It may come across as unpopular opinion, but I don’t consider people ‘toxic’, in the literal sense that has been going around lately. I do understand however, that there are some people that just make us feel worse, that get on our nerves, that do not add value to our life.
The more spiritually invested I become, I do feel more sensitive towards the relationships and people I allow into my life.
And so, associating a spiritual sense to such people, I derive their purpose in our life. And my conclusion is that they are doing their part of the Spiritual Contract, they are helping us redefine our Relationship Boundaries.
That being said, here are some tips I practice to establish the right balance between humanity, and self-preservation around people I don’t particularly enjoy.
TIP #1 – Limit your conversations.
The first healthy boundary is to be mindful of your own time. Therefore, it’s always great to have a few genuine ‘exit lines’ at hand, to get yourself out of the energy.
- I should get back to doing x, let’s catch up some other time!
- I hate to cut this conversation short, but if I don’t leave now, I’m going to get late. (You don’t have to specify for what, if you don’t have an immediate activity)
- Hey, can I catch you later? I have to go now. (Again, no details required)
TIP #2 – Don’t be rude, just be disinterested.
I am not a fan of blocking or ignoring anybody, for the simple reason that you aren’t learning to stand up for yourself by resisting this energy coming your way; you’re actually running away from the problem. And you are bound to manifest another toxic encounter worse than this one until you start taking measures of self-preservation.
My advice is, one-word/short replies are your way of fulfilling your human courtesy while gradually making it obvious that this conversation isn’t leading to anything.
TIP #3 – Be honest.
Sometimes, a person that doesn’t get the message needs to be told upfront that you’re not interested to pursue whatever they’re trying to pursue with you. You’re doing both people a favour, and this is great use of the Throat Chakra in speaking your truth.
Again, don’t be rude. A simple “Thanks for your interest and effort but I just don’t think I resonate with you, and it would be healthier for both of us to take a few steps back to respect each other’s space”.
You don’t have to entertain the harshness that comes after that. If you are polite and straightforward, your deed is done. The reaction cannot and should not be pacified by you.
TIP #4 – Don’t feed them.
If you need to cut someone out of your life for their toxic behaviour, which they can often seem unwary of, the best thing you can do is to be unavailable to their plans. Whether they’re suggesting a trip together, or a simple coffee, it is your responsibility to politely decline.
And be unavailable without feeling guilty about it and giving-in. Yes, I know, it isn’t easy to always say no, so here are a couple of responses to help you learn how to SAY NO.
- I don’t enjoy doing that, but why don’t you carry on? And have a great time!
- I won’t be able to make it, but thanks for asking! (No explanation required)
- Maybe next time. (if you’re both in-person when asked, start this with a pause, and end with a smile).
- If the event isn’t specifically planned out, like a vague “we should catch up some time”, just smile. You neither have to confirm nor deny.
This can also be true for gossip – be unavailable, and don’t feed it. Sometimes people gossip ‘for fun’, but if you’re trying to refrain from those vibes, the best you can do is become passive in the conversation, and even better if you are able to change the topic to something else!
Tip #5 – Mellow down the opportunity.
Finally, I understand that it isn’t always possible to cut the conversation short, or decline spending time, but there are always ways to mellow the opportunity.
- If going out together is required, have shorter commitments. You can monitor this best, if you have a schedule to back you up. In other words, another commitment that follows this short meetup.
- Instead of plans that require a lot of communication, plan something less investing, such as a movie or a concert. Or instead of a lunch, just meet for coffee.
- Suggest something else, at a different time. Both of which are more agreeable to you. I always like to think, that if you’re able to enjoy your terms, it is half as less toxic.
- Try to include more mutual people in the plan that can dissipate the effect of the toxicity you experience.
It takes time and conscious effort to not resent people that bring a bad vibe to our spirit. The fact is, that WE are the ones unable to navigate out of situations because we don’t want to stop ‘being nice’.
The methods suggested remain in the territory of humanness, and allow you to start placing a distance. So feel free to use them without a second thought. 🙂