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3 Simple Ways to Deal with Toxic Relationships at Work

Businessman Arguing With His Two Co-workers

You’ve got this.

In addition to my focus on couples, I have done some business consulting and have helped businesses become more profitable by developing healthier relationships at work.

Researchers have consistently shown that there is a connection between good morale, healthy work relationships, and productivity. However, sometimes, just as in personal relationships, you have to deal with a toxic relationship at work.

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I have helped many clients in my private practice deal with people at work who are draining their energy, creating a lot of stress and anxiety, and making it difficult to even go to work.

Here are three tips to deal with toxic people and toxic relationships at work:

1. Don’t Take It Personally

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People who are toxic to you are usually toxic to others. You just might be (for some reason) a good target. Define your own worthiness and don’t let another person’s emotional baggage affect you.

I know this is not that easy to do. But if you notice how you are internalizing the other person’s cruelty or passivity, stop, take a breath, and remember that you can practice relaxing even while the other person is doing his or her toxic thing.

2. Act Opposite Your Reflex

For example, if you want to run from that person, move towards that person and show some caring interest. Of course, don’t open yourself up to abuse, but throwing the person off like that can sometimes actually shift the whole toxic pattern.

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3. Talk to a Few Trusted People

If the toxic person is not your boss, talk to your boss and see if you can get some support. If it is your boss, see if you have trusted co-workers.

Of course, good friends and family members can be confidantes with whom you can share your difficulties. Getting support can often provide you the strength to deal with the toxic person.

I know that it can sometimes be more complex and trickier than what I outlined here. I am available to help you get creative with that unhealthy situation so that you can be more creative and happy again at work.

Do you have a toxic situation at work and how do you deal with it?

This guest article originally appeared on How To Handle Toxic Relationships At Work (Without Getting Petty).

3 Simple Ways to Deal with Toxic Relationships at Work

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APA Reference
Guest Author, P. (2018). 3 Simple Ways to Deal with Toxic Relationships at Work. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 3 May 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.