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Toxic Associates
By Rhonda F. Waters   Printer Friendly Version

Some types of toxic people
(Not necessarily in order of painful annoyance)
1. Constant naysayers "It has not been done before, you won't be able to do it now."
2. Doctor Doom "The last time anything new was tried it didn't work."
3. Whiners "This will take a lot of effort. No one will help us."
4. Passive Aggressives "What is wrong with the way I set this up last year?"
5. Change-phobes "YOU always want to change things, can't you leave things alone?"

These people are pretty easy to spot, on paper. But understanding them in the heat of battle is a lot more difficult. You will need to develop skills around understanding other people's motivation. Think about how people behave, and WHY. Understanding why people do things is not an excuse for their behavior, but it will give you hints on now to deal with them. Some people think this is sneaky (Passive Aggressives about to be found out). After you sort out the people around you, take action. My preferred method for dealing with these kinds of people is to make myself busy, or just not be available. It may seem cowardly, but confrontation is not my style, nor is it likely to have a favorable result.

My father, who was a great storyteller with tremendous comic timing, used to tell about fishing for crabs as a young man. He used to say that he never had to cover the basket after the second crab was in. Dutifully, I would ask him why. His droll reply would be "Because crabs were just like most people, always pulling each other back to the bottom of the basket, instead of piling up to help each other out." When I think about toxic people this story always makes me smile. If they could only see themselves with crab bodies and people faces!

I think everyone has some toxic tendencies. It would be hard to be "Pollyanna" ALL the time. I know that I have been guilty of this in the past. There you have it, I am not perfect either! However, as I came to realize that I needed to develop more positive energy around me, I began to understand that I was ultimately responsible for the negative vibes as well. Taking steps to change your situation will be unbelievably frightening and tremendously empowering. I have never regretted any positive step that I have taken.

People are resistant to change. Even people who love you will have issues when you begin changing. They wonder if the relationships they have with you will also change. If you are trying to quit smoking, you won't be able to conceal it anyway so share your preparations with people who really care about you. On the other hand, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that they are willing and able to help you. Reassure your significant others and ask for their support.
1. Tell them that this is really important to you.
2. Be ready to help them understand why you want to make this change.
3. Think about ways that they can support the process, in case they ask. (Don't give them browbeating powers, unless you really mean it.)
4. Don't assume that an initial response is set in stone, people change their minds frequently.
5. Do what is best for you, even if you do not get any support. Look for a more positive support system. People who really care about you will adjust, or move on. So will you.

The next time you have the urge to blurt out "who does SHE think she is?" keep it to yourself. Then question YOUR motivation and realign your thoughts into positive ones. Perhaps you could say "I had not thought of that idea, but I think I'll ask her at the break to tell me more." If you do not do anything else positive for yourself this year, (aside from reading TMG News) think about the people surrounding you. Look closely at your coworkers, friends and family members. Reflect on how they treat you and other people they meet. Do you like what you see? Are you proud to associate with them? While you are busy scrutinizing others look at yourself too! Any change you think should be made MUST BEGIN WITH YOU.

The beginning of a new year seem to bring out desires to improve our lives in some way. Plan your change to being a more supportive person. Learn to deal better with toxic people if you must and to avoid them if you can. Do things to help others and watch your negative talk. Your happy face will be welcomed by other positive thinking people and will piss off toxic folk more than anything else you could possibly plan.


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