“Toxic people attach themselves like cinder blocks tied to your ankles, and then invite you for a swim in their poisoned waters.” John Mark Green.

Dealing with toxic people can be one of the most challenging aspects of navigating our social and professional lives. It’s a situation that can leave us feeling drained, frustrated, and even defeated. We’ve all encountered those individuals who seem to exude negativity and make it their mission to spread their toxic energy to those around them. Whether it’s a colleague at work, a family member, or a friend, their toxic behaviour can affect our mental health, happiness, and overall well-being. But the good news is that we don’t have to suffer in silence. There are ways to handle toxic people effectively and regain control of our lives.

So, let’s dive into the 10 strategies to help us deal with toxic people and find peace in even the most challenging situations.

1.Set Boundaries

Toxic individuals often overstep boundaries and engage in behaviour that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Therefore, it is essential to establish clear boundaries and communicate them effectively. Boundaries are like an invisible fence that establishes what is and is not acceptable behaviour. When we set boundaries, we create a line that the other person cannot cross without consequences. To set boundaries effectively, we must be clear and specific about what we will and will not tolerate. For example, if a friend constantly makes snide comments about your appearance, you can set a boundary by telling them that you find those comments hurtful and unacceptable.

If they continue to make those comments, you may need to distance yourself from them or end the friendship altogether. Setting boundaries can be uncomfortable and scary, but protecting our mental and emotional well-being is crucial. It’s important to remember that boundaries are not about controlling the other person’s behaviour but about taking care of ourselves. By setting boundaries, we communicate our needs and values and create a space where we can feel safe and respected. Never forget that boundaries are not meant to be punitive but are necessary for your well-being.

2.Identify the Toxic Behaviour

Toxic behaviour can manifest in many forms, including verbal abuse, manipulation, passive-aggressiveness, etc. Recognising these behaviours is important because it allows

us to avoid triggering them and protect ourselves from their harmful effects. For example, if a colleague tends to become defensive and hostile when their ideas are challenged, we can approach them in a non-threatening way or choose to discuss the matter privately.

Identifying toxic behaviour can also help us avoid getting caught up in drama and maintain our emotional stability. It’s important to note that toxic behaviour is not always obvious and can sometimes be disguised as helpful or charming. It’s essential to recognise our feelings, reflect accurately and look for patterns of behaviour that are consistently harmful. Once we identify toxic behaviour, we can protect ourselves and minimize its impact on our lives. This may involve setting boundaries, seeking support from others, or removing ourselves from the situation altogether.

3.Avoid Engaging in Drama

“Toxic people will pollute everything around them. Don’t hesitate. Fumigate.” Mandy Hale

Drama can be described as any situation that involves heightened emotions, conflict, or tension. Toxic people often thrive on drama and may intentionally create it to draw attention to themselves or to manipulate others. By refusing to engage in drama, we can protect ourselves from their toxic behaviour and maintain our emotional stability. One way to avoid drama is to choose our battles wisely. Not every situation requires a response, and it’s important to prioritise our well-being over getting involved in unnecessary conflicts.

We can also avoid contributing to drama by refusing to gossip or spreading rumours. Instead, we can stay focused on the facts and avoid getting caught up in emotions. It’s also essential to avoid becoming a target of their toxic behaviour. This can be achieved by being assertive and confident in our interactions with them. By setting boundaries and communicating our needs effectively, we can avoid being drawn into their drama and maintain control of the situation. Ultimately, avoiding drama is about taking care of ourselves and refusing to get caught up in the negativity that toxic people can bring.

4.Don’t Take It Personally

When dealing with toxic people, it’s important to remember not to take their behaviour personally. Toxic people often have issues and insecurities that they project onto others. Their negativity, criticism, and manipulation do not reflect your worth or abilities. Instead, it’s often a reflection of their struggles and flaws. Taking the behaviour of toxic

people personally can lead to feelings of self-doubt, low self-esteem, and even depression or anxiety.

It’s important to remind yourself that their behaviour is not necessarily about you but rather a reflection of their inner world. Not taking their behaviour personally can protect your mental health and well-being. You can approach the situation with a clear and objective mind rather than becoming overly emotional or reactive. This can help you maintain your peace of mind and avoid getting drawn into their negative behaviour patterns.

5.Practice Empathy

Empathy involves putting yourself in another person’s shoes and understanding their perspective and feelings. While it can be difficult to empathise with toxic people, it can be a powerful tool for diffusing conflicts and improving relationships. When you practice empathy, you can better understand why someone behaves in a toxic or negative way. You can also identify their underlying emotions and needs, which can help you communicate with them more effectively. By showing empathy, you can create a sense of connection and understanding, which can help to de-escalate conflicts and improve communication.

While responding to toxic behaviour with defensiveness or anger may be tempting, practising empathy can help you respond more constructively. Instead of getting defensive or engaging in an argument, you can acknowledge the other person’s feelings and perspective. This can help to create a more positive and productive conversation and can help to prevent conflicts from escalating. Practising empathy can also help you to maintain your emotional well-being. By focusing on the other person’s perspective and feelings, you can take a step back from your emotions and avoid getting caught up in their negativity. This can help you feel calmer and more centred and prevent toxic people from draining your energy and emotional resources.

6.Seek Support

Dealing with toxic people can be emotionally draining and isolating, and seeking support can help you cope with your challenges. Talking to a trusted friend or family member can provide a listening ear and a different perspective while seeking the help of a therapist can provide professional guidance and support.

Research suggests seeking support, and

you can better understand the dynamics of your relationship with the toxic person and develop strategies for dealing with them.

Support can also help you to process your emotions and build resilience, which can help you to maintain your mental health and well-being. Moreover, seeking support is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength. It takes courage to reach out for help and acknowledge that you need support. By seeking support, you can gain the tools and resources to deal effectively with toxic people and create a happier, healthier life.

7.Practice Self-Care

Practising self-care is an essential tool when dealing with toxic people. It involves caring for your physical, emotional, and mental health needs. This can include engaging in activities that bring you joy, setting boundaries to protect your energy, and prioritising rest. Self-care can be as simple as taking a warm bath, walking in nature, or spending time with loved ones. It can also involve more intentional practices like mindfulness meditation, yoga, or journaling.

Research shows that self-care practices can reduce stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and build resilience. Taking care of your physical health is also an important aspect of self-care. This can include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. When you prioritise your physical health, you can feel more energized and focused, which can help you to better deal with toxic people.

8.Confront the Behaviour Directly

When confronting toxic behaviour directly, you can address the issue head-on and communicate your boundaries and expectations. This can help to prevent the toxic behaviour from continuing and can help to improve the relationship. When confronting toxic behaviour, it’s important to approach the situation with a calm and assertive demeanour. You can start by expressing your concerns and explaining how the behaviour affects you. Be specific about the behaviour causing the issue and how it impacts your relationship.

It’s important to communicate your boundaries clearly and assertively. Let the person know what behaviour is unacceptable and what consequences will occur if the behaviour continues. Be firm and consistent in enforcing your boundaries. Listening to the other person’s perspective and feelings is also important. Try to understand where they are coming from and what might be driving their behaviour. This can help to create a more constructive conversation and can help to prevent the situation from escalating.

9.Focus on Solutions, Not Blame

Blaming the toxic person for their behaviour can be tempting, but it’s not productive and can create a sense of defensiveness and resistance. Instead, focus on identifying solutions

that can improve the situation. This can involve identifying the root cause of the toxic behaviour and brainstorming ways to address it. For example, if the toxic behaviour results from poor communication, you can work on improving communication strategies to create a more positive and productive relationship.

It’s also important to focus on your reactions and behaviours. Instead of blaming the toxic person for your emotional reactions, focus on identifying ways to manage your emotions and reactions healthily and productively. This can include practising mindfulness, developing coping strategies, and engaging in self-care practices. Focusing on solutions can create a more constructive and collaborative approach to dealing with toxic people. This can help prevent the situation from escalating and create a more positive and productive relationship. It can also help you develop the problem-solving skills and resilience you need to navigate difficult situations.

10.Practice Mindfulness

When practising mindfulness, focusing on your breath and bodily sensations is important. This can help you to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions and to observe them without reacting. By cultivating a sense of inner calm and detachment, you can reduce the impact of toxic behaviour and maintain your sense of well-being. Mindfulness can also help you to develop greater empathy and understanding for the toxic person.

You can gain insights into their motivations and underlying issues by being fully present and attentive to their words and actions. This can help create a more compassionate and constructive approach to toxic behaviour. Practising mindfulness can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths, closing your eyes, and focusing on the present moment. You can also incorporate mindfulness into your daily activities, such as walking, eating, or washing dishes. By bringing mindfulness into your daily life, you can develop a greater sense of peace and clarity, which can help you to better navigate difficult situations and relationships.


Dealing with toxic people can be challenging, but learning how to handle them effectively can be crucial to protect your mental health and to maintain healthy relationships. Setting boundaries, identifying toxic behaviour, avoiding drama, practising empathy, seeking support, and practising self-care are all important steps to dealing with toxic people. Remember that toxic behaviour is not your fault and that you have the power to protect yourself and maintain healthy relationships. By following these tips, you can learn how to deal with toxic people effectively and maintain a positive outlook.


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