in: Wellness

7 Ways Emotionally Intelligent People Handle Toxic Individuals

When it comes to dealing with toxic folks (you know who I mean), we can learn a lot from emotionally intelligent people. It’s time to take back your energy.


Toxic people are a nightmare. They cause negative drama, always seem to be a driving force behind conflict, drive down morale in the workplace, and they negatively impact the emotional well-being of those who have to deal with them.

For some people, this behavior is almost like a sick mind game, while others are truly unaware. Sometimes, all that is required for dealing with a toxic person is to simply cut them out of your life. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. There are going to be toxic people who you have to tolerate—hopefully in the short term, but sometimes, for longer periods of time.

The worst part is it can be tempting to give toxic people the same treatment they mete out to others. Of course, this never works. Toxic people aren’t capable of much self-reflection, and turnabout only makes them see themselves as victims. In the end, the best way to deal with a toxic person is to use these seven techniques commonly employed by emotionally intelligent people.

1. They Don’t Waste Their Energy on Pointless Conflict

Some toxic people have a need to start conflict with anybody who is willing to accept their invitation to argue. Even worse, there is often no point to the arguments that toxic people start. There is no desire to come to a consensus or to grow through healthy debate. Emotionally intelligent people are quick to recognize this. Your best response is is to simply disengage or to ignore the attempts altogether. Sometimes, this does result in the toxic person claiming “victory”; however, over time the people who matter to you will see right through that.

2. They Get Emotional Support From Positive People

If you have a toxic person you cannot avoid, the emotional toll can be significant. People have left good jobs, or reduced contact with loved ones because of the damage that can be done by a toxic person. One thing that might help you deal with a toxic force in your life is to find a sympathetic friend, family member, or coworker who understands the situation, and is able to be a source of emotional support.

3. They Are Aware of Their Own Emotional State

Have you ever seen someone you know at the grocery store, then rather than come into contact with them, you darted down another aisle? It might have even been somebody you liked. There are some times when you don’t have the emotional energy to deal with people. At the grocery store, you might be avoiding a “Chatty Cathy.” When it comes to dealing with a toxic person, it is very important to assess and know your emotional state. This way, if you are really on edge, you can avoid contact rather than being pushed into a reaction that you will regret. To become more in touch with your emotional state, try spending time alone to get in touch with yourself and your emotions.

4. They Are Goal-Oriented

Toxic people, along with their antics, can be very distracting. They can cause you to lose mental and emotional focus when they create drama or otherwise cause problems. Do your best to shake that off. After all, that is exactly what they want. Instead, keep steering things back to the goal that you are trying to accomplish, or the problem that needs to be solved. Toxic people are many things, but most of them are not stupid. Once they know you will not be distracted by them, they will typically back off.

5. They Don’t Get Pulled Into Drama

If toxic people have one thing down pat, it is the ability to create drama. They do this by getting other people whipped into a frenzy about one another. They do this by slipping differing pieces of information to people, starting rumors, taking mild conflicts and inflating them into huge arguments, and generally sowing discord among others. Then, they sit back and watch the results of their pot stirring and manipulation.

Unfortunately, they rarely get called on their behavior, because they do all of this while managing to come off as being helpful, tellers of truth. At least one person always believes the toxic person is being an ally to them. The best way to handle this to simply back away from the drama, and to refuse to participate. In many cases, this also means avoiding temptation to “set the record straight.”

6. They Set & Enforce Boundaries

Many toxic people fall into one of three categories.

There are the complainers who find people and things to take issue with everything—give them your time, and they will unload on you with a barrage of gripes about everything under the sun. So, don’t give them time. If it is unavoidable, let them know that you will only be party to complaints that are valid, and that they are willing to take action to solve.

Up next are the pot stirrers who create conflict and drama. These folks are best dealt with by telling them that you are not interested in hearing what they have to say, full stop.

Finally, there are the perpetual victims. They are continually whining about being done wrong by everyone around them. This is usually in spite of the fact that it is their own behavior that is atrocious, and the most they ever receive is a bit of comeuppance. The chronic victim can be confused for a complainer. After all, they do complain frequently. The difference is the complainer is never happy with things or the service they receive. The perpetual victim focuses solely on emotions.

7. They Remember Their Right to be Happy

Here is a final point to remember. Whatever reasons a toxic person has for their behavior, it is fully within your rights to be a happy person who associates with emotionally healthy people. The fact that a toxic individual is so internally miserable that they choose to try and undermine the good in other’s lives, or they simply enjoy creating misery isn’t relevant. You have the right to be happy in spite of their behavior, and should assert that right whenever it is necessary. Don’t let anybody manipulate you into being miserable for their benefit.


About the Author

Rick RiddleRick Riddle is a successful blogger and content manager at UrgentEssayWriting.com whose articles aim to help readers with self-development, entrepreneurship and content management. Connect with Rick on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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