How to avoid someone

It would be nice if you could unfollow them in real life, too, but let’s take things one at a time. Weed out all the annoying, stressful people in your social media accounts. Simple. But a part of you would still want to get updated, right? You want to know just how annoying they can get? It’s not worth it! Unfollow them now, and if there are times you really get curious, just visit their page. [Read: 5 big lessons you need to learn to deal with judgmental people]

#2 Keep answers short and simple. If you do not like someone, do not engage in long conversations! Why would you? You don’t have to! That is another plain and simple thing, yet some people find it hard to do because… A: they’re people pleasers; B: the person they hate is someone powerful *boss, client, etc.* or C: they’re scared it might be too obvious, and they’re scared 2of confrontation.

It’s okay to be a fake toward bosses and clients, but if you’re faking because you don’t want people to think you’re not nice, it’s time to get real and get some balls. Keep conversations short and direct. You can appear to be busy, or you can just exit and go to your cubicle to take a good nap. [Read: 20 signs you’re a people pleaser and don’t realize it]

#3 Don’t flash a big, warm smile. There is absolutely no need to fake a smile. Don’t worry: it doesn’t make you an ice queen. Smiling at a person that’s giving you stress is like giving food to a crazy dog. Just do what you’re doing, and hope they will ignore you, too. Even small talk could affect your well-being, so don’t entertain that by flashing a big smile.

#4 Delay replies as long as you can. Whether through e-mail, text, DMs, or Skype messages, make it a goal to always delay your replies—unless it’s for work. Be calm, and realize that replying late is not offensive. This “cold shoulder” should send them a message that you don’t want to be close to them. What’s so great about this is that it’s effective, yet they can’t confront you about it. They would sound clingy or bossy if they asked you why you’re not replying quickly.

#5 Listen to music on headset. What a great way to escape the world without explaining yourself, right? It’s one of the most popular anti-social devices, which you can easily use when you want people to leave you alone. Not only will it prevent you from talking to them, it also really soothes your nerves. Make a playlist with all feel-good music, so that when they come marching toward you, you simply press play to counter the bad energy.

#6 Limit face-to-face interaction. If you’re pissed with a co-worker, it’s difficult to avoid them for a very long time, because it will affect your work. You could get fired by not complying, just because you opted to avoid them. But you don’t have to torture yourself by seeing their face every day. If there’s a way for you to submit your work through e-mail or consult via chat, do it. This will make your life easier. Less interaction, less stress. [Read: 13 happy things you need around you for a really happy life]

#7 Change your routine. If you usually leave the office around 5 PM, maybe you should leave a little earlier or a little later. If you usually eat at McDonald’s, try eating somewhere else. Use another path to get to work. These little changes in routine will likely change your pattern of interaction with the person that stresses you.

#8 Find out their routine and stay away from it. Take time to notice the routine of the person that stresses the hell out of you, and just stay away from it. If that person happens to be your neighbor, pay attention to his or her schedule so that you won’t be in the same place at the same time. If they mow the lawn every Saturday morning, don’t have barbeque in your garden at the same time.

#9 Say no to invitations. If they invite you to party in the Hamptons, yet they really stress you out, don’t go. Say no. Come up with an excuse so you won’t appear unkind—but even this is not a requirement. Simply saying, “Thank you, but I’m too tired lately, and I just want to stay at home and sleep all day” is not too lame. [Read: 10 tips to set boundaries around difficult people]

#10 Don’t attend parties they’re attending. If you know they’re attending a certain party, don’t go there! Again, plain and simple in theory, but could be a bit challenging in real life—especially if you have a lot of common friends. Just limit the parties you attend, and if you do attend parties where they’re present, stay away from them without being too obvious.

#11 Deep breaths. If you’ve done all the things mentioned above, yet they’re still around, maybe it’s time you start living with the fact that they’re always going to be around. Take long, deep breaths for at least one minute, and it will help you recharge after being exposed to negative energy. It also keeps you from bursting into a fit. This way, you will be able to protect your core from their negativity and function as you should. [Read: 12 steps to change your life and fill your life with happiness]

#12 Be joyful to the point that they won’t affect you anymore. This may sound like advice from Dr. Phil, but it’s the best solution on this list. Yep, the best way to ignore someone who’s mentally stressing you is by being so joyful and exuberant, that you’ll even want to hug your enemies.

If you develop this kind of attitude, there’s absolutely no one that can rain on your parade or make you bitter. It takes a ton of work, though, as you have to rewire the way you think and feel. Aside from cultivating an “I don’t give a damn” attitude, you should also develop your inner strength to shield yourself from stressors.

Being in constant contact with people who are negative, critical, and annoying can be emotionally, psychologically, and physically draining. We can avoid them by following the tricks mentioned above.

However, if avoiding them is impossible, we have to learn how to live with them gracefully; if we can’t ignore them, we have to kill them with kindness. You won’t believe how this can transform your relationships and your way of thinking.

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How to avoid someone

This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.

Sometimes you’ve really had it. The work week was shitty, your commute had you pressed up against the bodies of strangers, and now, you’re wondering what decisions in your life have led to this miserable existence. One thing is for certain: You need some alone time.

And then, right on time, someone you totally don’t want to talk to wants to talk to you. Or invite you “for a drink.” They slide into your DMs over and over again, or hit on you—perhaps all of these things. Classic.

Sure, human interaction is all well and good, right? But, so is returning to the solace of your home to watch Netflix and vape. I’m sure some social butterflies are reading this and wondering who would be so sour on humanity that they’d need advice on escape plans. This probably isn’t for you.

Make up an elaborate excuse.
Just please do not make up one that is about a loved one getting seriously injured in an accident or having cancer. That shit is not even believable and most definitely will give you bad karma—if that is something that really exists.

Mute them.
As someone who recently started using the “mute” button on iMessage conversations, I can tell you that this is an escape tool everyone should have in their pocket. An annoying clueless person can send you all of the messages they want, but none of these will lead to an anxiety-provoking notification popping up on your screen. When you’re ready, you can look at your “text message conversation,” which may actually just look like a person talking to themselves, and consider if blocking is necessary.

Get on a pretend phone call.
An unnamed VICE staffer discussed one of his go-to escape tactics:
“I do this thing where I make pretend phone calls just to leave a joint without talking to people… because I want to leave the joint without talking to people. It’s that simple. I don’t want your “see ya later,” or accidental fist-bump-shake. I’m just done. If it’s the middle of the day, and I’m hugging my phone to my ear as I walk toward the door, I’m not coming back.”

Look at your phone, pretend you got an important message, and walk away from the situation.
Like the last one, with a twist. Sometimes looking at your phone with an expression of alarm on your face and running to the bathroom is more believable than being on a phone call in the year of 2018.

Ghost.
An evergreen way to avoid people. Just be aware that some call this behavior “abusive” now. But, if someone is making you feel really uncomfortable and not respecting your boundaries, plus you think they’ll act irrational or even violent if you tell them how you really feel, sometimes you just have to. If that’s the case, do not waste your time feeling bad about it. Looking out for yourself is nothing to be ashamed of.

“Work is just so crazy busy right now, sorry!”
This isn’t even an excuse because it probably is just the truth if you’re an adult who works.

Just say “no.”
Saying “no” is an underrated form of self-care. You don’t need to agree to every social engagement or entertain every person who flirts with you. Sometimes, bluntly declining is just the move. Unfortunately, some people are super persistent—especially those who really want to have sex with or date you and can’t take a hint. If someone can’t take no for an answer, that is a serious red flag. You probably do not want this person in your life, even on the periphery. Abort.

Reschedule.
Maybe you’re just not feeling it today. But if you have to reschedule on someone over and over, that’s a sign that you probably don’t care about having them around. It’s best to be straightforward if you can be and let them know you’re not interested in spending time with them if it gets to the point of serial rescheduling.

Block them on every form of social media (and their phone number) and act like you don’t know who they are when you run into them.
This option is for when the mute button and your suspicious lack of replies somehow does not send a clear signal. What you’re experiencing may even be considered harassment. Word of advice while we’re at it: If someone ignores message after message from you, it is most likely because they are not interested in talking to you and not because their phone is broken.

Change your life so that you don’t have to interact with them.
Seems extreme, but if someone is repetitively invading your personal space and time, maybe it’s time to look at other options. Do you need to change jobs? Social circles? Move? Take a break from social media?

Maybe just tell them the truth about how you’re feeling.
Honesty really can be the best policy sometimes. But if this person can’t accept rejection (like that person who just doesn’t get that you have no friend chemistry) feel free to opt for a more sinister escape plan. When someone doesn’t respect your truth and always prioritizes their feelings, they have no place in your life.

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Over the years, I’ve learned how to avoid people. It’s all about skill, talent, and experience, I guess.

I start thinking about Dr. Sueus when I chant my avoidance mantra in my head, “I will avoid you in the streets, I will avoid you in the park, I will avoid you all day long, and I will avoid you after dark”. Yeah, it’s funny, I guess, but also disturbing. I am still not all the way sure if avoiding people is healthy, but I am a master at it. If you want to learn how to avoid people you don’t like, I will tell you how.

I am an introvert. I avoid people most of the time in social situations. However, I do talk to the grocer, the store clerk or any repairmen I invite into my home. That’s because these things are inevitable.

It’s not always easy to avoid people you don’t like or know, but I will try and make it simple for you to work on.

1. Change your phone number

One of the best ways to avoid people you don’t like is to change your phone number. More than likely, at some point, there may have been some unsavory people who’ve snatched your number. Maybe you gave it to them before you realized you didn’t like them or maybe a friend leaked out your number. Eck!

So, change your number and be extremely selective about who gets this new number. You can avoid people you don’t know by simply NOT giving them your number at all. This cuts off one avenue of communication.

2. Unfriend, unfollow and block

Honestly, sometimes I hate this age of technology. People can find you anywhere. There are few places you can actually hide away anymore. If you want to avoid someone you don’t like, for one, don’t be their friend on social media.

If it’s too late for that, unfriend, unfollow, and unblock. They say there’s no indication to the other person that you’ve done this. If you want to avoid people you don’t know, just don’t accept friend requests and definitely do not partake in personal messages. In my opinion, it’s not rude, it’s just a human right.

3. By association

Sometimes there could be someone you really don’t like being around, but there’s a mutual friend in between. This will take some finessing. You don’t have to stop being friends with one to not associate with the other.

All you need to do is find out when your friend will be around the person you don’t like, and those are the times you turn down any invitations. You can say you are busy, and this will not be a lie. You are busy taking care of your mental health. Let’s face it, some people you don’t like are also toxic to your health.

4. Avoid certain social functions

If you’re an introvert, this one won’t be that hard for you anyway. If the person you don’t like is attending a particular social function, say a birthday party, then just don’t go. You can also say you’re busy like before.

If you really want to go to the function, then you can always keep busy associating with people you like to avoid spending any time with the one you don’t like. Also, make sure you avoid all eye contact with this person, as eye contact is an expressive invitation.

5. Create boundaries

Whether other people understand or not, it doesn’t matter. Boundaries are important, and you need to be able to say no to associating with people if you want to.

If you don’t like them or if you don’t know them, you should be able to say, “I don’t have to deal with this social interaction if I don’t want to“. You have the freedom to be quiet, calm or walk away. You even have the freedom to refuse invitations even from your family if you need to.

6. Limit social events

I use myself as an example for this one. I personally feel just fine if I attend one social event a month if that. My husband is more sociable than me and likes to go out every week, even more than once sometimes. It actually drains me to do this.

Sometimes when I do go out, I see people I don’t like or people I don’t know. This causes anxiety. So, to make things simpler, I try to limit my social events to whatever I can handle. It’s best for my mental health. At times I try to push myself, but never beyond what I can take, especially when I don’t like certain people in crowds.

7. Work from home

If you really want to avoid those you don’t like, work from home. This means the only contact you must have is with those you work for online or friends of your choosing. All it takes to walk away is the simple click of a button. People who work from home, especially those who suffer from anxiety, find it refreshing to have this sort of work atmosphere.

Is avoidance normal?

To a certain extent, I think a little avoidance is normal. If you cannot avoid some people in your life, you may encounter episodes of anger or anxiety. However, you cannot avoid every person or every situation that doesn’t serve you. Unfortunately, there comes a time when you must face the music and face your demons.

The bottom line is, it’s okay to avoid someone you don’t like or don’t know sometimes. It’s just important to do it in a respectful way. I hope this helps. Now, going back into my cave. See you later!

References:

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  • Recent Posts
  • How It Feels to Be the Black Sheep of the Family & How to Cope – April 4, 2021
  • ‘Why Am I So Mean’? 7 Things That Make You Seem Rude – March 30, 2021
  • 8 Signs of Toxic Family Relationships Most People Think Are Normal – March 26, 2021

How To Avoid Getting Doxxed

How to avoid someone

Doxxing refers to someone gathering pieces of personal information and posting them online – whether on a private page or in a more public location. In many cases, the intent is to harass the person or to lead others into harassing them. Doxxing has many dangers associated with it, but there are several ways to protect against this malicious activity.

Dangers of Doxxing

Doxxing is typically a targeted attack. Someone might have a social media post go viral, or be well known in a particular hobby group or social circle. Perhaps they have opinions that differ from the doxxer’s, such as sensitive or political topics. And the damage that can be done is wide-ranging.

The most concerning is called “Swatting”. An individual calls law enforcement with a tip about a violent criminal or a similar figure that results in police bringing special units to the location. The target of this harassment has no idea what’s going on, and this misunderstanding could lead to severe consequence.

Depending on the level of violence and disruption, a user could be forced to change email addresses and phone numbers. If their workplace is known, it may result in job termination due to the volume of disruption and false reporting.

How Does Doxxing Happen?

There are many ways to get personal information online. An individual may not realize how many clues they give away when posting about their life, work, leisure activities and other personal information. Social media profiles that are open to the public are goldmines of data. Third-party data collectors also have a wealth of information, which may be added to what the person doxxing already knows.

Databases that get passed around in hacker communities make it possible to break into personal accounts and get more knowledge as well. If a person uses the same username and password on all of the sites they access, and one of those accounts gets compromised, it’s a simple matter to get into the rest of the information. That’s one reason why strong, encrypted passwords are so critical – including the use of multi-factor authentication.

Why People Dox Others

The motivations behind doxxing come in many forms. A person might feel they’ve been attacked, insulted or slighted by their target. They could be seeking revenge for this incident. If someone is outspoken on the internet and has controversial opinions, they could put themselves in the crosshairs of someone with opposing viewpoints. Usually, this type of reaction occurs due to hot button issues, rather than run-of-the-mill disagreements.

People who use Twitch and other live streaming services could end up making a fan upset if they must ban that person for inappropriate behavior. Followers sometimes assume they have a closer personal connection than they actually do. Regardless of the motivations behind doxxing, it can put people in an uncomfortable and potentially deadly situation.

How to Avoid Getting Doxxed

The best way to limit damage from doxxing is to avoid the situation entirely. Here are several ways to stop potential doxxing attempts in their tracks:

Use a VPN

A virtual private network offers excellent protection from exposing IP addresses and physical addresses of an individual. The VPN takes the user’s internet traffic, encrypts it, and sends it through one of the service’s servers before heading out to the public internet. In a previous blog, we outlined several VPNs that take privacy and security very seriously.

Limiting Personal Information Online

People must go to much greater lengths to dox a person that doesn’t share personal information online. Social media sites often ask many of invasive questions, which can lead to attackers learning more than enough about their target. By keeping this information offline entirely, doxxers usually move on to someone else.

Auditing Social Media Posts

Over the years, social media profiles fill up with all sorts of data about the person and their past. Take the time to go through social media accounts and delete posts that contain too much personal information. Even if you didn’t post it directly, look for comments that may accidentally share this type of data as well.

Ask Google to Remove Information

If personal information appears in Google search results, the individual can request that it get removed from the search engine. Google makes this a simple process through an online form. Many data brokers put this type of data online, usually for background checks or crime check information.

Avoid Online Quizzes

Some quizzes ask a lot of seemingly random questions, which are actually the answers to common security questions. Plus, it gives attackers more data to work with. Supplying an email address or name to go along with results makes it even easier to associate information from other data sources.

Practice Good Cybersecurity Practices

Put anti-virus and malware detection software in place that can stop a doxxer from stealing information through malicious applications. Regularly update software to avoid any security bugs that could lead to being hacked and doxxed. Once an operating system reaches the end of its supported life, switch to a newer version to decreased security vulnerabilities.

Change Passwords Regularly

Data breaches happen all the time, so it’s usually only a matter of time before a username and password combination gets out in the wild. By switching every month and using a password manager to create complex codes, it’s harder for a hacker to break into accounts. An individual can consider using two-factor or multi-factor authentication as well, which requires more than just a username/password combination to access the application.

Doxxing is a serious issue made possible by easy access to personal information online. Staying safe in an online world isn’t easy, but following cybersecurity best-practices can help.

Learn more about keeping your data safe online with the following Resource Links:

How to avoid someone

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How to avoid someone

If you’ve ever driven during rush-hour traffic or waded through a crowded store, you know all too well that rude people are everywhere. Whether it’s an insulting comment or a dismissive attitude, rudeness is pervasive. All too often, this negativity rubs off on us.

You can’t control someone else’s behavior but you don’t want to be provoked by someone’s ill-mannered attitude. So what do you do?

When confronted with toxic behavior, whether it’s coming from a crotchety stranger, a grouchy coworker or a snappish friend, here are some tried and true methods that smart people use to effectively handle rude people.

1. Realize that rudeness is nothing new.

Rudeness seems to be part of human nature. We’ve been complaining about it since the beginning of time — Plato famously ranted about disrespectful and ill-mannered youths. Rude behavior can easily become a habit for many people. We often simply overlook or forget the importance of showing kindness, sympathy and understanding to others.

Rude behavior is catching: it tends to trigger more negative behavior. But if we can see that these negative behaviors hamper our productivity, our happiness and our health, we can recognize the importance of putting a stop to such conduct. Rudeness is nothing new, but that doesn’t mean we have to continue the cycle of rudeness.

2. Stop the spiral of rudeness.

Rude behavior can spread like a disease if you let it. One act of rudeness can easily spiral and cause other acts of rudeness, spreading foul tempers and poor behavior in its wake.

It’s easy to see how this happens. A rude driver cuts in front of you on the way to work, causing you to feel annoyed and frustrated. You take those negative feelings out your office mates when you find yourself snapping at co-workers for no real reason. Your co-workers, feeling miffed, are then grumpy and rude to others. And so it goes.

You have it in your power to stop that cycle of rudeness. With a little empathy you can defuse rudeness with kindness.

3. Don’t take rudeness personally.

The first step to stopping the cycle of rudeness is to stop taking rude behavior personally. We all have bad days when the world seems to be beating us down. It’s all too tempting to take it out on the world, which really means taking it out on the person nearest to you.

This happens to all of us, so realizing that the offending person may just be having a bad day can put things into perspective. They may be dealing with something difficult when you just happened to get in their line of fire. Often you can break the cycle of rudeness by avoiding responding to bad behavior with your own negativity.

4. React to rudeness with kindness.

Don’t let a rude person cause you to respond with more of the same. One of the best ways to defuse rude and negative behavior is to stay friendly and positive. This gives the other person a chance to calm down and adjust their behavior to match yours. Kindness can be a wonderful antidote to rudeness.

Showing kindness to someone who is being surly or insulting to others can be extremely difficult. But by setting a calm and well-mannered example, you can prompt them to follow your lead. If this doesn’t work, you can take pride in knowing that you didn’t lower your standards or add your own rude behavior to the mix. Instead, you maintained your cool.

5. Use humor to defuse a difficult person.

A rude and difficult person can create tension and anxiety in themselves and everyone around them. Remember, they are probably being rude because they’re angry or upset about something that they’re going through. Humor can create a diversion and break the tension, allowing everyone to laugh it off.

You can do this by finding a way to laugh about a common situation or by joking about a shared experience you can all relate to. Self-deprecating humor can also be disarming. Finding a way to insert a little levity when someone is feeling out of sorts may be just the thing to help everyone hit the reset button and begin again on a better note.

6. Call the person out on his or her behavior.

Another tactic to stop the spiral of rudeness is to simply call them out on their behavior and ask them to stop. If someone you can’t get away from is consistently rude to you, you need to address the issue directly. There is no need for you to take ongoing abuse from anyone. You should never allow anyone to treat you in a disrespectful way.

Have a conversation about what is going on. Does the person realize how hurtful his or her actions are to you? Perhaps the person doesn’t realize how rude he or she is being. By making the person aware, it gives him or her a chance to apologize and try to be more polite.

7. Don’t escalate.

When someone annoys you, your first instinct may be to lash back. But remember, you always (and only) have control over yourself. Choose not to give in to drama. No matter how another person acts, you own your behavior, just as they will have to own theirs.

Keep your cool. Take a deep breath and give yourself space to calm down if someone has upset you. Remember, you don’t have to stoop to their level, and doing so will probably only make matters worse. Maintain your dignity and rise above the fray.

8. Show empathy and sympathy.

Showing empathy requires you to try and understand why the person is being rude. Perhaps that person is dealing with a difficult situation in their personal life, or is feeling overwhelmed by deadlines that are piling up at work. If you can find a way to show that you understand and care about them and what they are going through, they will feel more connected and less alone in their struggles.

If you know someone is having a difficult time, let them know that you understand. Don’t judge them for having a bad day or for snapping at others. You might find a way to mention that you’ve had rough days too, and you can relate to how the person is feeling.

If someone is having a momentary lapse in manners, this may help the person become aware of their negative behavior. If the person gets angrier, let it go. There’s nothing you can do to force someone to behave.

9. Be a good role model.

People have all kinds of ulterior motives for acting as they do. Recognize that some people use rude behavior as a way of showing dominance or displaying power. They may be trying to provoke a reaction and make you look bad. Don’t let them have the satisfaction of seeing you get angry.

By being a good role model and treating everyone with fairness, kindness and empathy, you are displaying the kind of behavior you expect from those around you. If they can’t show you the same level of civility in return, it may be time to enlist the help of others.

10. Avoid the rude person.

When all else fails, keep in mind that sometimes it’s best to just walk away. If you have done all you can to make the person aware of his or her actions and you have tried to show kindness and empathy, it may be that this person is just incapable of treating you (and others) with politeness and good manners.

By avoiding habitually rude people, you take away their audience and give them fewer targets to lash out at. A lack of an audience will also defuse the situation. If everyone around them begins giving them a wide berth, perhaps it will be a wake-up call. And if not, it will at least help everyone else have a better day.

People with high-conflict personalities are always looking for someone to blame.

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In my recent blogs, I have described how high-conflict people (HCPs) avoid responsibility and blame others (“Are You a Target of Blame for a Narcissist,” “. Sociopath,” “…Borderline Personality”). While people with these personality disorders tend to stay stuck in life because of their lack of self-reflection and lack of change, only those who also have high-conflict personalities become preoccupied with a specific Target of Blame. High-conflict personalities tend to have four characteristics: A Target of Blame, all-or-nothing thinking, unmanaged emotions, and extreme behavior which 90 percent of people would never do. (For a list of 40 predictable behaviors of HCPs, see my book 5 Types of People Who Can Ruin Your Life.)

How to avoid someone

Their Targets of Blame are most often someone close to them, such as a spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, parent, child, close friend, close co-worker, close neighbor, or helping professional; or someone in a position of authority, such as a supervisor, head of an organization, police, government official, school official, or hospital administrator. This appears to be an unconscious fixation and they may lash out at anyone.

However, the way you respond may make the difference between whether you become their next Target of Blame or someone they simply ignore.

1. Don’t get too close too soon.

HCPs are not obvious at first in most cases. Therefore, it’s wise to take your time getting to know anyone new at work, in dating, or elsewhere in your life. HCPs often seek fast friendships and an intense level of commitment from people to help them feel secure in the world. Alternatively, you may feel like swooping in to rescue them from their obvious self-defeating behavior.

But you may have a gut feeling that things are moving too quickly or deeply. It’s much easier to go slowly—and then stop getting any closer, if necessary—than it is to get super-close and then try to back off from a possible HCP. Sometimes they can seem very friendly and warm, but when you attempt to back off is when you are more likely to become their Target of Blame.

2. Don’t argue with their distorted thinking.

HCPs often have cognitive distortions, such as all-or-nothing thinking, jumping to conclusions, emotional reasoning, and exaggerations. They may accuse you of doing something terrible when it was really very minor or even a non-existent behavior. They may also criticize your thinking on a subject, such as in an email conversation, on social media, or another type of comment.

While it’s easy to want to argue back, it’s pretty pointless with HCPs. You are essentially inviting them to attack you more and more, based on their belief that it truly is “all your fault.” Instead, you can just say: “I don’t agree with you on this.” Or: “I see it differently.” Or: “We’ll just have to agree to disagree.”

3. Don’t blame them back.

It’s natural to want to defend yourself against unwarranted criticisms or verbal attacks. You might feel like saying: “No, you’re the *&%#[email protected]!”

However, with HCPs, it’s not really about you. It’s about the thoughts that are in their own minds. You don’t need to defend yourself against their own distorted thinking. If you do blame them back, and especially if it’s in public, then others may think that you are a high-conflict person, too. Then, you may become the Target of Blame for the HCP’s advocates as well. It’s better to simply say: “I disagree” or just walk away from the conversation. “I need to go now.”

4. Don’t join in their schemes, or help them in blaming others.

HCPs are often at war with the world around them, and always seeking advocates to join them. You may initially get to know them in a friendly way—then, they may ask you to help defend them against another person who has treated them “terribly.” Watch out! You may become a “negative advocate,” which is someone who helps an HCP in blaming and attacking others. You may be emotionally hooked (“That’s terrible what that person did to you!”) but uninformed. (In many cases, it is the exact opposite situation, with the HCP being the one who is acting badly).

Then, it is inevitable that at some point, you will not be considered a strong enough advocate by the HCP, and he or she will then turn on you, as their new Target of Blame. You can often see this dynamic with HCPs in families, at work, in business, and in politics.

5. Be assertive about setting limits.

HCPs will often do what they can get away with. They may push you to do something for them or try to stop you from doing something for yourself. They may interrupt you, make demands on you, or ignore you when you need a response. It’s tempting to become aggressive with them (to “fight back”), or to become passive with them (“oh well, whatever”). Neither of these works well because they both reinforce the HCP’s aggressive behavior.

Instead, it’s better to try an assertive approach, which means that you stick up for yourself without trying to dominate or defer to the HCP. Using a matter-of-fact tone, you can just say: “I can’t do that for you.” Or: “I’m busy.” Or: “The rules say we can’t do that.” Be informative, rather than defensive. But also don’t just accept rude or bad behavior, because it usually will grow.

6. Disengage carefully.

If necessary, you may decide that you need to back off significantly or completely from a possible HCP. Just do it carefully. This may mean disengaging from the relationship, typically in small steps so that it isn’t a sudden shock to the person. This also means don’t make a big, dramatic announcement that will get a strong pushback. “Easy does it” is generally the best approach.

On the other hand, if you need to strongly set limits and cut ties, you should consider having some assistance—for example, if the possible HCP is a friend or family member, meeting in a therapist’s office so that the therapist can help explain and support your efforts.

In the workplace, it may mean terminating an HCP employee, who is escorted out of the office with the assistance of security. But even in that situation, it often helps to have some follow-up connection with someone, such as a Human Resources staff person, to give them information for gaining future employment somewhere else and offer some kind words to help them cope.

And if you decide to get a separation or divorce, consult with a lawyer or therapist who can help you take careful steps to not become a Target of Blame in the eyes of legal professionals or family court. HCPs are good at persuading others that it’s all your fault. Yet an assertive approach (not too aggressive and not too passive) can really help.

Conclusion

No one chooses to have a high-conflict personality. But to some extent, you can choose to avoid becoming a Target of Blame for a high-conflict person. HCPs usually blame someone else when problems happen in their lives. They focus on specific Targets of Blame who will engage with them on an emotional and intimate level, like family members, close friends, and close professionals (like therapists, lawyers, doctors, and clergy). By following these tips, you are less likely to become someone’s Target of Blame, or you can reduce or ease out of that role as soon as possible.

Conflict avoidance is when a person does not deal with the conflict at hand. Instead, they use other tactics to avoid the issue.

Conflict avoidance can manifest in many situations, whether it be personal relationships or in the workplace. People tend to use it in order to suppress an unpleasant encounter.

There are many ways of doing this, including ignoring the conflict, changing the subject, shutting down or even pretending it isn’t happening.

Conflict avoidance can be classified into three different types:

Those who ignore the problem

Probably the most common methods of avoiding conflict is to simply ignore the problem. This way, you don’t have to deal with any of the outcomes. For example, a husband who suspects his wife is cheating on him might choose to ignore it, as if it came to light there’s a danger his wife might leave him.

Those who change the subject

Diverting attention away from the conflict is another method of conflict avoidance. It usually happens when one person does not want to face the conflict and chooses to focus on another problem instead.

Those who shut down

You know those people that seem to shut down when you try to engage with them? It’s even more irritating when the conflict needs to be resolved in a speedy fashion. The problem with shutting down is that it can make the situations worse.

There are some situations where it is best to use conflict avoidance. But at the end of the day, it is usually better to try and overcome it and deal with the conflict at hand.

Why is it important to deal with conflict avoidance

Emotional health

If we constantly avoid conflict, then we are essentially suppressing our emotions. There have been lots of research to suggest that this is not healthy.

By pushing down our feelings of constantly avoiding conflict, it is more than likely that they will surface elsewhere as anxiety or anger and when you least expect it. Tensions can rise and bubble over in other areas of your life when it is not appropriate for them to come out. And if you keep avoiding conflict, this is going to happen more regularly than not.

Avoidance can create fear

Constantly avoiding conflict teaches the brain, in a negative way, that this is what is keeping us safe from unpleasant feelings. The problem is that by avoiding the conflict, we are only putting off what we need to do.

By avoiding it, the feelings of relief we get are negatively reinforcing our avoidance. But although this feels good at the time, because we don’t have to deal with the problem, in the long run, it increases our fears as we’re not dealing with it.

The best way to deal with conflict is to face it and face the problem. Then we are not storing up fearful emotions and trauma for the future.

Missed opportunities

Avoiding conflict means we are usually missing opportunities, not just for personal growth but in life too. If we become fearful of dealing with issues, we are stunting our personal growth.

Dealing with conflict is a chance for change and growth and stops us stagnating. We can also miss opportunities as our fears of conflict can become irrational and cause phobias. This can be restrictive in our everyday lives and stop us from living a fulfilling life.

How to deal with conflict avoidance

There are situations in which the avoidance conflict style can work well. For instance, if you don’t have the time to devote to the problem, by calming the situation down or by allowing yourself time to properly deal with the matter.

However, conflict, as a rule, should not be avoided or ignored. It is a chance to resolve disagreements and come to some sort of resolution. Leaving conflicts unresolved can lead to frustration and pent-up emotions. It also means that you are essentially trapped in that situation and cannot move on.

The key is to know when to avoid conflict and when to confront it. Understanding why you avoid conflict is also important as it can give you valuable insights into your own character. Do you lack self-confidence or have low self-esteem? Are you worried about the emotions it will release or are you afraid of hurting other people’s feelings?

Dealing with conflict on a regular basis will only make you more confident and able to deal with future issues.

People with high-conflict personalities are always looking for someone to blame.

THE BASICS

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In my recent blogs, I have described how high-conflict people (HCPs) avoid responsibility and blame others (“Are You a Target of Blame for a Narcissist,” “. Sociopath,” “…Borderline Personality”). While people with these personality disorders tend to stay stuck in life because of their lack of self-reflection and lack of change, only those who also have high-conflict personalities become preoccupied with a specific Target of Blame. High-conflict personalities tend to have four characteristics: A Target of Blame, all-or-nothing thinking, unmanaged emotions, and extreme behavior which 90 percent of people would never do. (For a list of 40 predictable behaviors of HCPs, see my book 5 Types of People Who Can Ruin Your Life.)

How to avoid someone

Their Targets of Blame are most often someone close to them, such as a spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, parent, child, close friend, close co-worker, close neighbor, or helping professional; or someone in a position of authority, such as a supervisor, head of an organization, police, government official, school official, or hospital administrator. This appears to be an unconscious fixation and they may lash out at anyone.

However, the way you respond may make the difference between whether you become their next Target of Blame or someone they simply ignore.

1. Don’t get too close too soon.

HCPs are not obvious at first in most cases. Therefore, it’s wise to take your time getting to know anyone new at work, in dating, or elsewhere in your life. HCPs often seek fast friendships and an intense level of commitment from people to help them feel secure in the world. Alternatively, you may feel like swooping in to rescue them from their obvious self-defeating behavior.

But you may have a gut feeling that things are moving too quickly or deeply. It’s much easier to go slowly—and then stop getting any closer, if necessary—than it is to get super-close and then try to back off from a possible HCP. Sometimes they can seem very friendly and warm, but when you attempt to back off is when you are more likely to become their Target of Blame.

2. Don’t argue with their distorted thinking.

HCPs often have cognitive distortions, such as all-or-nothing thinking, jumping to conclusions, emotional reasoning, and exaggerations. They may accuse you of doing something terrible when it was really very minor or even a non-existent behavior. They may also criticize your thinking on a subject, such as in an email conversation, on social media, or another type of comment.

While it’s easy to want to argue back, it’s pretty pointless with HCPs. You are essentially inviting them to attack you more and more, based on their belief that it truly is “all your fault.” Instead, you can just say: “I don’t agree with you on this.” Or: “I see it differently.” Or: “We’ll just have to agree to disagree.”

3. Don’t blame them back.

It’s natural to want to defend yourself against unwarranted criticisms or verbal attacks. You might feel like saying: “No, you’re the *&%#[email protected]!”

However, with HCPs, it’s not really about you. It’s about the thoughts that are in their own minds. You don’t need to defend yourself against their own distorted thinking. If you do blame them back, and especially if it’s in public, then others may think that you are a high-conflict person, too. Then, you may become the Target of Blame for the HCP’s advocates as well. It’s better to simply say: “I disagree” or just walk away from the conversation. “I need to go now.”

4. Don’t join in their schemes, or help them in blaming others.

HCPs are often at war with the world around them, and always seeking advocates to join them. You may initially get to know them in a friendly way—then, they may ask you to help defend them against another person who has treated them “terribly.” Watch out! You may become a “negative advocate,” which is someone who helps an HCP in blaming and attacking others. You may be emotionally hooked (“That’s terrible what that person did to you!”) but uninformed. (In many cases, it is the exact opposite situation, with the HCP being the one who is acting badly).

Then, it is inevitable that at some point, you will not be considered a strong enough advocate by the HCP, and he or she will then turn on you, as their new Target of Blame. You can often see this dynamic with HCPs in families, at work, in business, and in politics.

5. Be assertive about setting limits.

HCPs will often do what they can get away with. They may push you to do something for them or try to stop you from doing something for yourself. They may interrupt you, make demands on you, or ignore you when you need a response. It’s tempting to become aggressive with them (to “fight back”), or to become passive with them (“oh well, whatever”). Neither of these works well because they both reinforce the HCP’s aggressive behavior.

Instead, it’s better to try an assertive approach, which means that you stick up for yourself without trying to dominate or defer to the HCP. Using a matter-of-fact tone, you can just say: “I can’t do that for you.” Or: “I’m busy.” Or: “The rules say we can’t do that.” Be informative, rather than defensive. But also don’t just accept rude or bad behavior, because it usually will grow.

6. Disengage carefully.

If necessary, you may decide that you need to back off significantly or completely from a possible HCP. Just do it carefully. This may mean disengaging from the relationship, typically in small steps so that it isn’t a sudden shock to the person. This also means don’t make a big, dramatic announcement that will get a strong pushback. “Easy does it” is generally the best approach.

On the other hand, if you need to strongly set limits and cut ties, you should consider having some assistance—for example, if the possible HCP is a friend or family member, meeting in a therapist’s office so that the therapist can help explain and support your efforts.

In the workplace, it may mean terminating an HCP employee, who is escorted out of the office with the assistance of security. But even in that situation, it often helps to have some follow-up connection with someone, such as a Human Resources staff person, to give them information for gaining future employment somewhere else and offer some kind words to help them cope.

And if you decide to get a separation or divorce, consult with a lawyer or therapist who can help you take careful steps to not become a Target of Blame in the eyes of legal professionals or family court. HCPs are good at persuading others that it’s all your fault. Yet an assertive approach (not too aggressive and not too passive) can really help.

Conclusion

No one chooses to have a high-conflict personality. But to some extent, you can choose to avoid becoming a Target of Blame for a high-conflict person. HCPs usually blame someone else when problems happen in their lives. They focus on specific Targets of Blame who will engage with them on an emotional and intimate level, like family members, close friends, and close professionals (like therapists, lawyers, doctors, and clergy). By following these tips, you are less likely to become someone’s Target of Blame, or you can reduce or ease out of that role as soon as possible.