“This conflict stuff makes sense, but what about toxic people?”

This may be a question that has crossed your mind. 

There are times when you will encounter people who seem to thrive on disagreements and conflict.  When you encounter them, stay focused on the core issue (i.e. ignore personal insults).  Remain polite and calm:

  • Focus on the outcome, not the other person.
  • Provide a response brief, specific and friendly.
  • If this is a person you must interact with on a regular basis, set a standing series of meetings to work with them and be very clear on boundaries (i.e. the purpose, outcome and start/end times). For any ad hoc requests, funnel them (as much as possible) to the standing meeting.

People who are high conflict may often demean you and complain about things that are not key to the central issue.  It takes discernment to recognize real issues.  Your goal is to respond only to the core issue(s).

A great resource on how to effectively respond to those who are toxic is “Biff: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Email and Social Media Meltdowns” by Bill Eddy