Socializing is an important part of human life. But it also exposes people to the harsh realities of society. While some come out to help those in need, others surely take advantage of the fact and adopt means to benefit themselves.
Covid’s situation has not been easy on anyone. Working from home got everyone into isolation. However, it was a relief for a few, but most people found it difficult to cope with it as it was hard to maintain a work-life balance.
On returning to work, people dreaded the thought of socializing. It was not easy for a lot of people who were not comfortable around others and had to confront their fears. For some, socializing was a way to cope with their work and feel better about it. It was also a way to make new friends and learn new things. However, socializing has its disadvantages. It can be a source of anxiety and stress for some people, especially at the workplace.
Why Are People Susceptible to Toxicity in the Workplace?
There are many reasons that lead to toxicity in a workspace. When people from all walks of society come together, there ought to be a clash of ideologies. The office is a space where employees are expected to bring their ideas to the table. When people with different cultures and experiences share their ideas, there will be differences of opinion.
Let us look at the few reasons why workplaces would have a toxic environment in the first place.
1. Work Pressure
Offices generally have a tense atmosphere because of the work pressure, and to add to the misery, there is always competition between employees working in different positions. Some offices offer incentives that make the competition even tougher. There is always a chance of someone from your team going ahead of you, and the pressure never ends.
2. Boring Work Environment
A lot of work with very little social engagement can become boring at the workplace. No wonder people would want to find something interesting to do. It is the natural tendency of human beings to incline more towards negativity and toxic thoughts. Soon either you become someone with toxic traits, or toxic people surround you to make your life difficult.
The signs of toxicity could be a lack of energy, anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, forgetfulness, and poor concentration.
3. Work Schedule
When many professionals come together to work and achieve a common goal, as is the case in an office, everyone’s schedule is expected to be in harmony. But some employees tend to create a work schedule that is not conducive to the rest of the team, which can result in a lot of tension and conflict.
4. Informal Communication
Everyone is aware of the formal tone that needs to be used in a workspace. However, informal communication is equally important for the employees in an organization. Ideally, this kind of communication is used to ease the formality quotient amongst the employers.
It is also a way of releasing work stress by engaging in conversations among employees of the same level. These conversations are highly personal and are one of the main sources of gossip and are also often used by people to spread toxicity across.
How to Protect Yourself From Toxic Coworkers?
After understanding the possible reasons that lead to coworkers being toxic and finding out how toxicity spreads in a workspace, it is time to learn how one protects oneself from such toxic coworkers.
It is best to train your mind to believe that some people do not wish the best for you. This is why it is important to keep your distance from such people as much as possible. Working in the same workspace would mean that you have to engage with them personally. You can work with them and avoid being in their company by using certain mental strategies.
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Seven Mental Strategies and Tips to Protect Yourself from Toxic Workers
The best part about mental strategies is that you don’t have to tell anyone you’re avoiding someone while maintaining your distance from the person you believe is causing you mental distress. It’s all about conditioning your mind to believe that you can’t change their behavior; therefore, you should focus on changing your own.
1. Change Your Attitude
Things become a lot easier when we see them from a different perspective. When you do not allow yourself to get affected by other people’s opinions or actions, you will be able to create a better work environment for yourself. Focusing on your growth is most important. Do not take anything personally and continue to work on yourself for the better.
2. Maintain Distance
Maintain a distance from toxic people both at the physical and psychological levels. And you can do this by avoiding any unnecessary conversation with the toxic coworker. Unless being talked to, it is best to avoid any conversation. At the same time, you do not want to make it apparent or obvious that you are avoiding them on purpose.
3. Do Not Overshare
As mentioned before, you do not want to engage in unnecessary conversation with your coworkers who use your information against you in some form or the other. At some point, you will be expected to connect with them for work-related reasons but ensure that your conversations are limited to the professional sphere. This brings us to the next point.
4. Set Boundaries
Set your boundaries straight, and do not allow anyone to navigate through these boundaries. You can be assertive where you do not find yourself comfortable. You can do this by directly letting your toxic coworkers know what and how they are crossing their boundaries. Walk away from the situation when you feel things are turning negative. There is no shame in withdrawing yourself from an uncomfortable scenario.
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5. Seek Support
If you find yourself getting too involved in the situation, seek someone to understand the trouble you are experiencing. It could be someone from within your organization who you can trust. Keep him/her posted about the toxic coworker and their behavior.
This will serve two purposes. First, you will get some confidence in yourself, and second, the other person will become cautious. There is a high chance you get rid of their behavior in either case. Self-confidence can enable you not to get affected by their actions, and getting them cautious could mean a warning to the person, and perhaps, they would learn to mind their business in the future.
6. Stay Positive
If you are a working professional working for an organization, no one expects you to plan your retirement in this company. Treat the episode with the coworker who is toxic as a learning experience. There are good and bad people everywhere. Stay positive and hopeful that you will fully realize your true potential in this organization and move on to get into a better organization and position.
7. Focus on Your Growth
I cannot emphasize this point any further; it is essential to stay true to yourself and focus on your growth. You will surely attract people who will understand your worth and allow you to grow. So keep working hard and continue to shine in your field of work.
Meanwhile, treat these episodes as obstacles that you need to cross to eventually make a difference in your life.
Everyone is bound to come across toxic people from all walks of life. No doubt, you would have had friends with toxic traits all throughout your school and college time. In addition, some people have to face toxicity in their homes. A home is considered the safest and most secure space, yet people have to deal with toxicity.
Considering these points, it is relatively easier to maintain a distance from toxic coworkers at the workplace. The best way is to change yourself and your outlook toward the toxic person. You do not need to indulge in negative conversations or behavior.
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