How to Deal with Toxic People at Work


The world is filled with interesting people who encourage you and inspire you. It is also filled with people who frustrate and discourage you. The reality is that toxic people are part of our everyday routine. They are the people who deliberately behave to cause misery on others just to satisfy their self-centered motive. Every workplace has them and they can make your work life a living hell. Some of them can get distract you, drain your energy, put you in a negative mood, and cause tremendous stress. They might be constantly hanging out at your desk, gossiping and criticizing everything and everyone. They might be your boss or co-worker who drives you crazy and all you want to do is stay away from them.

Dealing with toxic people can be more difficult at workplace than in personal life. In the later, we get to choose our friends and who we have contact with. But in workplace, you don’t have that luxury. Considering that we spend most of the time at work, it is worthwhile to figure out ways to deal with them for good.

Don’t Let Them Get Inside Your Head

Don’t give someone so much power that they get inside your head and disturb you. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Stop giving space to toxic people inside your head. It might be incredibly difficult but if you keep obsessing over what they are doing or what they might do next, it will eventually sabotage your efforts to avoid them. Don’t overthink. But remember that what they do is not relevant to you. Get in touch with reality and do not let them get inside your head.

Keep Your Distance

It is very difficult to put a physical distance between you and your toxic influence as you both share the same workplace. But to avoid being absorbed into their toxic influence, try maintaining physical distance. And if that doesn’t work, then try to distance yourself mentally and emotionally from them. If you’re allowed to wear headphones at your desk, use them to tune them out, if necessary. 

Wearing headphones is the official non-offensive gesture that lets people know that you are not to be disturbed. If breaks are an issue, you can start taking your lunch outside and have a ‘me’ time away from toxic people and office. Try taking a walk in the nearest park; it gives you a short break away from the toxic people around you and it gives you an opportunity to clear your mind and feel refreshed.

Stand Up For Yourself

Set boundaries and make them know. Keeping company policies aside, you should let other people know when they have crossed certain behaviour beyond acceptable. Be careful how much you tolerate; you are teaching them how you should be treated. Don’t let toxic people get comfortable with their bad behaviour around you. If they have crossed certain boundaries, let them know. If you must, report to a higher authority by stating you compliant objectively. 

It is important to acknowledge that negative reactions are parts and parcels of taking a stand. Change always begins with resistance. Your influence may come as a surprise to you when it is all said and done. 

Build a Positive Vibe Around You 

Surround yourself with people who boost your energy and the ones who lift you up. Spend more time with the fun, happy, constructive people in your workplace. Avoid negative thoughts that bring you down and affect your self-esteem. Always remember, what they say and do is a reflection of who they are and not who you are. So find people, places and activities that energize you. 

Do Give Them a Chance

As difficult as it may be, do give them the benefit of the doubt. It is natural to not care about toxic people. But remember that people have the capacity to change and correct themselves under certain situations. Be professional and work with them for the sake of your mutual employment. Besides, they might be people who just don’t know how their behaviors affect others. Under the right circumstance, you may want to speak at a personal level and listen to them as well. Who knows something good may happen. 

Unfortunately, there are toxic people everywhere and moving from one job to another is not a solution. You just have to become stronger and wiser and build a mechanism to deal with them. You can’t wait for your workplace to become perfect. In an imperfect world, that will not happen. All that is left is to wisen up and become stronger to live better.