7 intelligent ways to deal with difficult and toxic people

The last thing that anyone wants to deal with is a toxic person because it is so stressful and mentally exhausting. 

People who are considered difficult and toxic constantly upset you with their negative attitudes and behaviors, and this can happen in your personal and professional life. 

In relationships, toxicity is found in manipulation, control, and belittlement that affect your self-worth and confidence. 

The good news is that there are smart strategies you can use to prevent these individuals from scheming and overstepping your boundaries. 

If you want to know how to stop negativity from jeopardizing your mental health and happiness, consider the following 7 intelligent ways to deal with difficult and toxic people. 

1) Stick to your boundaries 

One of the smartest ways to deal with a toxic individual is to stand firm within the boundaries that you create for yourself. Boundaries or limits let someone know that they should respect what you’re asking of them. 

I know that it’s easier said than done when you’re dealing with people who bring you down, but you’ve got to be clear and consistent. That’s because these types of individuals don’t respect boundaries. 

They will manipulate, emotionally abuse, and flat-out ignore these limitations to get what they want. More often than not, they attack your self-worth

So, how do you stop them from crossing the line? 

No matter what they say, you’ve got to be steadfast in your boundaries. No means no, and if they can’t accept that as an answer, you walk away, or you try to reduce contact. Do this repeatedly until they get the message and stop testing you. 

Unfortunately, some people just don’t respect boundaries, and no matter what you do, they will try to push you until you fold. 

Don’t fold. 

Remember that you aren’t powerless in the situation, and you don’t have to be rude to get your point across either. You can take control by deciding how and when to communicate with them, especially if they’re being critical or insulting. 

Don’t give them unsolicited advice, and don’t continue redundant or circular conversations. Once you’ve decided on a boundary, stick to it. 

2) Respond differently

Many toxic and obnoxious people are blunt and insulting. They are hurtful and sarcastic, and some of them go out of their way to try to humiliate you or make you feel small. 

An intelligent way of dealing with them is to change the way you respond to their tales. 

Their goal is to get a reaction out of you, even if it means breaking you down. Don’t fall for it. 

When they’re belittling or making a nasty comment, ignore it to show them that you aren’t phased. If they make an off-handed joke, try to laugh it off rather than get visibly upset or angry. Whatever you do, don’t take what they say personally. 

Emotional reactions play into their game, so try not to fall into their trap. 

It’s easier to do this in the workplace, where you can distinguish between being presented with factual information and scheming or manipulative behavior. You’ll have to work on identifying your triggers and avoiding stressful reactions in intimate relationships. 

3) Be aware of your emotions 

Only once I’m aware of my emotions can I control my reactions. It’s the same formula that you should use when dealing with difficult and toxic people. 

When you’re aware of how someone makes you feel, you can stop them from triggering an emotional response. 

I’m not saying it’s easy; believe me! I’ve been around toxic people long enough to understand how they can push your buttons. 

The next time you find yourself in a position where you’re becoming angry or upset because of a toxic person’s actions, your awareness can give you the space that you need to think about your response. 

This prevents you from feeding into their reality because you’ve given yourself emotional distance and time to think about how you’re going to confront or help them. 

In the workplace, this approach can prevent a fallout with a difficult colleague because it helps you recognize when to walk away. You can plan how to address their viewpoint at a later stage without getting sucked into their drama. 

4) Don’t support their reality

youre dealing with an emotionally juvenile adult 7 intelligent ways to deal with difficult and toxic people

It’s easy to get pulled into someone’s personal story, especially if you’re an empathic person. But some people always play the victim

They’ll paint a very positive picture of themselves, even if they’re at fault. You might be aware of their role in a situation, but rather than point this out, you try to remain objective by listening to what they have to say. 

Unfortunately, remaining quiet, smiling, or agreeing with them for the sake of avoiding an argument simply shows that you’re siding with them. 

An intelligent way to deal with their toxic behavior is to politely disagree and remove yourself from the conversation. 

You can explain your perspective without getting personal or emotional about it. 

Always describe the facts.

As soon as they try to argue, insult, or accuse you, excuse yourself and leave the room. You’re sending a very strong message that you don’t want to be a part of their manipulation and lies. 

So, when you find yourself in this situation, don’t hesitate to make your boundary very clear. 

5) Focus on the solution and not the problem 

Another intelligent way to deal with toxic people is to focus on the solutions, not the problems. 

Difficult people tend to see things in a negative light, which only perpetuates the problem. The more they focus on the challenge, the more stress and dysfunction it creates.  

When they try to draw you into their vicious cycle of troubles and woes, don’t lend your ears to them. Listening to endless problems without exploring helpful ways of resolving them will mentally and emotionally drain you. 

We all want to support people who may be going through a genuinely difficult time, but when it’s self-inflicted, and they ignore your advice or perspective, you’ve got to put yourself first. 

If a toxic colleague at work only sees the problem, and you know how to resolve it, shift your focus to the solution and don’t pay attention to their constant complaining. 

This process encourages a positive mindset, which increases your resilience.

Every time you have to interact with this problematic person, you’ll be equipped to focus on the answers and overcome the hurdles rather than get caught up in the negativity. 

In a nutshell, don’t allow someone else’s words to affect your mindset and goals. 

6) Reach out to your support system

Empathy 7 intelligent ways to deal with difficult and toxic people

Constantly interacting with people who get you down is not a healthy situation to be in. I’ve experienced it myself in a past relationship. 

The manipulative games that were played led me to believe that I was the problem, and no matter how much I tried to show my commitment, it never felt good enough. 

I got to the point where I was suffering from sleepless nights and mental turmoil because I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get my relationship to work. At this point, I explained my situation to friends, and they opened my eyes to the fact that I was in a toxic relationship. 

You don’t have to go through this alone. 

Find someone you can trust, who’s in your corner and able to provide a different perspective regarding your circumstances. They’ll encourage you to stand up for yourself and to create and reinforce your boundaries. 

7) Forgive them

Forgiveness isn’t about turning a blind eye when someone hurts or upsets you. It doesn’t dismiss their behavior, but it does give you the strength to move forward

When you have to constantly face toxic people, you feel burdened, and understandably so. Spending time in the company of another person who makes it their mission to bring you down or trap you in their negativity can leave you feeling like you’re taking on their flawed mindset. 

But something you might not have thought about is forgiving them for their mistakes. 

Sometimes, you’ve got to take the high road, but you should always remember that you cannot rely on these people. Once you’re aware of their chaotic ways, protect yourself mentally and emotionally by letting go of their toxicity. 

Last words

Toxic people live in chaos, and if they find the opportunity to drag you down, they will do it. 

The most intelligent way of dealing with difficult and toxic people is to establish your boundaries and remain aware of your emotions. This stops you from wasting your time and energy on someone who doesn’t care or has an ulterior motive. 

You’ll know when to walk away and when to let something go. This way, you’ll protect yourself from being triggered by their toxicity. 

It’s not always possible to avoid these types of people, especially if you come across them in the workplace, so try to limit your interactions with them. 

If you realize that you’re in a toxic relationship, my advice is to prioritize your well-being by finding the inner strength to leave. 

Marcel Deer

Marcel Deer

Marcel is a journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur. When not obsessing over his man cave or the latest tech, he’s failing helplessly at training his obnoxious rescue dog ‘Boogies’.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.

0:00
0:00