How to Avoid Toxic People: Happiness 101

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Good Vibes, Good Life" by Vex King. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you have a friend who always complains, judges, and sees things in a negative light? What’s the best way to deal with toxic people?

Unconsciously, we adopt the beliefs and habits of people we spend time spend with. Being around toxic people—people who see the world through a negative lens—will make you more like them, no matter your resolve to stay positive.

Here’s how to avoid toxic people, according to mind coach Vex King.

Avoid Toxic People

One of the fastest ways to lower your vibration is by being around negative people. King explains that vibes are contagious—if the people you’re with are thinking negatively and behaving in a toxic manner, their negativity will rub off on you. 

For example, if the person you’re with is constantly complaining, criticizing, gossiping, moping, and so on, you’ll probably end up in a bad mood, even if you are a positive person. These people can be anyone from friends and coworkers to family and partners. So if you continue to be around these people, you’ll be unable to maintain good vibes.

(Shortform note: In Primal Leadership, the authors second King’s argument that emotions are highly contagious and explain that this is because of our brain function. The emotional center of our brain, called the limbic system, is an open-loop system, meaning that internal factors are shaped by external stimuli. This means that our own emotions are highly impacted by the emotions of other people. So if we’re around positive people, we’re likely to end up in a good mood, whereas if we’re around negative people, our good moods can be tarnished quickly.)

In his book Good Vibes, Good Life, mind coach Vex King explains how to avoid toxic people. He says that if you’re honest with the other person and explain the toxic behaviors and their effect on you, they may be understanding and willing to change. Ultimately, you should aim to form relationships with positive people who are open to this kind of feedback and who’ll help you see the best side of things and raise your own vibrations.

How to Confront a Toxic Person

Experts second King’s assertion, explaining that the best way to save your relationship with a toxic person is to make them aware of their toxic behavior. They make a number of suggestions on how and how not to address the situation:

  • Do use “I” statements to explain their behavior and how it makes you feel. For example “When you criticize my appearance, it makes me feel self-conscious about myself.”
  • Do walk away if they refuse to address your concerns.
  • Do offer compassion, but don’t try to fix them. It’s not your job to be their psychologist.

Don’t let them convince you that they’re the victim. This is a manipulation tactic to make you stay without them having to change their behavior.

How to Avoid Toxic People: Happiness 101

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  • Why the key to living your dream life is to have good vibrations
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Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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