The power of subtle

The topic of so-called “toxic people” has come up several times in my network this week.

My observations:

Direct toxic comments and behavior are easier to recognize: “That’s a stupid idea.”  “No one in our family should get involved in one of ‘those things.’ ” “It’s your job to cook dinner every night.”

The more subtle or indirect attacks can be more harmful, because they undermine confidence in a disguised way. Such comments are typically couched as well-meaning advice.

“Are you SURE this is going to work? Maybe you should reconsider.”

“You should get a refund right away, so at least you get your money back.”

And sometimes the undermining happens in a passive-aggressive style:

“I’m sorry, honeypie, I’m working really hard here at the office so I can’t watch the kids tonight. You can always go to the meeting next week.”

To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

–LYnn Selwa, “The Rocket Science Coach” ™

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