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There you are minding your own business when someone’s toxic behavior blindsides you. Being around toxic people can be draining and managing your personal space can be challenging. It’s not always possible to escape a toxic person but there are things you can do to redirect their behavior.
Toxic people are not aware of themselves
Most toxic people behave in ways that protect their fragile psyche. They likely cling to these behaviors because they make them feel safe, powerful, or in control. That’s usually because they have felt unsafe, powerless, and out of control at key points in their lives. It may also be due to their childhood and the social climate they were raised in. That means their toxic behavior makes perfect sense to them in the grand scheme of their lives. Given their toxicity works for them, they are not always aware of how…toxic…they seem to others. This means you may have to redirect their behavior when it crashes into your personal space.
Tips to redirect toxic behavior
Tip: Schedule an appointment. If you find yourself unexpectedly locked in a conversation with a toxic person, try asking them to schedule an appointment to continue the conversation. When it comes to toxic traits like gossip, complaining, or hyper-focusing on something negative, toxic people can take up a lot of time venting. Set healthy boundaries without alienating the toxic person by suggesting you schedule time to get together and chat. Chances are, they won’t follow through with the meeting or you can cancel it altogether when the time comes. This helps end the toxic conversation and allows you to redirect their behavior.
Tip: Create a diversion. Toxic people tend to focus on whatever triggers them most. If you are in the midst of a toxic meltdown, create a diversion. Change the subject, create a new focus, or ask for help or advice on an entirely different subject. These tactics work well to redirect energy and focus away from the toxic issue at hand to a healthier subject.
Tip: Feign ignorance. If you find yourself trapped in a toxic conversation or cornered by a toxic person, faking ignorance of the issue or an inability to comprehend the complexity can help you redirect their behavior. Simple statements like that’s off my radar, or that discussion is not in my pay grade can send the message that you aren’t interested in continuing the conversation. If the conversation persists, you can simply express that you don’t know enough about the subject to participate. This generally stops the behavior since there’s no give and take.
You may not always be able to avoid toxic people, but you can redirect their behavior. Be mindful of clever ways to disengage or divert toxic people so you aren’t overwhelmed by their negativity.
Loving Life–The Reboot!