“I learned long ago never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.” George Bernard Shaw
I know that person is difficult. Even extremely difficult. But getting into a down and dirty mud-slinging fight with them is never the answer.
Toxic people enjoy getting into big, dramatic, ick-splattering social catastrophes. Like the bad kid in your class growing up, it meets some of their needs:
- It proves that they matter. Attention is the goal here, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s good or bad attention. Just so someone’s noticing.
- For some people, big drama actually means intimacy. The fact that you care enough to enter their gross, complicated world on their terms is something they enjoy. They mistakenly believe this is how to get closer to someone else.
- “People who hurt the most, hurt the most.” People who are in pain enjoy causing other people pain, because it provides a distraction for them from their own miserable circumstances.
Decide that you’re going to be the bigger person. Draw your boundaries. Speak calmly. Try your best. Focus on building into the lives of people who appreciate your efforts. Forgive. Focus on the winners in your life, not the whiners. Pick up the phone and talk to someone who brings you energy and life and move on.
As Sting says in ‘Englishman in New York: “It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile.”
You can do this and you’ll feel good about yourself for having done so.