All of us know some people who single-handedly bring down the energy level of any interaction. They are negative, constantly complaining about their own lives or about other people. They rub people the wrong way, create distress and seem to be unaware of the impact they have. These people are a constant source of stress. Studies have shown that prolonged exposure to stress can cause irreparable damage to the neurons in your brain.
Dealing with stress is an essential component to success in the workplace or outside it. The most successful people are able to remain calm even when they are dealing with disagreeable or toxic people. Here are some strategies you can use to deal with such people effectively.
If someone wants to wallow in their misery all day, they are welcome to do so. You don’t need to be part of it. People who like to complain are constantly looking for an audience. Don’t oblige them.
Whenever a chronic complainer starts one of their tirades, put some distance between yourself and that person. If you can’t physically escape the situation, ask them how they are planning to fix the issues they are complaining about. This will either get them to stop complaining or guide the interaction to a more positive direction.
Understand that you’re going to see them again
If the toxic presence affecting you is a co-worker, you will be seeing them around your workplace for the foreseeable future. With this in mind, make sure you don’t try to eliminate the problem they are complaining about in any single interaction with them. You don’t want to create unnecessary conflict if you can avoid it, especially since you have to spend a large part of your time in physical proximity to this person.
Don’t get sucked into their chaos
When people behave unreasonably, the worst possible thing you can do is to respond to them emotionally. If you allow yourself to get angry or irritated, you succumb to their behavior. Instead, distance yourself emotionally from the interaction and try to look at it like an experiment. Focus on the facts, not on the rants.
Practice remaining calm in unfavorable conditions
If someone at work or in your personal life manages to push your buttons every time, it might be time for some introspection. Find some quiet time for yourself and try to analyze exactly why this person’s behavior manages to irritate you. Meditation and exercise can help you to clear your head and relieve yourself of stress. Both of these disciplines, when practiced regularly, have been shown to improve your ability to remain calm under pressure. Make sure you are getting enough sleep.
Wherever possible, eliminate negative people from your life
You might have spent 10 years in school with someone. But that doesn’t mean you have to continue to interact with them regularly if they are creating stress in your life. Sometimes, you outgrow your friends. If you want to succeed, surround yourself with positive people you can have enriching interactions with. Goodbyes might be tough, but they’re preferable to a lifetime of negativity.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
You don’t have to deal with an annoying person alone. If you’re at your wits’ end trying to figure out how to approach an interaction with a negative person, ask your friends or colleagues for help. They might be able to give you a perspective on the situation you haven’t previously considered. In addition, since other people probably aren’t as emotionally invested in the situation as you are, they are more likely to offer logical, actionable advice.
We all have to deal with a few negative people in our life, but we don’t need to get caught up in their emotional turmoil. Go through the list above and start implementing these behaviors immediately. The less unnecessary stress you take on, the better your life will be.