March 09, 2007

Dealing With Emotionally Toxic People

Real Simple magazine explains why emotions are contagious and offers advice for keeping toxic people from ruining your mood. Their experts suggest using the following phrases to use when confronted by someone with a negative attitude and low self-awareness:
  • “Let’s talk about solutions.”
  • “Tell me why this is so important to you.”
These are undoubtedly part of every ombuds' lexicon. Some suggested statements may be good only for visitors who are truly conflict averse and desperate to protect their boundaries:
  • “Do you think that the late winter we’re having will hurt the cherry blossoms?” (or some other non sequitur)
  • “I’d really like to help, but this is starting to upset me.”
  • “Let’s talk about what’s going on at the office for 15 minutes, then let’s talk about something else.”
  • “Excuse me — I need to use the restroom.”
(Real Simple; related post Study: One "Bad Apple" Spoils the Whole Office.)

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