It is impossible to avoid toxic people all the time, no matter how hard you try. You may have to work with them, or they might be a part of your family. Plus, you will regularly encounter toxic people in public places such as the grocery store or gas station. Since you can’t wholly avoid toxic people, the next best option is to avoid confrontations with them.
This is easier said than done, but it is possible. You can’t change other people, but you can change the things that you say or the way you react to toxic people.
Responding negatively to a toxic person will only make the situation worse, and it usually causes confrontations. Instead, use positive statements to help you avoid unnecessary conflict. Using positivity, you will notice that things go smoother and that you feel better afterward.
Positive statements can change the tone of a conversation and steer it in a better direction. These statements can also influence positivity in the toxic person, at least for the time being. You can also use positive statements to set and enforce boundaries.
How to Recognize Toxic People
Recognizing a toxic person is the first step to avoiding confrontations with them. While they don’t all have the same characteristics, they will likely have similarities.
You may notice that they exhibit some of these characteristics:
- don’t take responsibility for their mistakes
- are manipulative
- don’t apologize
- are judgmental
- don’t support you
- are dishonest
- tend to be inconsistent
- are unreliable
- often think of their desires above the needs of others
Fifteen Positive Statements to Help You Avoid Confrontations with Toxic People
Keep these phrases handy for the next encounter with a toxic person.
1. “I noticed you’re upset today. I hope everything is okay.”
When you point this out to them, they’ll see that you don’t want conflict. Plus, they will appreciate that you recognize their bad mood. By saying this, you are reducing the risk of confrontation.
If you have to work with the toxic person all day, this will help you get through the day. Let them know that you’re there if they need to vent, too. Then, if they do come to you, it won’t be for confrontation but support.
2. “I’m not comfortable with this. Let’s talk about something else.”
Even if you are a little uncomfortable saying this statement, it is essential. Otherwise, the conversation will continue, and confrontation may follow. Let the person know that you don’t want to discuss that topic any longer.
Please don’t leave it at that, however. Suggest talking about something else, and then take control of the conversation and be positive. Sway the conversation to a topic that is neutral and safe for the both of you.
3. “I can tell you’re having a hard time. You should take a break.”
Everyone appreciates it when someone notices their feelings and their mood, even toxic people. Start by acknowledging their feelings, and then suggest a break. They might not have even realized they were poisonous, so your comment will help with that, too.
After a break, they may come back in a better mood. If their perspective isn’t better, at least they may not cause conflict with you. Plus, at the very least, they will see that you care.
4. “I want to continue this conversation, but I’m running late. Let’s finish it over e-mail.”
If possible, politely remove yourself from the conversation. While it might be necessary to finish the conversation, you can avoid toxic confrontation by doing it by email.
Since it’s harder to spread toxicity through an e-mail, it could be the perfect communication method. If the other person still makes toxic remarks in an e-mail, it’ll be easier to handle. E-mail may not be the most direct option, but it could help you avoid confrontation.
5. “Tell me what I can do to cheer you up.”
No one can be made at the person who is trying to cheer them up. At least that is what you can hope for, and it increases your chances of avoiding conflict. This statement shows that you care, and even if the toxic person doesn’t show it, they likely appreciate it.
6. “Let’s talk about something more exciting.”
Changing the subject could be a great option to avoid confrontation. If you feel that the conversation is taking a negative turn or may lead to conflict, request a more exciting topic. Get your minds off the potential problem, and get the toxic person talking about something happier.
7. “We should each say three good things that happened today.”
Changing the conversation to something positive is a great move, as explained before. Even better, change the topic to good things that happened during the current day. This will help both of you perk up a little and be more positive.
It is hard to continue being toxic while talking about positive things that have happened recently. Plus, it is hard to have a confrontation with someone you just had a positive conversation with. Remember this positive statement anytime you sense the tension.
Get toxic people talking about themselves and the things they love. This will help you avoid confrontation because toxic people tend to love talking about themselves. Even if they don’t love talking about themselves, though, it’ll still distract them for a while.
9. “I don’t want to debate this. There are plenty of more positive things to discuss.”
It can be hard to say this, but it is essential to your well-being. By speaking this statement, not only will you be avoiding confrontation, but you will be setting boundaries. It can help prevent conflict or toxic behavior toward you in the future, too.
By adding that there are positive things to discuss, you will avoid offending the person. They will realize that you still want to talk to them, which can further prevent confrontation.
10. “You have so much to do. Let me help you.”
By acknowledging how much the person has to deal with, they will be appreciative. Plus, if you offer to help them, they can’t justify mistreating you or making rude comments. Everyone needs a break once in a while, even toxic people.
11. “I understand how you feel.”
Being empathetic is always an excellent way to avoid confrontation. Everyone desires to be understood, and they will see that you are trying to see things their way.
12. “You are good at what you do.”
When people feel good about themselves, they’re more likely to be positive. Tell the toxic person that they are good at what they do and help the situation. If you can, give specific examples of how you know they are talented.
13. “Thank you for your input. I’ll keep it in mind.”
This statement leaves little more for the other person to say. It lets them know that you heard them without causing conflict. Even if you didn’t appreciate their input, thanking them will make things go smoother.