Do you work with a toxic person? Truly toxic people are the ones who never let things go and don’t make an effort to demonstrate empathy. They criticize without offering solutions. They drag everyone down.
Are you toxic? I know that I am a bit difficult on many levels.
- I am confident, quick to observe, and quick to render judgment.
- I am verbal, which means that I will tell you how I feel without much of a filter and reserve the right to walk it back because — hey, it’s just words.
- I assume you have a high EQ and understand that my intentions are good. After all, why am I talking to you if you’re dumb?
- If you don’t understand that my intentions are good, you’ll come around and figure it out.
I know that working with me and spending time with me in a professional setting is tough. I am not interested in talking about good, easy, simple things in life. Your marriage is great? You like brownies? You have a new car? That’s great. Wonderful. I am happy for you. Truly. I care. But emotional intimacy at work is difficult for me. If I had my druthers, I would rather talk about what’s going wrong. Where the world is falling apart. Deficiencies. How we can fix things. How we can make things better.
But I’m not sure I am toxic. Do we ever recognize that quality in ourselves? Hm.
With my friends, I am much more laid back and intimate. The expectations are different. I can have fun. But if you’re a colleague or someone who regularly disappoints me because your performance at life is shitty, I have to work hard at reminding myself to slow down and be more personable.
When I work with a toxic person, I always ask myself — are their criticisms valid? Do they have a good point? Is there something I can do to change the situation? If not — and that person is just an asshole — I try to offer kindness. Really.
There but for the grace of God go I.