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When I was a kid, I used to believe that everyone was nice, and that there was no such thing as a purposefully mean person… then I met my fourth grade teacher and my bubble of niceness quickly popped. Although I still believe that 99% of people out there are well intentioned, good mannered, and overall easy to deal with, there are still those that have none of those traits. Some of whom are in positions of power, and we all end up having to deal with them from time to time.
Yesterday, I ran across an article written by Marc Chernoff entitled 7 Smart Ways to Deal with Toxic People, and it described a number of the traits that most of us hate dealing with in what he labels as “Toxic People.” The basic advice is to not let Toxic People get into your head and stay there. My favorite is #5: “Don’t take their toxic behavior personally.” It’s probably the hardest thing to do, but it is also the most liberating when you can remember that the person you are dealing with treats most people this way, and that it must work for him or her because they continue to act the way they do. To modify a common meme I’ve seen on Facebook, “Love your enemies… it really ticks them off.”
Being in the legal field, it seems that we may be subject to a greater share of Toxic people. Whether that is actually true or not is probably up to your individual situation. However, whether it is a Partner in a corner office, or a Secretary down the hall, or a mean Librarian, this article walks through a number of ways to deal with these Toxic people and gives some really good advice that I think most of us could use in our day to day lives. Mean people exist, but as Chernoff rightly puts it, you don’t have to allow them to take up space in your head… “raise the rent and get them out of there.”