3 Ways To Ward Off Toxic People

People like this need to be equipped with warning signs blinking from their foreheads. Sirens should sound when they are within range. They are belligerent by choice, staunchly believing the Machiavellian adage “It is better to be feared than to be loved.” Disparaging others is like breathing to them—they need to do it to feel alive. No one feels good around them. Everyone wants to avoid them. The Toxically Insurgent keep the threat of a blindside attack at DEFCON level. And like a lead-encased room designed to be impervious to nuclear radiation, their “logic” is equally impenetrable to kindness and sensibility.

Behaviors: soapboxing, condescension, being judgmental, abusive and inappropriate comments, undermining and embarrassing others, hijacking credit for other people’s ideas and work, spitefully withholding information to sabotage.

The Inoculation: Sin aire, no existe—without air, it doesn’t exist. The Toxically Insurgent act with a scorched-earth policy, so learn to snuff out or douse.

Fire cannot burn without oxygen, so don’t give them any. Your reactions and rebuttals are the air this type needs to sustain their flames. Completely refuse to respond to or accommodate them in any way, including isolating them from others whenever possible, unless and until they can conduct themselves with civil consideration. This is like putting a jar over a candle. Poof. Second, be direct, be decisive and then dismiss. Frankly state, with flame-retardant austerity, your objections to their conduct, and document every exchange. Clearly list what your next steps (consult HR protocol) will be to critically curtail their interaction with you.

Do not let toxic people infect your demeanor, morale or self-esteem. With a little know-how, you can boost your psychic immunity against them.

Alicia Bassuk is a leadership coach and performance consultant with UbicaStrategy.com and can be followed on Twitter @aliciabassuk.

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