An Ode to Ignoring Toxic People

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We are often told that communication is key.

People advocate the importance of openly sharing your feelings with your partners and friends, thoughts with colleagues, and so on. That’s absolutely true. You should. But what they don’t tell you is that sometimes, communication does absolutely nothing.

You can talk all you want, but your effort is lost if the other person is not ready to listen.

Communication can be key. But with the right people.

Try talking it out with a toxic person – someone who wants absolute control over the situation. They might demean and insult you for sharing your thoughts. What do we do then? Should we communicate more? Will that lead to better results? Sometimes, maturity is cutting off such people from your lives without lengthy dialogues when you realize things will not improve by talking.

It is not popular advice – to ignore. But it has its powers. Ignorance is indeed bliss when you know talking will not yield fruitful results. You can save yourselves from getting hurt when you choose to ignore. I sure did not believe in the power of quiet when I was in my 20s. I ardently believed each and every problem could be resolved by talking. In the process, I bared my soul, talking about my insecurities, frights, and pain with people who did not deserve my empathy or trust. I over-communicated in the hope that they would be more kind once they understood what I was going through. Some ended up using that private information against me. A piece of advice – unless you are absolutely confident about your relationship with this other person, do not be vulnerable and reveal your negatives. They just might misuse it. Communication is key. Again, with the right people.

When you ignore toxic people, you take away their right to infuriate you further. You are making them lose control over you. You are suffocating them because they are satisfied only when you retort. They want you to be affected by what they say. These are the people to watch out for and consciously avoid interacting with. You are not liable to hold any sort of communication with them. You end up saving precious energy this way and can divert it toward more productive interactions.

With experience, you know who such people are and how much effort you are willing to spend on them. You start to understand when things get “too much,” and you eventually start holding back. It’s something, unfortunately, that the 20s won’t teach you. We don’t learn unless we experience the same thing multiple times because it’s by rote that lessons get drilled into our brains. You experience similar people again and again till you learn how to deal with them in the future – that’s the way of life. No amount of advice or posts (like this one) will stop someone from thinking or acting how they want. Only experience can help you – it’s the best teacher, after all.