Common Sense, Conventional Wisdom, and Modern Psychology, all agree that when you find your life and your personal psyche muddied up with "toxic people," the best course of action is to simply eliminate them from your life. Pay no attention to them. Avoid giving them your energy and they will simply evaporate.
Which, I can personally attest, is true.
But in this business it can be truly difficult to shut these personalities out.
Sure, you eventually find ways to weed out the truly horrible people — the people who are so toxic that you figure it out within the first 10 minutes of sharing oxygen with them. But what about the people who started off as dream clients and then, usually due to some life-changing events on their part, turn into tiresome soul-suckers or just outright hate-mongers?
I've had that happen more than once. Someone that you once looked forward to seeing every other week suddenly turns into someone who makes you feel like you've been beaten with a sledge hammer after holding hands with them for an hour... or makes you think you'd rather be beaten with a sledge hammer than hold hands with them for an hour!
And the people who start off pleasant enough, rather benign, and a year later you've had a chance to get to know them well enough to realize they are horrible, hateful, festering souls and your initial impression of them as these sweet, selfless, unappreciated souls is replaced by the realization that no one appreciates them because it's all a flimsy facade and it only took you so long to realize it because you only see those people for an hour every other week. Of course their coworkers don't like or respect them — their coworkers are around it every day.
Or sometimes I think people are just on good behavior until they feel comfortable enough with you to let their true colors show.
I try to take this as a compliment; it's good that I'm able to make my clients feel so comfortable that they think I'm on their side — right?
It's not always easy to suck the poison out of your clientele. For all sorts of reasons. I'm working on building up my immunity with small doses at a time — but sometimes people still leave me tired and itchy.