Nothing drains your energy, productivity, and happiness more than working in a toxic environment.
If you have already experienced the struggle of spending eight hours a day with people that make you hate Mondays with every cell of your body, then you know what toxic working environment actually means. It’s not just a modern way to say you don’t fancy your job, but rather a severe issue millions of people are dealing with on a daily basis.
A study published in the January-February 2013 issue of Harvard Business Review, has found that 98% of people have reported experiencing toxic behavior at work. It turned out that working in an overwhelming environment makes employees less committed to their organization, significantly decreases their productivity, and rapidly lowers their quality of work.
Unfortunately, we cannot control the toxicity of others. However, we can control the way we react to it. Being able to recognize toxicity in an early stage and control it has the power to alter the course of a relationship, as noted by Dr. Travis Bradberry, author of the book ‘Emotional Intelligence 2.0’.
Just like any other obstacle in life, you must first understand what’s making a certain type of relationship toxic to be able to overcome it. In the best-case scenario, by understanding the cause of toxicity, you will be able to eliminate it and control the course of the relationship into your favor. But even if you can’t fight the cause, at least you will know which interactions to avoid.
Below are listed 6 common types of toxic relationships you need to avoid if you want to preserve your own mental health.
1. Passive-aggressive relationships.
Whether it’s a manager who forces you to do all the dirty work or a co-worker who does the bare minimum and leaves all the responsibilities to you, passive-aggressive relationships can be found everywhere in the working hierarchy. That’s because many people fail to understand what working ethic truly is about. These unethical beings have little to no understanding of what teamwork truly means. It’s all about avoiding the problem and handing it to someone else for them.
2. Relationships built on lies.
The line between facts and fiction becomes invisible to colleagues who build their relationships on lies. They get so caught up in the stories they tell, that they often forget what’s real and what’s just an embellishment. That’s when the lies pile up. You should always be careful around people who cannot give you straight answers and would rather tell you a whole story to keep your mind off the serious matter.
3. One-sided relationships.
Relationships are all about partnership. If there is no mutual effort and understanding, the whole point of maintaining a relationship fades away. When it comes to one-sided relationships in the workplace, this can severely affect the whole working process. So, as hard as it may be, the best way to oppose such toxicity is to stop giving. Stop being the only one putting effort into making the relationship work. And when this isn’t possible, try to have a frank conversation with the other one involved in this interaction about the way their indifference affects both of you.
4. Relationships that lack forgiveness and trust.
Everyone makes mistakes at work. It’s inevitable. What’s important here is how you react to those mistakes, whether you were the one in the wrong or not. Some employees get so obsessed with their co-workers’ errors, that they forget they can fall into the same situation themselves. They start acting like a single mistake can erase all the trust that has been built over time and refuse to give forgiveness. But when they are the ones in the wrong, they expect you to forgive them in the blink of an eye.
5. Idealistic relationships.
That’s when you begin to idealize a colleague a little too soon. It’s considered toxic because it washes away the boundaries you usually need for a healthy working environment. A clear illustration of suchlike relationship is when you just assume your co-worker is right even when their actions are against your personal beliefs or defy your understanding of working ethic. In this case, it’s crucial for you to remember to stay objective, no matter how great you believe a certain colleague of yours is.
6. Relationships based on punishment.
These kinds of relationships occur when one of the parties punishes the other one for certain actions that don’t meet their initial expectations. People with suchlike punitive instincts believe they can just punish whomever they want without fully understanding the situation. And what’s most frustrating about these relationships is that when you try to make thins clear and explain why you behaved a certain way, the other party refuses to accept your explanation and labels you as ‘too sensitive’.
While maintaining an emotional distance from a toxic co-worker or an entire overwhelming working environment can be incredibly difficult, it’s vital for preserving your own wellbeing. Luckily, once you’ve identified the cause of toxicity in the workplace, it gets quite easier to overcome it. You just need to be a little patient.