For most of us, daily life is stressful enough. We face a myriad of responsibilities, both personal and professional, that often push us close to our limits. It is, therefore, necessary to mitigate stressors that threaten our mental, emotional and physical well-being.

Similar to toxins in the environment, toxic people can inflict serious harm. Unlike many toxins, however, there is no type of “warning” that educates us on the threats such people pose. Thus, we must rely on our judgment, instincts, and will to effectively counteract toxic people.

The fact is that some people are more adept at handling toxic people than others; as such people often possess a keen sense of emotional intelligence and other attributes, along with the will to act when necessary

Toxicity: The degree to which a substance (a toxin or poison) can harm humans or animals. Acute toxicity involves harmful effects in an organism through a single or short-term exposure. MedicineNet

This brings us to the topic of this article. We’re going to discuss 9 ways that smart people efficiently and swiftly deal with toxic people.

Here’s how smart people handle toxic people:

pop meme

1. They’re very self-aware

Psychology Today defines the term as “accurate appraisal and understanding of your abilities and preferences and their implications for your behavior and their impact on others.”

A keen sense of self-awareness is also an incredibly powerful prevention tool – and a essential one. Being self-aware allows us to acknowledge, understand and account for any internal or external influence that threats to “throw us off our game.” Of course, this includes toxic folk.

2. They forgive, but don’t forget

The gray matter between our ears is not the only determinant of intellect. Intelligence is multifaceted. As it pertains to handling toxic people, emotional intelligence takes the cake.

Emotionally intelligent people understand forgiveness as a necessary component of psychological well-being. However, they also understand the importance of not forgetting those who betrayed their trust. This intelligence allows the person to focus their efforts on building relationships with individuals who have earned such a right.

3. They’re unaffected by circumstance

Let’s not kid ourselves: it isn’t easy to remain emotionally neutral when amongst toxic people; however, it is an absolute necessity. Resilience is an attribute of emotional intelligence – and one that pays significant dividends when having to deal with toxic people.

Since we’re on a “definition-fest,” we’ll define resilience as “that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever.” Make no mistake, toxic people cause many to be “knocked down,” but resilience allows us to come back strong.

4. They quickly establish boundaries

Smart people often possess the innate ability to remain productive and effective. To this end, they’ll quickly mitigate any detectable threat that may affect that ability. Relatedly, when smart people detect toxic people, they’ll take swift and effective action.

This doesn’t mean they’ll be rude and abrasive. They’ll be polite and firm, yet unambiguous and uncompromising. They just won’t allow negative people to effect them in any way, shape, or form.

5. They’re “energy-smart.”

While toxic people thrive by draining others’ energy, smart people thrive by maintaining their energy supply. Being “energy-smart” simply means understanding how to manage one’s energy in the most efficient way possible.

When we’re energy-smart, we won’t allow toxic people to drain this precious resource. Instead, we’ll conserve it in order to take positive action.

2017 quote

6. They focus on the task at hand

When it comes right down to it, toxic people are simply another external distraction. This perception isn’t dehumanizing – it’s realistic and fair. In fact, many toxic people intend to distract others with their antics.

Smart people just do not allow permit such distractions. They’ll focus on what’s in front of them and move on…regardless of who is around them.

7. They look for their support system

As mentioned, smart people are often driven people – individuals that seek a better life for both themselves and their loved ones. It’s also quite likely that such individuals understand the importance of mentorship and teamwork.

When faced with the challenge of a toxic person (or group of people), smarties will tap into their pool of trust mentors and co-workers to rectify the situation.

8. They’ll quickly check negative self-talk

Even those with high emotional intelligence are susceptible to negative self-talk from time-to-time. Toxic people can induce negative thinking in others if the recipient is unprepared for such – and this happens to all of us.

However, smart people are often able to quickly recognize and neutralize negative self-talk. The ability to neutralize includes counterproductive thoughts that arise from a toxic person.

9. They’re solution-oriented

As is apparent by now, intelligent people have the talent for seeking out solutions to problems. Dealing with a toxic person or group of people is just another issue that demands a solution. In typical fashion, emotionally intelligent people will assess their options and take the appropriate action.

Furnham, A., Ph.D. (2016, November 27). Self Awareness. Retrieved January 03, 2017, from
Hendricks, D. A. (2015, July 09). 8 Ways Emotionally Intelligent People Deal With Toxic People. Retrieved January 03, 2017, from
Whitbourne-Krauss , S., Ph.D., Bernhard, T., J.D., & Flora, C. (n.d.). Psychology Today. Retrieved January 03, 2017, from
(C)Power of Positivity, LLC. All rights reserved