1. Avoid touchy topics that can stir strong emotions such as politics, money or past hurts and grievances. Be alert to any hooks designed to draw you in – and quickly change the subject to one that is more neutral.
2. Recognise that you’re never going to change that person. They’re happy as they are – and like their personality. So if you try to change their mind or to argue your case, they’ll just become defensive, and fight back even more. You’re the stronger person if you can stay detached and don’t need to argue, or to prove that you are right.
3.You have the power to change your own response to that person, if you’re being bullied, criticised or pushed around. You can learn to be assertive and establish healthy boundaries that require you be treated with respect and dignity.
4. Try and look for their positive, attractive attributes. If you can focus on them, it will help you gain perspective.
5. Be realistic, too, and don’t ignore the negatives. Don’t expect a mean person to be nice to you, or look for warmth and friendship from a jealous individual.
6. We all need acceptance, affirmation and support. Make sure you have some friends who are kind and understanding, make you laugh and smile, and are reliable and loyal. Those will help you stay detached, so you are less affected by the games and tactics of dysfunctional people.
7. Sometimes a bit of distance or sparse contact is the answer. Know when you’ve had enough - and it is time to walk away.