Do you find yourself surrounded by toxic people? Do things always seem to go wrong when they are around?
Are there certain types of people who just make life harder for you, no matter what you do? If so, it’s time to take a good hard look at the way these individuals impact your life. It can be tempting to think that if only they would change or if only you could avoid being around them then everything would be all right. The truth is that this isn’t possible – toxicity knows no bounds! That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some protective measures you can put in place though.
Here are 20 things I have learned over the years about how best to protect myself from those who bring me down and keep my relationships strong with the people who matter.
Set boundaries and stick to them.
This is probably one of the most important things you can do when it comes to protecting yourself from toxicity! If someone is crossing your personal boundaries, let them know (in a calm and assertive way, of course). It may be difficult at first, but over time you will get better at enforcing them (and people will eventually get the message). They may not even be aware of how their behavior is affecting you, so it’s up to you to set the tone for future interactions.
Remove yourself from situations where toxicity thrives.
If you observe certain people causing drama, start removing yourself from the situation by offering to leave or politely refusing to take part in what’s going on. You don’t have to sit around and take abuse because it seems like the best way to avoid conflict! If something makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s okay to remove yourself. After this happens a few times, toxic people will likely get the message (hopefully).
Learn to say ‘no’.
Sometimes we think we’re doing ourselves a favor by saying yes to things we don’t really want to do, but in reality all this does is wear us down. If someone is asking you to do something that doesn’t feel right, or if it’s something you can’t actually do, learn to say no. You don’t have to explain yourself – just say it and mean it.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from toxicity is to be genuine and authentic in your interactions with others. If you try to be someone you’re not, it will only lead to frustration on your part (and probably on theirs too). When people can see that you’re honest and down-to-earth, they are less likely to try and manipulate or take advantage of you. So don’t let them convince you to give up your hobbies, interests, or personality traits – they are what make you special and unique.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
Toxic people often try and make us feel bad by comparing us to others in a negative way. Don’t give them the satisfaction! Comparison leads to unhappiness, so just focus on being the best version of yourself that you can be. You don’t need anyone else’s approval.
Refrain from gossiping.
Gossiping opens you up to being manipulated, so it’s best to avoid this behavior whenever possible. Toxic people often try and use gossip against you by making rumors appear as if they are truth. Do your best not to spread rumors or engage in them yourself – even if someone starts one about another person!
Don’t give advice that you wouldn’t take yourself.
If someone is asking for your advice, be sure to give them an honest answer – even if it’s something you don’t want to hear. If you would never do something, then it’s probably not a good idea for them either. And remember, just because you give someone advice doesn’t mean they have to take it!
Keep your distance emotionally.
It can be difficult to do this, but it’s important to remember that not everyone deserves a piece of your heart. Reserve your deepest feelings for those who truly care about you and will reciprocate in kind. When you give too much of yourself to someone who doesn’t deserve it, you’re setting yourself up to be treated poorly.
Don’t take anything personally.
It’s hard not to when someone says something negatively about you, but try and remember that it usually has nothing to do with you – it’s just a reflection of their own issues! When we feel attacked or offended by what someone else says or does, it can be easy to let them bring us down for weeks or even years afterwards. This isn’t healthy on our part though – let go of hurt feelings rather than holding onto them like weapons (that will eventually backfire).
Don’t bad-mouth others behind their back.
Just like gossiping, talking badly about someone else behind their back is a way to open yourself up to being manipulated by toxic people. If they can get you to say bad things about someone else, they can use that information against you later on. It’s best not to participate in this type of behavior at all – it will only hurt you in the end.
Don’t try and fix people.
One of the quickest ways to become a target for toxicity is to start trying to ‘fix’ the person who is displaying negative behaviors. This is an impossible task and is bound to lead to frustration on your part (not to mention theirs). People have to want to change for themselves, so don’t put all of that pressure on yourself. Plus, they probably won’t change anyway – it’s not worth our time and energy.
Don’t nag them about their behavior.
If someone is hurting you, it’s only natural to want to bring the situation to their attention so that they can understand where you’re coming from. But when we focus our energy on trying to get another person to change their behavior, all we do is give them more power over us – and they will take advantage of this every time! Instead of dwelling on what they are doing wrong, learn how you can make things better for yourself without depending on others for help. If a friend or family member insists on treating you poorly, don’t feel guilty about distancing yourself from them until they admit defeat and start respecting your boundaries. You’ll know when the time is right.
Don’t envy toxic people.
Envy is one of the most self-destructive feelings there are, but it can be hard not to feel this way when someone else seems to have it all when you don’t even have yourself together! But remember, they are probably dealing with their own problems – and you never know what type of pain the next person may be hiding on the inside. Just focus on getting your needs met rather than wasting time envying others who just aren’t healthy for you in the long run.
Don’t let them put anything over on you.
If you become a doormat for toxic people, they will take advantage of your kindness at every turn. Don’t let anyone push you around or trick you into giving them the upper hand – even if it seems harmless in the beginning. With that type of person, what starts out as a small white lie can quickly snowball into a full-fledged web of deceit that ruins everyone’s life!
Do speak up when something doesn’t seem right.
Again, this may not always be easy to do since we don’t want to stir up any more negativity – especially with someone who is already acting like they can walk all over us! But remember how empowering it felt when our parents used to listen to us and take our concerns seriously? It’s the same feeling we need to start looking for within ourselves so that we can finally start standing up for ourselves in these situations.
Don’t bottle things up.
Saying nothing is also a way of giving someone else power over us, and it can eventually lead to explosive outbursts down the line. If we bottle up our feelings or try to deal with them on our own, they will only continue to fester and grow until we can’t take it any more. It’s much better to express ourselves in a healthy way (even if it’s difficult) so that everyone can be on the same page and move forward.
Do spend time with positive people.
It can be really difficult to stay positive when we’re constantly surrounded by negative energy, but there are ways to work around this! One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to surround ourselves with positive people who will build us up instead of tearing us down. This can be difficult if our toxic friend is also our only friend, but it’s not impossible! There are plenty of other people out there who would love to get to know you.
Do take care of yourself first.
It can be really tempting to put others first and completely forget about ourselves, but this is definitely not healthy! If we don’t take care of ourselves, we will quickly become overwhelmed and exhausted. Make sure to schedule in some ‘me time’ every day so that you can focus on your own happiness and wellbeing. This is something that is often overlooked but is so important!
Do be assertive.
Toxic people will often take advantage of our passive nature, so it’s important to start being more assertive! This means standing up for ourselves when we need to, and making our voices heard. It can be scary at first, but it’s definitely worth it in the long run.
Finally, do know that you deserve better.
This is probably the most important thing we can remember when it comes to dealing with toxic people – we deserve better! We deserve to be treated with respect and kindness, and we should never have to put up with someone who makes us feel bad about ourselves. If someone is making you feel like you’re not good enough, it’s time to say goodbye and move on. You deserve better than that!
We hope these tips will help you protect yourself from the negative people in your life! Remember, you are not alone and there are plenty of people who will support you. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. Thank you for reading! We hope you found this article helpful. 🙂