

If you're like me and would like to begin 2020 by eliminating negativity from your life, then you're going to have to deal with those people at work who get on your last nerve.

You know exactly who I mean: the colleagues or bosses who love to manipulate others or are uncivil. They never say "please" or "thank you" and if they can find a way to insert a discouraging or mean-spirited thought into any discussion, they do it.

You've tried to be nice. You've tried to kill them with kindness. You've even tried to spar with them in a lighthearted way. But none of that works -- you often find yourself dreading work and the reason can be traced to the toxic person (or people) at work.

It might be funny if it wasn't so serious. Unlike some characters from "The Office," research has shown that such toxic people in real life can hurt your mental and physical well-being. They cause sleepless nights, damage your personal relationships and may even lead to bouts of depression.

Here are some ways to eliminate the influence negative co-workers or bosses have on your life:

1. Let it go. While it might feel good at first to have an after-work bitch session at the nearest pub, that isn't going to solve anything in the long run. All you're doing is wallowing in your misery -- and thinking about it more instead of less. Stop letting toxic people control you when you're not even at work. Find something else to help you channel your feelings -- take your dog on a walk, take up a hobby you've always wanted to try or go to a comedy club. Do things that make you feel positive about life.

2. Keep a journal. Instead of writing in your journal about how much you dislike the toxic person or negativity at work, instead write about the positive things that happen each day -- no matter how small. "The woman in the parking garage gave me a wonderful smile. " "The new client is really a funny guy and made me laugh." "Mark offered to get me coffee when he saw how busy I was."

3. Don't sink to their level. Nothing makes me feel worse about myself than to get into a disagreement or interaction with someone and I behave in a way that my Southern mom would term "ugly." Think about who you are and what you value and how being snide or negative is not in line with how you want to live your life. Then, find other ways to deal with someone toxic at work. If you become frustrated and angry with them, simply walk away or respond, "I'll have to get back to you" or "I really don't have anything to add" and leave. You cannot cut this person out of your life, but you can limit the time you spend around him or her.

Finally, be good to yourself. You're not going to always avoid negative people or negative emotions. But the more you practice staying positive and being true to yourself, the less impact such people will have on your work life.

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