Toxic relationships can occur in all aspects of our lives, but many of us focus on them primarily in partners, friends, or family. However, when they rear their heads in the workplace, they can be aggressively awful for your morale, performance, and ability to function. And often, toxic behavior in the workplace is characterized by violating your boundaries: encouraging you to do things you're not comfortable with, getting into your personal space, expecting things from you that you didn't agree to, and touching or interacting with you in ways you don't like are all potential toxic boundary-crossing interactions in the workplace. How can you assert your boundaries at work and avoid a toxic work environment without adding too much stress onto your plate?
You may be working on a day-to-day minimizing plan. Laura McLeod, an HR specialist who runs the From The Inside Out Project to help communication and reduce conflict among coworkers, tells Bustle there are a few ways to deal with toxic coworkers who keep getting too personal or trap you into listening to their rants. "Don't ask questions," she advises. "You will get a torrent of personal information, rants and complaints — and before you know it, you're stuck listening and feeling lousy, angry and frustrated." Also, she says, it's useful to make statements ("Nice to see you. Good morning. Have a nice day.") rather than inviting dialogue, and politely interrupt them with a smile and a gentle detachment from the conversation to "get back to work." However, these are only temporary strategies. What if the problem is much bigger, and you feel as if a fundamental line has been crossed — personal or professional? Bustle asked experts about how to deal with boundary-crossing behavior at work, and how to deal with it without causing too much stress.