It's important to surround yourself with good friends that you can rely on and who make you feel good about yourself. However, no matter how hard you try to avoid them, you will come across toxic people at some point in your life

Toxic people are those in your world who make you feel bad about yourself. At different points in time, they can be friends, family, acquaintances or people you know from your various extracurricular activities and clubs. 

Associating and dealing with toxic people can be mentally and physically draining and end up filling your life with stress and negativity. If you are currently dealing with toxic people, here are four things you can do to help the situation:

1. Establish clear boundaries

What makes toxic relationships emotionally draining is that these people will keep taking from you without giving anything in return. By knowing what you’ll tolerate and what you won’t, you can establish boundaries to prevent toxic people from taking advantage of you.

When forming these boundaries, being assertive about what’s bothering you is essential. This allows you to express what you need and what is essential for you without hurting others. If you’re unsure how to begin your conversation with them, you can start by saying, “I’d like to clear some things up with you.” or “I care about our relationship, so I need to share my feelings with you.”

2. Avoid getting involved in the drama

Although it’s normal to laugh at gossip, regularly talking about other people’s lives or making fun of them for it could turn your friendship toxic.

It has the power to ruin your relationships with other people, and can significantly affect their lives. If you notice that a friend consistently gossips about other people, don’t get involved in their drama anymore.

Some strategies you can employ include changing the topic of the conversation and not engaging with these stories. 

3. Be careful not to become a toxic person yourself

The people you associate with influence your personality more than you think. That’s why if you’re involved with toxic people, even if you believe you’re not toxic yourself, you might want to assess yourself to see if you’re showing unpleasant behaviours.  You may not realise it immediately because they can manifest themselves unconsciously and unintentionally when you’re interacting with other people.

Be mindful of your actions and choice of words. By being careful with your behaviour, you will notice the harmful practices you may be doing and correct them before they become a habit.

4. End your relationship

In our article, How to Know When to Break Up with a Friend’, we suggested that if a friendship feels one-sided or even toxic, you should end your relationship with them. Since it’s becoming an endless cycle of negativity, staying in touch with a toxic person will only drain you, significantly affecting your mental health. It’s better to save your energy and make friends with people who know how to respect and support you.

Although ending communicating with toxic people is the easiest method, it’s not that straightforward if they’re part of your family or someone you have to see on a regular basis. However, even if it’s hard, talk to them about your feelings and explain why things need to change for you to continue being in each other’s lives.


Article by: Jessy Burken

1) Assertiveness of Earth Angels Book, referenced by Melinda Marton. 

2) On Purpose by Jay Shetty

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