There are two kinds of toxic people in the world. People that you are near whether it be your family, a friend, or a co-worker. The second type of toxic person is really a toxic persona. This person is fine when you are face-to-face but online there persona is quite different.
Toxic people are those we have face to face contact with on a frequent basis. This could be a co-worker that is always taking credit for your work. It could be a boss who doesn’t get #metoo. It could be a neighbor or close friend who always criticizes you. It could be your significant other who is more concerned about their needs instead of yours.
Toxic people are hard to remove from your life. Often there are legal or employment considerations before you can remove them. Sometimes you’re stuck until the house sells or until the lease is up. Sometimes you have to just find a new job and/or a new city. Removing a toxic person from your life often means you need to take the initiative and remove yourself or at least significantly decrease your personal contact with that person. If you do not initiate change, then nothing changes, and the toxicity goes on.
The second type of toxic person is the one who changes their persona when they go online. Face to face you can get along and have a good time. Unfortunately, once they go online, they adopt a toxic persona which is very different than their personal presence. They spout all sorts of venom online. They deny basic facts. They believe anything that does not square with their worldview is fake news and fake facts. People we thought of as smart and intelligent, kind and generous, turn out to be real assholes online.
Why? Well most of us hate face to face confrontation. We don’t want to offend a friend or relative, so we keep our yaps shut. Once we go home or get I our car and can flip Facebook open or Twitter open we take a f@ck that shit attitude and go crazy. Gay, Straight, people of Color, the opposite political party, even generation versus generation everyone is a viable target. Carl is a nice guy but one of the biggest racists I know. Jane is an excellent co-worker, but her views on women’s rights are just plain stupid. You are tired of her taking every list post your or your friends create as an opportunity to go political. Many a friendship has been damaged thru the miracle of social media.
The greatest problem with toxic people and toxic personas is that they consume our energy or shift our power into the dark world they live in. Once we are sucked in, we lose our ability to pursue our own good. We formulate our response over and over in our heads taking up valuable time and space from what WE want to do or need to do. It becomes difficult to concentrate or even sleep.
What do you do when someone we thought as rational and sane turns out to be the biggest jerk or bitch in the world?
- Engage them hoping to change their minds
- Change is highly unlikely as they can hide in their social media shell and continue to spout venom.
- Answer every social media post with logic
- The toxic persona is not logical. They are toxic because they eschew logic because then they would have to change their worldview.
- With Facebook one can:
- Unfriend-removing them entirely from your life at least digitally. Sometimes this is the best way because you know they will goad you into a fight. Forget about it and move on and away from their venom
Unfollow-so that you do not see their posts. You can remain friends, BUT you don’t have to see the crap they post. It will not end up flowing through your News Feed. If they ask you did you see my post about X all you have to say is sorry I must have missed Besides if anything big is going on you will find out through other sources.
- Block-which prevents communication between you and your Facebook friend.
I would encourage you to develop an exit strategy from the toxic people and/or personas in your life. Knowing what your options are is key to coping with difficult people. Knowing your exit strategy also lessens the stress on you so you can live life to the fullest.
Why should you do this?
Because life is too damn short to be dealing with toxic assholes.