December 21, 2015Lifestyle & mindset
4 min read

How To Deal With People Who Undermine You

A shield against social underminers

Previously, in the article Feeling No Progress In Life And Work? Time To Look Around we wrote about social undermining. So, you discovered that you’re being undermined by one of the 4 types. Still, you can take measures to diminish negative influence of such people. We searched for tips on the Internet and here is what we’ve found:

  1. First tip is the simplest one: tell them openly about your feelings. They might be not even aware of their behaviour being undermining to you. Whether to use this tactics or not depends greatly on how close you are with them. For example, you can openly discuss it with your friends and relatives, but as far as co-workers are concerned it would be better to consider other options.

  2. Give them a polite hint you wish they hadn’t said this or that. Every time they say something undermining again respond with “Thank you for your concern”, “I’m really surprised that you care”, or similar. Try to sound playful and yet polite. After some repetitions, they will learn the lesson and start feeling discouraged to ever do this again. But be careful: it isn’t always appropriate. Trust your gut.

  3. Keep most of it to yourself. Actually, you don’t have to share your milestones, goals, talents and successes with people who undermine you. If such topics arise in a conversation try to speak about things that matter for the success of both of you as a team. You don’t have to let them know you’re building a groundbreaking app or learning web development.

  4. Reconsider the relationship. You can try to minimize communications with underminers at work simply changing the room (if the underminer isn’t your boss, of course). As for friends, take a break in friendship that is rather undermining than supportive. This is hardly imaginable by close relatives though.

  5. Create more balance. Besides gradually excluding underminers from your life you can try letting more positive people in. In other words, when the first discourage you the latter will help you recover. Also, consider strengthening relationships with others within the circle. That’s how you can minimize destructive effects of undermining thus creating a balance.

  6. Benefit from them. Actually, one can perceive underminers as a source of motivation. Every time they tell you you’re going to fail, make a bet with them. Then, if you lose you lose more, and if you win, or they are unwilling to take up the glove they might never try to undermine you again. And raised stakes can help you keep persistent on your way to success, not to speak of the positive excitement involved.

Social undermining can get very dangerous. It can slow down your progress, suck your productivity dry, send you into procrastination mode and even further, into a depression at the end. It’s up to you which of the tactics for overcoming it to apply. Important is that before choosing one you take a closer look on your relations with the underminer and their personality.

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